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Plant Care: Spring Repotting

Posted by The Sill on

Early Spring, before the start of the growth season, is the best time to repot your houseplants. Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, but some slow growers can call the same pot home for years. 

Not sure if your plant needs a repot? Here's some signs to look for: 

  • The roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter 
  • The roots are pushing the plant up, out of the planter 
  • The plant is growing slower than normal 
  • The plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily 
  • The plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings 
  • There is noticeable salt & mineral build up on the plant or planter 

A common misconception, repotting does not necessarily mean changing a plant's planter, but rather - changing its soil or potting mix. Fresh soil means new nutrients. This is great news if you love your current planter, but if you're looking to purchase a new one that's fine, too! If you are changing planters, try to keep the size no more than 3" larger in diameter for tabletop planters, and no more than 6" larger in diameter for floor planters. Remember you do not what a small plant drowning in a sea of soil in an oversized planter. A poor plant/planter match can lead to overwatering, which is the easiest way to kill a plant. 

Repotting Toolbox 

  • Newspaper (for easy clean up) 
  • Fresh potting soil 
  • A watering can, spray bottle, or makeshift water bottle 
  • Scissors or pruners 
  • Your houseplant, of course 
  • A planter 

Step By Step: Repotting 101 

  1. Water your plant thoroughly the day or two before you plant to repot 
  2. Pre-moisten the new potting soil if it feels dry 
  3. Turn your plant upside down, hold it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of its current container until the plant slides out (you can give it a bit of help with a couple gentle tugs on the stems) 
  4. With your hands, gently loosen the roots, and prune any that are dead or extra long 
  5. If your plant is root bound - footings growing in tight circles around the base of the plant - unbind them as best you can and give them a little trim 
  6. Remove about 1/3 of the old potting soil 
  7. Pour a layer of fresh, pre-moistened soil into the planter 
  8. Set plant on top of the fresh layer of soil in the planter, making sure it's centered
  9. Add soil around the plant until it is secure (sitting upright) - be sure not to pack too much soil into the planter, you want the roots to breath 
  10. Even out the potting soil on top, water well, and let drain 

*Remember to keep a newly potted plant out of bright, direct sun for about a week, as it acclimates to its new environment. Don't be too concerned if you see some signs of stress during this period, too. 

Questions? Don't be shy - shoot us an email, or tweet us at @TheSill. Still need help? Stop by The Sill Shop - and we'll repot your plant for you! Starting at $10. 

 


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