Plant Wilting After Repotting
Just after potting your plant, you may see it wilting in front of your eyes, and wonder what happened. There are several factors that can contribute to a plant wilting after repotting, but there are some simple steps you can take to prevent it.
The plant is wilting after repotting because its roots were damaged during the repotting process or conditions suddenly changed that the plant could not cope with. You should take great care to prevent your plants from wilting before and after repotting, as well as during repotting so as not to damage the roots.
The following article will provide all the reasons your plant may have wilted after repotting, as well as how to fix each issue and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
Is It Normal?
There is a chance of mild wilting after repotting, especially during the first few days. However, this should only be noticeable if at all. Repotting should usually result in little to no wilting if you take care during the process.
Plants can experience stress when they are repotted, as they are quickly shifted from their favourite environment into new surroundings. Although every effort is made to care for the roots during the repotting process, you can sometimes still cause minor damage, which will impact the plant’s ability to thrive when it is housed in its new environment.
In other situations, there can be issues with the plant’s care before or after repotting, or with the repotting process itself that may contribute to wilting after repotting.
Can You Kill A Plant By Repotting?
There is a very real possibility that you might kill a plant during repotting. Certain plants are more susceptible to dying during repotting. Sickly plants and plants not given sufficient care are the most likely to die.
Following some simple advice can help most plants from dying, but not all.
Plant roots should generally be disturbed as little as possible when being repotted. This depends heavily on which plant you are repotting and the situation, but some plants can be damaged by being disturbed too much.
A significant quantity of water is taken up by tiny roots that branch off larger roots. These roots, which are fragile and can be broken by just loosening the soil, greatly impact the ability of the plants to take in water.
In the following situations, you should be particularly careful not to disturb roots:
Planting seedlings that have just begun to take hold requires repotting.
The repotting of plants with sensitive roots, such as Calatheas, Alocasias, vegetable varieties, etc.
Unless there is a key reason for the plant’s unhealthy state, it is usually better to repot plants that are already healthy rather than repotting unhealthy ones.
Although we generally follow this rule, there are exceptions: if your plant appears to be root bound, then it clearly has a large mass of roots supporting the plant’s weight. Plants with a densely packed rootball will usually benefit from repotting. This will encourage root growth and expansion into the new medium, which will have long-term benefits for the plant.
Change In Soil
The soil you choose for repotting needs to be carefully chosen because plants adapt to their surroundings. Making a sudden change in the soil’s composition or pH can cause your plant to wilt after repotting.
An epiphytic fern, like the Blue Star Fern, grows attached to other plants, rather than in soil. When you buy them, they are often planted in a well-draining potting mix. It is tempting to repot them into an epiphytic mix.
Nonetheless, Blue Star Ferms are adept at adapting to whatever soil they are planted in from an early stage. Using an epiphyte mix made from pine bark would likely change the pH and structure of the soil and perform more harm than good.
This situation calls for repotting, but adding amendments such as coarse sand or perlite to increase drainage, making sure the pot is well-draining, and considering terracotta pots for their porous characteristics.
Lack Of Water
When a plant wilts after repotting, it could be because of a lack of water. This could be due to an imbalance in the soil or the roots not being able to absorb enough water to fulfill the plant’s requirements.
If you aren’t repotting to rectify root rot or overwatering, I usually recommend thoroughly watering your plants a few days before repotting. Of course.
Watering the plant a few days in advance allows for optimal hydration, which is essential for repotting. I typically repotted the plants when the soil was fully moist, and did not rewater the plants after their repotting.
In addition, the roots of a newly repotted plant need some time to adapt, so watering thoroughly after repotting can increase the risk of root rot, since they remain in contact with the moist soil, without being able to properly absorb it.
Change In Climate
We often repot plants at the same time we move their location, and this can be a major factor in wilting after repotting. This often happens to seedlings that are started inside, and then repotted before taking them outside.
Some plants can be stressed by repotting and the changes in humidity, temperature, and lighting when taken outside. I usually recommend repotting first, timing it for a week, and then moving your plants outside.
