Gardening Houseplants Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Repotting

It’s Time to Repot your Houseplant When…

20160312A.JPGIt’s Time to Repot your Houseplant When…

…The plant begins to wilt only 2 or 3 days after you last watered it. That’s because its root system is so developed it has no more room to expand, plus the empty space between soil particles that normally serves as a water reservoir is now totally filled in. Think about it: if you repot your plant into a larger pot, you won’t have to water so often!

…The plant keeps tipping over. It’s become top heavy and will need more potting mix to hold it up. You might want to consider using a heavier mix (like cactus potting soil) or a heavier pot: clay and ceramic pots are heavier than most plastic ones.

…A whitish or yellowish crust has formed on the edges of the pot and the base of the plant. These are toxic mineral salts that build up over time in the soil of houseplants. By the time they are visible, they have started to kill the plant’s roots and may even be eating away at its crown. It’s best to repot and to remove as much of the contaminated old soil as possible.

…Lots of roots are wandering out of the drainage holes. This is a clear sign that the roots are looking for more space. Give them some!

…Root pressure has cracked the pot or even split it open. Idem.

…Spring has arrived! It’s simply a good idea to repot your houseplants regularly. Do so every spring for small to medium-sized plants and every two springs for large ones. Regular repotting helps maintain healthy growth and good bloom.

But I Can’t Repot My Plant!

Maybe it’s simply too big or unwieldy, making repotting difficult. If so, at least do an annual top-dressing. You’ll find all the details here.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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