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Thread: Repotting of plants

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Repotting of plants

    Repotting of plants

    Repotting is an important part of keeping healthy houseplants. The best time of year to repot is in spring, before the new flush of summer growth. Here are signs you need to repot:

    • Roots protruding from the bottom of the pot
    • The plant stops growing
    • The plant is root bound

    Remember, however, that many tropical plants like to be slightly under-potted, and unless you need to repot, there's no reason to do it early. An over-potted plant will focus on root growth at the expense of new foliage and flowers. Finally, some plants, such as bromeliads, will never need to be repotted. If a bromeliad sends out pups, or mini-plants, just cut these off near the base of the mother plant and pot them up separately.
    If you decide that a plant does indeed need to repotted, follow these steps:

    1. Remove the plant from the pot. Lightly water the plant, let it dry for an hour or so, and then gently remove the plant from the pot. You can do this by turning the pot over and gently pulling the pot up and away from the root ball. It's not a good idea to yank a plant out of its pot by the stem.
    2. Prep the root ball. It's OK to gently loosen the root ball with a finger or a fork, but be careful not to cause any root damage. Cut away dead or rotted roots. If you don't want the plant to keep growing, remove about a quarter of the root mass from the bottom of the root ball. This will artificially stunt the plant.
    3. Prepare the new pot. In general, you should only repot a plant up one size of pot. In other words, you can move from a four-inch to a six-inch pot, but not a four-inch to an eight-inch pot. This will slow growth. Plastic or ceramic pots are fine, depending on your preference. In either kind of pot, before you add soil, add some pebbles or broken ceramic pieces to the bottom to improve drainage. Then add enough compost or new soil to form a "base" for the new plant.
    4. Planting. Gently set the new plant in its new pot and backfill with soil or compost. One of the main causes of plant collapse is planting too deep. Make sure the newly potted plant isn't planted deeper than it was in the original pot. As you're filling in, press the soil down firmly and tap the pot gently to settle all the dirt.
    5. Water. Water thoroughly, and if necessary, add a little more soil to top it off. You should water until liquid seeps from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

    If a plant is too large to repot, you can top dress the soil by carefully removing the top few inches of soil and replacing it with new compost.
    Finally, a word about fertilizing newly repotted plants. Most store-bought compost mixes have fertilizer included. In general, you shouldn't fertilize newly repotted plants for six weeks. This will reduce the chances of burning the new root growth.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009



    Sooner or later, the roots of a plant growing in a container will fill all of the available space and become rootbound. when this happens, the growth of the plant slows and eventually stops altogether. The solution is to repot your plant into a larger container. It is better transplant to one size larger than the pot in which the plant was previously grown, rather than a jump to a very large pot to accommodate a small plant.Slow-growing plants may require repotting every two to three years, while faster growing plants should be repotted annually. These instructions are written from the standpoint of a plant which is growing in a standard pot. If your container is large or awkward you will have to adapt them to fit your needs. For instance, tapping the outside of a container with a trowel handle will have the same effect as tapping the rim of the pot against a table. You may have to lay the planter on its side and slide the planter away from the plant rather than inverting it. You get the idea......
    Water the plant thoroughly several hours before removing it from the container. This will help to remove the roots from the planter more easily, and reduce transplant shock. Invert the pot holding your hand on the potting mix so the base of the plant is between the index and middle fingers. Tap the rim of the pot on the edge of a table until the root ball slides out of the container. Never pull on the stem of the plant to remove it, rather continue tapping or rolling the pot until until the roots slide out on their own. Sometimes you can force the plant from the pot using water pressure from a hose held tightly against the drain hole. In extreme cases it may be necessary to cut or break the pot to release the roots.
    When the roots grew out and reached the pot, they turned and began growing back into the ball. Once they are part of the mass it is hard for them to reverse direction again. It is necessary to give them a little help to get going on the right track again. Use your finger tips to carefully loosen the roots at the base and along the side of the root ball to allow them to grow into the new soil. If the root ball is extremely knotted and tight, it may be advisable to use a sharp knife and cut some of the entangled roots to separate them by making a 1/8 to 1/4 slice down the side of the root ball or gently, but forcibly separate the base of the ball. Use care not to damage any main 'tap' roots. Before repotting, prune off any dead or damaged roots.
    Place a small piece of broken clay pot over any drainage holes in the new planter to keep soil from draining through the hole. If there are no drainage holes, add an inch or two of clean gravel to the bottom of the planter. Add potting mix into the container to a point that when the root ball is set in, it will come to within an inch of the top of the pot. Gently set the plant into the container, center it and face it in the direction which shows off it's beauty. Be certain it is standing straight and begin adding potting mix around the root ball, tamping it lightly until you have filled the gaps and slightly covered the top. Be sure to leave at least 3/4 of an inch at the top of the pot for watering. Water the plant well to get good soil contact with the roots (air pockets can lead to problems). Do not water again until the soil is almost dry.


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