The act of repotting may prompt you to reassess the health and growing conditions of your houseplant. If you switch your houseplant’s environment suddenly, that may cause more harm than good.
Wait until the plant has recovered fully from the repotting process before making large changes after repotting, and do not make sudden changes.
It’s important to note that moderation is key after repotted plants. If your plants were in excessive lighting and high temperatures before repotting, they’ll do better in more moderate conditions, such as lower lighting and lower temperatures, to give them a chance to stabilize.
Wrong Time Of Year Or Stage Of Growth
Plants are best repotted in early or mid-spring, when growth is starting to pick up. Since foliage from the plant has not yet grown much, this is a good time to repot. Springtime is a good time for the roots to grow rapidly and strongly after repotting, allowing the plant to adapt quickly to its new container.
It’s important to know the care requirements of the individual plant. Many plants should be repotted at certain times of the year.
Should I Water My Plant After Repotting?
After repotting, add some moisture to the soil without fully soaking it. This will help prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. Make sure your plants are thoroughly watered 1-2 days before repotting.
If you repot your plant, you should water lightly followed by monitoring water requirements to know when to water next.
Maintaining potted plants in good health really requires you to master this skill.
Recovering From Transplant Shock
It may take a few weeks for many small plants to recover, but it can take months or years for some larger plants or trees to resolve all the problems caused by transplant shock.
In a simple case of wilting after repotting, the plant usually recovers and shows no further damage. In a more severe case, there may be dead or damaged foliage that won’t fully recover, but will eventually be replaced by nutritious new foliage.
How To Prevent?
After repotting, I take these steps to make sure my plants don’t suffer from wilting;
If you’re planning on repotting your plants, make sure they are healthy in the weeks before. A healthy plant is much more likely to survive the repotting process.
Research your plants’ needs before repotting them so that you can repot into ideal conditions. Remember to consider pot size and material, since this can have a severe impact on their long-term health.
Take special care when using new potting mix or reusing old one to ensure nothing is infected.
Repot your plant by gathering all the equipment you will need. Place some soil into your new pot so you can place your plant directly in it.
The easiest way to remove a plant is by sliding it out of its existing pot. If the plant does not come out immediately, squeeze the sides of the pot gently in order to loosen the soil and roots.
Repotting your plant after it has been pulled out by the stem or foliage can cause damage to the roots and foliage, resulting in wilting.
In a clay pot, if you struggle to remove your plant, use a knife to slide down the pot’s side to separate the soil from the pot. Take your time.
Slide the plant from the container on its side. Support the roots and foliage and place the plant in the new pot. If the roots are very tightly bound, loosen the roots a little bit. Otherwise, prevent disrupting the roots where possible.
When adding the new soil to the pot, gently fill the sides up to the level it was in the previous pot. Adding soil to levels higher than the previous one may result in stem rot.
You should not change the care of your plant abruptly after repotting unless the following conditions exist.
It can be helpful to adjust your lighting to more moderate conditions if your plant was previously in unsuitable lighting. This will encourage growth without causing undue stress.
The plants you have might not be receiving the humidity they need, so consider grouping your plants, using a humidifier, or choosing other methods to improve humidity.
Monitor the temperatures around your plants to ensure the room temperature is ideal. I use a digital thermometer to record the current, maximum, and minimum temperatures, which allows me to place my plants in the perfect environment at all times.
Fertilize your plants only after repotting for at least 2-3 weeks to prevent your plant from wilting. Repotting causes stress to your plants, as does a sudden surge of nutrients. These two stressors can often do more harm than good.
When you repot your plants, pay close attention to the water requirements to prevent wilting.
Watering plants on a schedule is never a good idea. Instead, inspect the soil and the foliage of your plants regularly for signs that they need to be watered.
While it’s disappointing to see your newly replanted plant wilting, most plants have the potential to be saved with the appropriate care. This mistake can be turned into a learning experience to ensure you do not make the same mistake again and the process of repotting goes smoothly every time.