You fell in love with a plant at our store and brought it home. With spring fast approaching are you not quite sure how to repot a plant? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Happy Almost Spring! We are all excited by the prospects of warmth and longer hours of sunshine, and so are our indoor plant friends. When the weather warms up, our plants start to grow faster. Just a little bit of a science-class refresher: Plants use the sun for photosynthesis. With more sun, there is more food production, meaning plants grow faster. Just like little growing children, when plants grow faster, then need more space and more food! Today we are going to walk you through the steps on how to repot a plant (or multiple if you’re like us!)
Whenever I get ready to repot my plants, I choose a nice sunny warm day. I put on my “I don’t care if I get dirty” pants, whip out my gardening gloves, and take all of my plants outside. Of course, if space is an issue, you can re-pot all of your plants on your kitchen table. Wherever you find space, just make sure to lay out some newspaper or a tarp!
The first thing you will need is fresh potting soil. There are an array of soils that you can choose from can be daunting, especially at the beginning of gardening season. Look for bags that say words like “potting mix” “indoor potting soil” “tropical plant mix” and “succulent and cacti plant soil”. Do not use garden soil or outdoor soils. Indoor mixes are formulated to provide nutrients that cannot be found in our natural environment as well as materials to help drainage. Getting the right type is key! Tropical plants can use a general potting soil, whereas cacti and succulent plants need a dryer, more well-draining soil. Orchids will need a special type of bark.
Choosing The Pot
The next step is finding the right pot for your plants. The rule of thumb is: only increase 1-2 inches in diameter and height. If you bought your plant and it’s still in the plastic nursery pot, it should say its size. We tend to carry plants in 4 inch, 6 inch, 8 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch. This refers to the pot diameter. So, if it is a 4 inch pot, look for a 5 or 6 inch pot that is just a little bit deeper than the plant you currently have!
Some plants, like snake or ZZ plants are very slow growing and can stay in the same pot for more than a year. Some plants, like calathea, dracaena, and polka dot plants grow faster and will definitely prefer a new pot. But, if you see roots coming out of the drainage holes or of the tops of the soil, then it is definitely time!
Time to Get Your Hands Dirty!
Okay, now we have soil and pots. Now what? Fill up your new planter one-third of the way with fresh soil. Make sure the soil is moist but not soaking wet. If it is dry, spritz it with some water first. Gently remove the plant from its original container (sometimes I give the pot a gentle squeeze or tip it on its side) and massage the roots a bit. If they are extremely root bound (aka coming out of the holes as previously mentioned) they will enjoy getting to breathe. You do not need to take off all of the old soil, just whatever naturally falls out is fine.
Place your plant in the new pot, and fill around the plant with new soil. Give it a gentle push to make sure your plant is stable in the new planter, and top off with enough loose soil so that the plant is just 1 inch below the top of the planter. Since you started with fresh, moist soil you will not have to water immediately. Let the plant adjust to its new home for a few days and check back often. You may notice that you do not have to water as frequently when they move to larger pots!
Last but not least! Fertilizer. There are many types for plants, but I always choose an organic fertilizer that is good for all plant types (especially if you have a lot, like me!) Every plant has different fertilizing needs, so do some research about your plant beforehand. Some require once a month, and some prefer one time a week. It is important to find out exactly what types of plants you have and learn their unique characteristics and needs.
We will be joining you in spirit as we repot our personal plants and those at our sister venue The Tannery Barn this spring. We hope this post has helped you feel confident in how to repot a plant and peaked your interest on fertilizer possibilities. May your spring is filled with sunshine, soil, plants and flowers!