Repotting House Plants: House plant pots and containers are a vital element of the plants life. Read the best and easiest instructions for repotting and care of house plants.
If a plant is knocked out of it's container, the small white roots may be seen coming through the ball of soil and beginning to curl around the outside of it. That is a plant that is root-bound. House plant care involves repotting, and the time for repotting the young plants has arrived when these roots have made a thick network around the ball of soil, but before they become brown and woody. In other words, while they are still white and succulent (working roots).
The potting up, as a general rule, should be to a pot only one size larger, For example, go from a 3" pot to a 4" pot, or from a 4" pot to a 5" pot.
Remove the plant from the old pot by holding the stem of the plant between the index and middle finger of the left hand, and with your right hand turning the pot over and tapping the edge of the rim sharply against the edge of the bench or table....You're half-way there!!
The next step in repotting house plants, is before putting the plant into the new pot, remove the top half inch of soil and gently loosen up the lower half of the ball of roots, if it is firmly matted.
Put soil in the bottom of the pot to a depth that when the ball of roots is covered with half an inch or so of new soil, the surface will still be about half an inch below the rim of the pot. Hold the plant in place with the left hand, and with the right fill in around it, making the soil firm as before. Water and care after repotting house plants is the same as after the first potting.
Pots 4" or over in size can be helped for sufficient drainage. A good material to use is broken charcoal, in pieces 1/2 to 1" in diameter. Pieces of broken pots, cinders or rough stones will work will too. Be sure that the drainage hole is not covered; if pieces of pots are used, put the concave side down over the hole. The depth of the drainage material will be from 1/2" to 3", according to the size of the pot. Over this rough material put a little screenings, leaf mould or sphagnum moss, to prevent the soil's washing down into it. Then fill in with soil and pot in the regular way.
The time for repotting house plants is at the beginning of their growing season. It varies, of course, with the different kinds. But, the great majority start into new growth in the spring and should be repotted from the middle of March to the middle of May.
Plants kept through the winter for stock plants are usually started up and repotted early in February to induce the abundant new growth that furnishes cuttings. The method of repotting will depend on the nature of the plant.
Soft-wooded plants, like geraniums, are put in the ordinary way and firmed with the fingers. Palms do best with the new soil more firmly packed around the old ball of roots. Hard-wooded plants with very fine roots, like the azaleas, should have the soil rammed down firmly about the old ball. With this method, it's often times necessary to use a blunt, flat piece of wood.
Plants that have been crocked in the old pots should have this material removed, if possible, before going into their new containers.
Plants in large pots often use up all the plant food available, and where they can't be given a larger pot, this can become quite a problem. They are usually striking house plants which you don't want to lose. Remove this kind of plant from its pot and carefully wash all the soil from the roots. Clean the pot and carefully repot in fresh soil in the same pot. The result will be extremely good!!!
Until you become really good in the "art" of repotting plants, it would do you good to practice with every plant and cutting that you can find. If you have mistakes to make, make them with these, so that your favorite plants may be handled safely.