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BONNIE’S GARDEN: To Repot or Not to Repot? That is the Question

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

February is houseplant month here at the Great Big Greenhouse. Not only do we have free seminars every Saturday, but we offer free repotting of your houseplants, too.

So how do you know your houseplants need repotting?

  1. If you find that you’re having to water a lot more often, that’s usually a clue the plant has gotten big enough the existing root ball can no longer hold enough water to keep the plant hydrated.
  2. In some plants, those whose growth habit is sideways (like snake plants, ZZ plants, Chinese evergreens), when the new shoots are actually hitting the side of the pot or beginning to distort a pot, that’s usually a clue that the plant needs a little more room.
  3. If you’ve got a lot of roots coming out of the drainage holes, then you may need to repot.

When NOT to repot

  1. If you’ve got a lot of loose soil on top and few if any roots coming out the bottom, chances are your pot size is fine.
  2. If it’s been less than a year since it was last repotted, it probably does not need to be repotted again. (Remember, we’re talking houseplants, not fast-growing seedlings.)
  3. If a plant is drying less often than once a week, that’s usually telling you that it has more than enough soil to hold water.
  4. When you’re getting ready to bring plants inside for the winter or taking a new plant home is not a good time. It’s a huge shock to change a plant’s environment. It’s also a huge shock to mess with the roots. Try not to give a plant more than one shock at a time.
  5. If a plant is under stress and showing lots of yellow leaves or brown tips, etc. it usually has NOTHING to do with needing a new pot and everything to do a cultural problem. Repotting a stressed plant might make it even worse.
  6. We’ve got everything you need here at The Great Big Greenhouse—from a great selection of plants and supplies to knowledgeable employees to answer any questions you may have.

At any time, you can always bring a plant in for us, if you’re not sure, and we’ll tell you if your plant does or does not need repotting.

To read more posts from Bonnie, visit our blog

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