How Do You Know When it’s Time to Repot a Plant?
The only hard and fast rule about repotting your houseplant is that there is no one golden rule. If you blindly repotted all your plants every year because you heard that other people did it, you could actually cause more harm than good.
When you want to determine the appropriate time to move your houseplant, you need to know a few details about it. According to our earlier discussion, if your plant grows slowly, a repot between 24 and 48 months can be perfectly acceptable.
Houseplants with faster growth will need more space sooner than slower growing plants. Repotting them every nine months or so may be necessary if their growth is rapid.
The need for space as well as nutrients can appear faster with fast-growing plants, as they tend to absorb the soil’s nutrients faster. As a result, they require more space and nutrients than most other plants.
If your plants need a new environment, you should pay attention to more specific signs rather than referring to arbitrary numbers. If your houseplant exhibits even just one of these tell-tale signs, it might be time for a change of scenery.
Accumulation of Minerals and Nutrients
As you fertilize your houseplant, leftover residue may accumulate on the soil’s surface or close to it. If you wait long enough, you might notice mineral and nutrient crusts on top of the soil. The accumulation of minerals and salts prevents water from penetrating deep into a houseplant’s roots, depriving it of the essential water it needs for survival.
You try to avoid getting your houseplant’s leaves wet, since most plants do not like that. Besides, most plants need water to grow. When the water sits on top of hardened soil, it cannot accomplish that, but lately that’s been where a lot of water ends up.
This indicates that your plant has difficulty absorbing water. Probably, this is due to old & compacted soil, so repotting the plant with fresh soil will be ideal.
A compacted soil results from adding new soil to nutrient-depleted soil that has already been drained. It often occurs quicker than when new soil is added to existing soil that’s been drained. In compacted potting soil, water will typically just sit on top and eventually evaporate, leaving just a thin layer of liquid just beneath the surface, giving the appearance that your plant has been watered when it has not been.
Your Plant Is Too Big
Yes, it’s so obvious that you can actually tell by looking at your indoor plant: if you can’t see the pot because the foliage is so dense and rich, it needs a bigger home.
The plant, which is too top heavy for its pot, could tip over at any time. If it does, it could cause some serious damage to the plant. It could even break the pot itself.
Drainage Hole is Blocked
The roots of your houseplant need to be healthy, but what happens if they grow too large? They’ll try to expand as they grow in size, but if they have nowhere to go, they’ll poke their heads through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
As a result of the blocked hole at the bottom of your box, water clogs the container and drains back into the bottom. When visible white roots emerge from any drainage hole on your pot, or when water doesn’t run out of the bottom, you should repot the plant as soon as possible to prevent root rot.
Your Plant Is Growing up, Not Out
Your houseplant seems to be growing strangely lately, and you can’t quite figure out what’s going on. It’s growing upward rather than wide, but it’s not really tall. It’s as if it’s floating above the pot.
It could be that it is! When your plant does not have enough space to grow, the roots will grow upwards, giving it a strange, tall appearance. This behavior is not good because the pressure on the roots results in the plant being stressed.
When Is the Best Season for Repotting Your Plant?
The signs we just described certainly apply to your houseplant. It exhibits several of the symptoms we talked about. You’re concerned that you’ve waited too long to repot. Are there particular times of the year when repotting is better than others? Would you like to fix your mistakes as soon as possible?
Since most houseplants grow most abundantly during the spring or summer, repotting it during these seasons would potentially disrupt this process. Houseplants that take some time to reach maturity, such as cactuses (think many decades or more) really shouldn’t be harmed in any way when they are growing.
In this case, you are right. Repotting during the growing season would disrupt the plant’s progress. Instead, you should move the plant before the growth season, so at the end of winter or even in the spring in some cases.
Why Do You Have to Repot Your Houseplant?
It is obvious the idea of repotting your plant makes you nervous. You are aware that if you rush the process or do it too soon, your houseplant could be stressed out, causing it to wilt or yellow and perhaps even die.
What are the benefits of repotting your houseplant? Is it critical that you do so? Will the plant be fine even if it has a dated pot and sluggish soil? Here are some good reasons to get into the habit of repotting.
You Can’t Propagate New Plants in a Crowded Pot
You can propagate a houseplant when it has sustained damage (like a cactus arm getting broken) or you wish to take parts of your plant and make new ones. This is a really fun thing to do. You get to take old clippings and cultivate them, so they establish new roots somewhere else.
There is no way to realistically propagate new plants in the same pot as your current houseplant. It would be way too overcrowded in there. If the plant clipping cannot grow roots due to lack of space or if the roots have nowhere to attach to, propagation will fail. Instead, you should have another pot for the clippings, perhaps even several.
Potting Soil Isn’t Good Forever
This has nothing to do with the ingredients in your soil or the expiration dates. No matter how good your soil is, it can still deteriorate in a hurry for any number of reasons.
In order to survive, plants need well-draining soil. Without it, water pools in the soil and can cause root rot. For example, we are sure you bought drainage soil for your houseplant. However, as the soil becomes compacted over time, it has a diminished ability to drain.
The above mentioned issues are also disadvantageous, as they can lead to a buildup of nutrients and minerals, leading to plant disease and damage. If this happens for too long, pests might infest the soil, causing plant disease or damage.
It is still imperative that you replace your soil every year, even if you do not change the pot.
You Want Your Plant to Grow Bigger
You may think this is a no-brainer, but without enough space, your houseplant will not reach its full potential. The tiny box it sits in has already outgrown it. Even though your plant would grow in any other setting, it cannot grow any larger than this before it essentially suffocates itself with all the extra foliage. Therefore, it ceases to grow here even though it would in any other setting.
It is possible to repair stunted growth in some cases, but not in all cases. If it persists for long enough, your plant may never grow fully.