Why You Should Repot Your Houseplants & Guide to Repotting
Whether you’re transplanting your plants because you want to freshen up your decor or because your plants are ready for a much-needed refresh, your plants will be so grateful for the added space and nutrient boost that they’ll create lots of beautiful new growth!
Here’s a few tips to help you transition your plant to a better and healthier living arrangement.
When to Repot
When should you repot? It depends on your plant; some plants will be late to the party, enjoying the same pot for years, but in most cases, plants that are growing regularly will need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months as growth continues and nutrients in the soil are depleted. The best time to repot your houseplant is in late winter or early spring, before the growth season is in full swing.
Signs your plant needs repotting
If you see one or more of these signs, you’ll know it’s time to repot:
- Roots are growing through the bottom, sticking out anywhere, or are pushing the plant up & out of its planter
- There is a lot of salt and mineral buildup on your planter
- Plant is top heavy and falls over easily
- Soil dries out quickly and water will run right through it instead of being absorbed (hydrophobic soil)
- Plant is straggly, pale, and grows at a snail’s pace
- If the plant looks too big for its pot, lift up the plant to check if it is rootbound (roots are thick and coiled tightly around the perimeter of the pot)
Choosing a Pot
When it comes to choosing a pot, size is everything.
If your plant isn’t rootbound or overcrowded, but its soil is becoming hydrophobic or disintegrating, repotting your plant into the same container (or one of the same size) with fresh soil works wonders by refreshing the soil with nutrients. Think of it like changing the sheets on your bed - just something you should do for your plant every once in a while to clean its home!
However, if your plant is clearly getting too big for its home, you will need to graduate it to a roomier vessel. Not too big, though - a plant with too much space can drown in all the extra soggy soil around it. As a general rule, don’t go more than 3” larger in diameter for tabletop planters, and more than 6” larger in diameter for floor planters. Make sure the new pot is not only wider, but also deeper.
For Wally Eco planters, we recommend 1 6” plant per planter.
Let’s Get To It: How to Repot
- Water the plant: Start by watering your plant thoroughly a day or two before, or lightly water just before. This will help avoid transplant shock and keep the rootball together.
- Remove the plant: Gently remove your plant from its pot by turning it sideways, supporting the main stem in one hand, and pulling the pot away with your other hand. Having trouble? Use a knife to loosen the soil around the edges of the pot.
- Prune the roots: Using your hands, loosen the rootball and prune any long ends or rotten roots. When repotting in the same pot, shake off excess soil and use scissors to cut back a quarter of the roots. This will rejuvenate it while keeping it the same size as before.
- Clean & add soil: Clean your planter with hot, soapy water and pat dry. Wally Eco planters are also dishwasher safe! Then, pour a layer of fresh potting mix into the planter and pack it down, creating new space for roots to grow.
- Place your plant: Place your plant centered and upright in its new home and add potting mix around it until it is secure. If you’re using a Wally Eco, make sure to pack soil in until it reaches above the perforated holes in the divider, or water may run over the top of the soil and out the front panel.
Finishing touches: Once your plant is in place, give it another rinse to settle it in its new home. It will take a couple weeks to recover from repotting, and in that time it may need more frequent watering than usual, but keep it away from direct sun and hold off on fertilizing until it’s back to normal.
That’s all there is to it! Best of luck and happy planting!