Go to main contentsGo to search barGo to main menu
Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 10:12 PM

Edith -- on repotting house plants

Edith -- on repotting house plants
by Edith Isidoro-Mills -- After a season of outdoor gardening it’s time to pay attention to your house plants.  One of those tasks may be repotting. The most common reason to repot houseplants is their tendency to become root bound.  Root bound is when the roots become so crowded that there is very little soil left in the pot because it is filled with roots.  Signs that a houseplant is too root bound are; 1) the roots start to grow outside the pot, 2) the plant stops growing or new leaves are smaller than they should be, 3) the plant keeps tipping the pot over, or 4) the plant needs frequent watering. Houseplants actually do better if their roots are slightly bound.  However, a low ratio of roots to soil can create a situation where the roots get too wet and start to rot.  This is especially true if you don’t let the surface of the potting media dry out before watering again. Even if your plants don’t show any of the above signs there may be other reasons you should repot a houseplant such as a build-up of salts in the pot or the soil in the pot may seem to be disappearing.  The latter is actually the result of the potting soil breaking down. If one of your plants shows any of these symptoms it’s time to get fresh potting soil and a clean pot. Buying new pots is not necessary if you have some used ones but they should be cleaned with a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water. The new potting soil should be a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.  Premixed potting soils found in garden centers are usually mixtures of these three ingredients and will suffice. Next, remove the root ball from the old pot.  The soil doesn’t need to be separated from the roots unless there is a build up of salt as evidenced by a salty crust near the soil surface before the plant is removed from the pot. Break up the root ball so that some of the roots stick out of the ball and it no longer conforms to the shape of the old pot. The new pot should be at least an inch in diameter larger than the old pot and be sure the pot has drainage holes.  To protect household furnishings from water draining out of the pot find a saucer larger than the bottom diameter of the pot. Put about an inch of soil in the bottom of the pot and place the root ball on top of the soil.  Then fill in around the sides of the root ball, tamping it down as you fill the pot.  The pot should be filled until the top of the soil is about an inch below the rim of the pot. Water the plant and trim off any old or dying leaves. Repotting is stressful to the plant so it should not be immediately placed back in direct sunlight.  Also, fertilizer should not be applied for a couple of weeks. A few days after the repotting, if the plant looks like it survived the repotting, it may be moved back to its original location. Since repotting houseplants stresses them, they should only be transplanted when they show symptoms of being too pot bound.     Never miss a meeting or community event – keep an eye on the community calendar at https://www.thefallonpost.org/events/ If you like what we’re doing, please support our effort to provide local, independent news and contribute to The Fallon Post, your online news source for all things Fallon.