Finding clear guidance on when to repot houseplants can be confusing. You might have encountered advice like "repot every 2 years," but what does that really mean? How long has your plant been in its pot? Are roots peeking out from the bottom? Could there be root rot or issues with the growing medium? So many questions, right?
No need to fret, though. Let's dive into the various situations and factors influencing the decision of whether your houseplant needs repotting.
Let's discuss some instances when repotting might be necessary.
Often, plants from stores or garden centers are potted in Peat Moss, which isn't ideal in the long run. While many opt to repot their new plants immediately, it's wise to let the plant settle for two weeks before repotting. This allows it to adjust to its new environment, reducing stress. If there are concerns about root rot or any urgent issue, immediate repotting is acceptable. Just ensure the plant adjusts by providing a consistent environment.
Although some plants tolerate being root bound, it's generally not advisable for their health. Letting a plant stay severely root bound can cause various issues, from nutrient depletion to hindered growth and increased susceptibility to pests. If roots are bursting out of the pot and the soil seems to vanish, it's time for a repot.
DETERIORATING SOIL QUALITY
As a plant grows, its original soil may lose nutrients and compact, affecting root health. Repotting refreshes the soil, offering better nutrients and root development, especially if the medium is Peat Moss.
Suspecting root rot demands swift action. Delaying treatment might lead to extensive root damage or even the loss of the plant. Look for signs like yellowing leaves, wilting, and slowed growth. We have a full guide about root rot, read it here.
After treating a pest infestation, repotting can eliminate any remaining pests or their eggs in the soil. However, remember that pests need a plant to survive and reproduce. For more on tackling pests, read our two part series; Part One / Part Two
Fungal or bacterial infections in houseplants can occur. Look for signs like discolored leaves, visible mold, or wilting. Repotting helps remove contaminated soil and provides a healthier environment for the plant.
ADJUSTING SOIL MIX
If a plant arrives in unsuitable soil, repotting with a better mix can significantly improve its chances of thriving. Fortunately, we have a few options available.
When NOT to Repot:
Avoid repotting dormant plants to prevent root stress during their resting phase.
LARGE AND MATURE PLANTS
Repotting large, mature plants can introduce stress and hinder growth unless absolutely necessary.
EXTREME WEATHER & FLOWERING STAGE
Refrain from repotting during extreme weather or when the plant is flowering to avoid shock or disrupting its blooming cycle.
Some plants are sensitive to repotting; research their specific needs before attempting.
Considering these aspects can guide your decision on whether to repot. Take into account the plant's needs, its environment, and give it time to adapt for optimal growth and flourishing.