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How do you know when to repot a plant?

- Find out when and how to repot a plant -


Repotting a plant can be intimidating due to the uncertainty of how the plant will react. If repotting is rushed and not done carefully, it can cause stress, breakage, fragility and eventually lead to the plant's demise. But, when executed correctly, repotting can be the ideal solution for ensuring the plant's survival.


So how do you know you need to repot a plant?


You can see when a plant needs to be moved to a wider space to grow and flourish, but sometimes that doesn't always mean it's obvious, so we have listed a few ways you will see you plant changing:

  1. Root-bound plants: If you start to notice roots growing densely and circling around the edges of the pot or emerging from drainage holes, it's a clear sign that the plant has outgrown its current container and needs repotting. The reality is the roots are growing quickly and need more resources to flourish.

  2. Stunted growth: If your plant has slowed down or stopped growing for a while despite adequate light, water, and nutrients, it may be an indication that the roots have run out of space and need a larger pot to continue growing.

  3. Watering frequency: Some plants need more water than others but if you find yourself watering your plant more frequently than often because the soil dries out quickly, it could be a sign that the roots have taken up most of the available space and need more room to spread out.

  4. Yellow leaves: Did you know that over time, potting soil breaks down, becomes compacted, and loses its nutrients? If your plant's soil looks depleted, it will eventually show signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing leaves. This is one of the most obvious ways to know that you need to replenish the soil and find a bigger space

Although the above signs can mean you need to repot your plant ensure you don't react fast because some of the above signs can mean lack or sunlight and water. Make sure you research your plant first and also monitor changes over a time period.


How should I repot my plant?


So now that we know the signs to identify when you need to repot your plants now you're ready to know how to repot carefully.


  1. Firstly research your plant: Some plants benefit from repotting during specific seasons, such as in early spring when they enter their active growth phase. Research the particular needs of your plant species to determine the optimal repotting time

  2. Select a new pot: Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one; one of the most important features of the pot is the drainage holes at the bottom. Ensure the pot allows water to escape to avoid roting.

  3. Add soil: Place a layer of fresh potting soil at the bottom of the new pot, enough to raise the height slightly.

  4. Water the plant: Water the plant thoroughly a day or two before repotting. This helps loosen the soil and make removing the plant from its current pot easier.

  5. Gently remove the plant from the existing pot: Depending on the plant size you can carefully turn the plant upside down while supporting the stem with one hand. Tap the bottom of the pot or gently squeeze the sides to loosen the root ball. Slowly slide the plant out of the pot. If it's stuck, use your other hand to loosen the edges. If neccesary you can use a knife to separate the roots from the pot's sides carefully.

  6. Examine the roots: Before placing in the pot, look for any signs of rot, damage, or excessive growth. Trim off any brown, mushy, or dead roots using clean and sharp pruning shears or scissors. This step encourages healthy root development.

  7. Give your plant a new home: Position the plant in the center of the new pot, ensuring it sits at the same depth or slightly higher than its previous level. Add more potting soil around the plant, gently pressing it down to eliminate air pockets. Leave some space at the top for watering.

  8. Water and settle the soil: Give the newly potted plant a thorough watering to help settle the soil and remove any remaining air pockets. Allow the excess water to drain out through the drainage holes.

Remember that the best way to repot a plant is to be as careful as possible to avoid extra stress for the plant. Don't overthink it, just remember you are doing the best thing for the longevity of the plant!


Please show us your plant pictures! You can tag the author on instagram: @sustainablejay.


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