Spring is the best time to repot your houseplants. The right pots, fresh earth, a sheet of newspaper to place underneath – and off you go.
Tight pots, used soil and slow growth are good reasons to repot indoor plants from time to time. Spring, just before the new leaves start to sprout and the shoots sprout again is the best time for most house plants. How often it has to be repotted depends on the growth. Young plants usually have rooted through their vessels quickly and need a larger pot every year. Older plants grow less – they are repotted when the potting soil is old and depleted. By the way: Incorrect repotting is one of the most common mistakes when caring for indoor plants.
Repotting indoor plants: the essentials in brief
The best time to repot indoor plants is spring. The new pot should be two to three inches larger than the old one. This is how it works: Shake off the soil from the root ball, place the pottery shard on the drain hole in the new pot, pour in fresh potting soil, insert the houseplant, fill the cavities with soil, and water the plant.
When do you have to repot indoor plants?
With some plants, such as green lily or bow hemp, the pressure on the roots can become so strong that they lift out of the pot or even burst it. But you shouldn’t let it get that far. A look at the root ball is the best control. To do this, you lift the plant out of its pot. When the soil is completely rooted, it is repotted. Even if the proportions of the container and plant are no longer correct, if calcium deposits encrust the surface of the earth, or if the roots push themselves out of the drainage hole, these are unmistakable signs. In any case, fresh soil should be provided at least every three to four years.
If the root ball is rooted, but the plant is to continue to grow, it must be repotted
Repotting indoor plants: the right container
The new pot should be sized so that there are two to three centimeters between the root ball and the edge of the pot. Clay pots are characterized by their natural material. In addition, the porous walls are permeable to air and water. You, therefore, have to water a little more often than in plastic pots. Plants in clay pots do not wet so quickly and are more stable because the pot has a higher weight. Plastic pots are light and easy to clean. They hold moisture longer, but heavy plants tip over faster in them. For plants with particularly long roots, there are tall vessels, so-called palm pots, and low azalea pots for shallow-rooted room azaleas.
How do you recognize good potting soil?
Good potting soil costs a little more but is also of higher quality
The potting soil has to do a lot. It stores water and nutrients and transfers them to the plants. The effect of harmful substances such as lime has to be buffered. While the plants outside can spread their roots in the ground in all directions, there is only limited space available for them in the pot. You should therefore not compromise on the quality of the earth. You can recognize good earth by its price. It is better to leave cheap offers lying around – they are often not sterile and usually have a high proportion of compost. Such potting soil gets moldy easily or is contaminated with fungus gnats. The composition – important for structural stability – and the nutrient content are also often not optimal. For indoor plants, there are now also low-peat and peat-free potting soils. With their purchase, you contribute to the preservation of the moors. The peat in these mixtures is replaced by bark humus, compost, coconut, and wood fibers. The information on the composition of the earth provides information about this.
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How do you properly repot indoor plants?
When repotting, shake off the old soil from the root ball as much as possible and loosen it up a little with your fingers. A large pottery shard is placed on the bottom of the pot so that the drain hole is not blocked, and some fresh earth is poured in. Then the plant is inserted and filled with soil. It is best to hit the pot a couple of times on the tabletop so that all the cavities are well filled. Finally, a fine shower is poured on.
Regular repotting maintains the plants’ growth and vitality. The new pot should be two to five inches larger than the old one
Special cases when repotting indoor plants
Plants that, like the camellia or the indoor cyclamen, have their main flowering time in late winter, are only transplanted after flowering has ended. Plants that are particularly sensitive to roots, such as orchids, should be repotted when the roots are already sticking out of the planter. Palm trees are also only repotted when it is really necessary. Apart from sowing soil, potting soil is fertilized. This supply of nutrients lasts six to eight weeks. Only after this time do you start to regularly supply the freshly repotted house plants with fertilizer.
Some houseplants need special soils
There are special soil mixes for cacti, orchids, and azaleas. They correspond to the special needs of these groups of plants. Cactus soil is characterized by its high proportion of sand, which makes it very permeable to water. When repotting cacti, it is also important that you protect your hands with thick gloves. Orchid soil is better referred to as plant material because it is not actually soil. Coarse components such as pieces of bark and charcoal ensure good ventilation and good drainage. With a low pH value, azalea earth meets the requirements of bog plants such as azaleas, hydrangeas, and camellias.
Repot hydroponic plants
Hydroponics is a particularly low-maintenance culture system, ideal for the office and for people who travel a lot. It is sufficient to top up with water every two to three weeks. The root ball is flushed out every six months and long-term fertilizer is added.
Hydroponics are generally very easy to care for. Nevertheless, they should be repotted every few years if they have become too big for their pot
Hydroponic plants also outgrow their vessels. They are replanted when the roots fill the cultivation pot or are already growing through the water drainage slots. You remove the old expanded clay and put the plant in a new, larger pot insert. To do this, the soil is covered with moistened expanded clay, the plant is placed and filled. The clay balls give the plants a hold. Water and fertilizer are taken from the nutrient solution in the associated planter.
Rejuvenate by dividing when repotting
Depending on the size, two or more individual pieces can be obtained from some indoor plants. You can easily divide these plants when repotting: bobblehead (Soleirolia), ferns, coral moss (Nertera), arrowroot (Maranta), ornamental asparagus (Asparagus), indoor bamboo (Pogonatherum), indoor oats (Billbergia), and sedge (Cyperus). To divide, you can simply pull the root ball apart with your hands or cut it with a sharp knife. The cuts are then planted in pots that are not too large and only watered sparingly at first until they are properly rooted.