Does My Plant Need Repotting?

This week, for Plant Tip Tuesday...

How do you know when to repot your indoor plants?

Here are some signs that your plants may need a bigger pot:

  • Can you see roots growing out of drainage holes? This is more easily noticed in plants that are still in their plastic nursery pots.
  • Is your plant vigorously growing? The more vigorous the foliage growth the more extensive the root systems will be.
  • Does the foliage look disproportionately larger than the size of the pot?
  • Does your plant need more frequent waterings? If so, there may be more roots than soil occupying the pot.

Repotting is best done in the spring and early summer.  That way the plant has the entire active growing season to grow into all the new space in the pot.

Choose a new pot that is about 1-2” larger (in diameter and height) than the original container.  If you pot into too large a container, there may not be enough roots to take up the water absorbed by the new soil, leading to potential root rot. 

Choose a high-quality indoor potting soil.  Be sure that the soil is appropriate for the variety of plant, for example Tropical, Succulent, or Orchid.

Pots with drainage holes are best, however you can plant into containers that do not have drainage holes, keeping a few things in mind:

  • Add a layer of stones in the bottom of the pot. 
  • Provide your plant with smaller consistent watering, and never saturate the soil.   
  • Aerate the soil on a regular basis (you can do this with a wooden skewer or chop stick) by gently poking holes into the soil, and gently stirring the top layer of soil.

As well, you should only repot plants that are healthy and actively growing. It's a common misunderstanding that repotting is something to try if you have a plant that is showing signs of being unwell. Transplanting in general can be stressful for a plant, and you don’t want to add more stress to a suffering plant.

Happy Potting!