The warmer months are here, the days are growing longer, and your plants are entering their 'active growing phase'. This means the time is right to repot your plant babies if you think they’re ready. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers for all things to do with repotting.
Why Do You Need To Repot Plants?
The logic behind repotting is to encourage growth: if your plant is given more space, it will try and fill it!
For some plants, the crux of the repotting process is more about replenishing the soil. Soil is one of the key factors that can contribute to your plant’s overall health, along with water, sunlight, and fertiliser. Most indoor plants will need a boost of new soil to snack on every couple of years.
When repotting, it’s also worth finding out if your plant prefers a pot that is plastic, terracotta, ceramic, glazed or unglazed, etc. This is because different pots provide different levels of drainage, moisture retention and aeration. Terracotta is porous and absorbs some moisture, which avoids both over watering the roots and stops the soil from drying out too quickly. This is not ideal for some plants, however, so have a read-up on your plant before deciding which type of pot to use. Bloombox offers a great variety of plant pots for your repotting needs, in some beautiful styles, so take a look when you’re ready to repot!
How Do I Know If My Plant Is Ready To Be Repotted?
If you see a combination of these signs, it's a good indication that it's time to re-pot:
- The roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the growing pot
- The roots are pushing the plant up, out of the plant pots
- The plant is extremely top-heavy, and falls over easily (for some varieties this may be normal!)
- The plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings
- Noticeable salt and mineral build-up on the plant or planter
Why Shouldn't You Put Your Plant In A Pot That's Too Big?
It’s generally recommended to repot into a slightly larger vessel to give your plant a bit of growing space, but not too large or the plant will expend all of its energy trying to fill the pot with roots. This can affect foliage, flowers and fruit. If a plant is placed in a pot that’s too big (an increase of more than 3 or so inches), it also becomes much harder to discern how much water the plant needs, which can result in overwatering.
What Kind Of Soil Should I Use?
This is probably the most important question when it comes to plant care and repotting! Good quality soil is vital for the growth of plants and flowers. It stores nutrients, holds water to keep moisture and protects roots.
Many indoor plants won’t like the standard compost used in English gardens, for a range of reasons that include inadequate drainage for plants like succulents. For some plant varieties, other factors like the pH of the soil or the amount of organic matter required will vary.
The kind of soil you should repot with will vary between different plants, even those in the same family, so it’s worth having a look online to find out the particular mix that your plant likes. Here is a general guide to some plant species’ soil preferences.
Succulents like well-draining soil with much less organic matter than common potting soil. Compost blended with plenty of sand and perlite or pumice will be perfect for many types of succulents. Bear in mind that this could vary slightly depending on the plant.
Cacti like similar soil to succulents, mainly inorganic materials; plenty of sand, pumice, perlite and gravel for good drainage.
Many indoor orchids are epiphytes that would naturally grow in the tree canopy. Normal potting soil does not provide enough airflow and would suffocate the roots of most orchids.
Luckily there are many options for potting orchids! Some commercial orchid soils are purely a blended mix of bark and clay granules. A variety of mediums can be used; coconut fibre, bark, lava rocks, charcoal, sphagnum moss, peat moss, perlite or fir bark.
Some orchid collectors even mount their orchids directly onto bark. Do some research into your orchid type’s favourite setup!
Alocasias need well-draining soil that doesn’t saturate the roots. Equal parts potting soil or course potting sand, peat moss, and perlite will be ideal.
Monsteras come from tropical and subtropical regions. They like aerated and acidic soil that drains well and also holds some moisture. You can help to create nutrient-dense soil by adding peat moss and fertilising regularly.
Philodendrons tend to be happy with a standard houseplant soil mix. They like rich, peat-based soil with plenty of organic matter. A well-draining soil mix with equal parts potting soil, compost and coco peat will do nicely.
As you can see, different houseplants come from a huge range of native environments, so it’s important to research and find out exactly the right potting medium for your plants, to keep them happy and healthy. Bloombox also stocks Kokos Compact Soil, which expands to 10 litres when 3 litres of water is added. This compact soil consists mainly of coconut fibres, and it is pre-fertilised. It makes a good starting point for creating your own potting mix blends.
You might also like to read: Repotting Myths And Facts.
Please share your repotting tips and experiences with us by tagging us on social media @BloomboxClub and with #bloomboxclub!