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How to Repot your House Plants

As house plants grow, they should be moved into larger pots. Failure to do so will result in the plant becoming “pot-bound,” where its development becomes restricted. This will ultimately hinder the growth of the plant and become wholly detrimental to its overall wellbeing. As the rule goes, if a plant is flourishing, it is happy in its pot. However, if it looks unhealthy and/or restricted by the space it inhabits, then it is probably suffering and this situation must be rectified swiftly. It is sensible to repot a plant at the start of an active growth period, typically in springtime.

A new plant container should be no more than two inches wider at the rim than the pot it was previously housed within. Youthful plants develop fast, so should be moved into larger pots at least once a year. Always opt for a pot that has drainage holes that allow surplus liquid to escape after the plant has been watered. If you decide to reuse pots instead of buying new ones, it is crucial to scrub them and remove any dirt or disease. This can be done by disinfecting it in a solution made up of one part chlorine bleach to nine parts water. Afterwards, rinse extensively with fresh water.

When taking a plant out of its old pot, you should firstly water the plant lightly and then leave it for about an hour, so that the entire area is more malleable. Gently place the pot on its side and ease the plant out of its confines. If the plant does not come loose straight away, a few quick taps on the bottom of the container will loosen it. Examine the roots and, if they are twisted or squashed, carefully slide a trowel or small knife down the side of the pot. As you are removing the plant and its accompanying soil, remember to ensure that the root ball does not get damaged in the process.

Prune away any dead or dying roots to encourage new growth. Partially fill up the pot with fresh potting soil – making certain that the plant is placed in the center of the pot – and then add extra soil around the sides. Gently pack the soil down and remove any excess. Makes sure that you do not cram the pot with too much soil that ends up stifling its growth. A higher humidity can help a repotted plant recover quicker.

Finally, methodically water the plant and make sure the soil is uniformly moistened but without getting over-soggy. This will moisturize the roots and settle the soil. Add more soil if needed but do not expose the newly-repotted plant to intense sunlight immediately. Direct sun can be harsh and unforgiving on a weak plant that needs a little time to convalesce.