Time to get dirty!
Re-potting a plant doesn’t necessarily mean changing the planter it’s in, but replacing and refreshing the soil, which is essential for houseplant survival.
Most plants need re-potting every 12 – 18 months, while slow growers can go for up to two years quite happily.
- As plants feed on nutrients from the soil, the potting medium becomes depleted, leaving your plant looking emaciated, sad and just generally unable to grow.
- In the wild, or even the garden, there is plenty of soil and underground nutrients for the plant’s roots to absorb. But not in a pot.
- Constant watering also flushes nutrients.
- If you want to keep your plant in the same size grow pot, then replacing soil is a good idea.
- If you are re-potting to grow a bigger specimen, then go up 1 – 2 pot sizes. Don’t shift from a small planter to a massive one, your plant won’t acclimatise well.
- Plants that are getting too big for the pot may need to be split – gently pull away a piece of the plant including the roots – this should come naturally and you’ll easily identify if there is a baby plant that can be separated from the ‘mother plant’. This baby can be potted in another container to expand your collection.
How do I know when my plant needs re-potting?
- Your plant has been in the same pot (with the same soil) for over 18 months.
- The roots are starting to grow through the drainage holes
- The plant is pushing up against the sides of the pot or bulging upwards out of the soil
- Your plant just doesn’t seem to grow anymore and looks a bit weary
- The soil dries out quickly even when you’ve just watered
Ready to mess!
1. Find a workspace
Find a spot that you don’t mind getting dirty. Outside works well, or lay a black dustbin liner flat on your kitchen table to catch the soil.
Gently squeeze the plastic grow pot at the bottom to loosen the plant, and pull the plant together with the root ball out.
Shake off excess soil. Gently loosen the roots by teasing them out of the ‘ball’ that they have formed.
Indoor plants do not like regular compost or garden soil. We recommend an indoor potting mix, specially formulated for the needs of houseplants.
CHECK YOUR PLANT’S CARE REQUIREMENTS. Some plants like Ferns, Calatheas, Orchids and Epiphytes also need a little extra help. It's a good idea to add peat moss, bark chips and pumice stones to make your indoor potting soil drain better.
To make it easier there are ready-made mixes that contain these ingredients.
*What does friable mean?
Soil that easily runs through your fingers. It should feel light and when you wrap your fist around it, it shouldn’t make a ball.
If you are using a decorative planter with a drainage hole you may plant directly into the pot. Otherwise plant in a plastic grow pot, and place that in your decorative planter. Remember to place a layer of pumice stones, gravel or pebbles at the bottom of the planter underneath your grow pot, for drainage.
Place your plant in its new grow pot and start filling with potting medium of choice.
Never bury your plant! The base of the plant where the roots join the stem should sit flush with the soil.
Gently press down with your hands to secure roots.
Soil makes people happy!
Soil contains Mycobacterium vaccae - a probiotic compound found in most garden soil and potting soil. Studies have shown that this micro-organism improves breathing, reduces allergies and asthma, and increases serotonin levels.