With all of the nurturing we do to encourage our houseplants to grow, accommodating that growth by repotting houseplants is surprisingly one of the most neglected parts of plant care. Just like your expanding family has probably outgrown a home or two over the years, our houseplants can grow too big to live in their potted homes. If you can remember what a cramped living situation feels like, it makes sense that they simply won't thrive in crowded containers.
If you're like many of the other plant parents who are nervous about the repotting process, don't worry! While repotting can cause your plants some minor stress, they'll definitely thank you for their spacious new living arrangements in the end. Take a look at our tips for repotting rootbound plants to keep the transition as smooth as possible.
As plants grow larger and develop new foliage, their root system underneath the soil also expands. Eventually, they won't have anywhere else to go and will become rootbound, which stunts their growth and affects their ability to nourish themselves properly. In general, plants should be repotted with fresh soil every year or year and a half, but look out for these signs that indicate it might also be time to go up a pot size:
The first step to repotting is, of course, choosing a larger container. It's essential to consider the needs of your plant when selecting their new home, especially in reference to size and moisture preferences.
Most houseplants require drainage holes to prevent their roots from becoming waterlogged. We know that design is also important-houseplants are a vital part of your indoor decor, after all! If your heart is set on a container that doesn't have drainage holes on the bottom, you have a few options: you can either drill holes through the bottom of the pot yourself, or you can use a smaller, more practical pot for planting and simply hide it inside the larger, nicer pot.
Also, consider the material of the pot itself. Porous materials, such as the classic terra cotta, absorb moisture from the soil. While this is great news for desert dwellers like cacti and succulents, it's not so great for other houseplants that need more moisture in their soils. Synthetic and ceramic containers are much better for houseplants that require consistently moist soils.
Finally, consider what size container will best suit your plant. As appealing as it may be to provide your plant with the container-equivalent of a mansion to prevent it from outgrowing its home again, this can actually be just as damaging as leaving it rootbound. Containers with excess soil and minimal roots tend to hold much more water and take much longer to dry out, putting houseplants at risk for mold and root rot. We suggest moving up just one pot size at a time.
If you're looking for new containers in the Bismarck area, come check the gorgeous indoor pottery in our home decor section.
After selecting an appropriate container, it's finally time to repot your plant! Here are our best tips for successfully moving a plant to its new home: