Every once in a while, when you are watering your plants, you may notice one of them is really struggling. But why is it struggling? You water it on the right schedule, it’s in the best light spot, it is pest free, and it has been doing so well for so long…what happened?! This is when your plant might be ready for a repot. Some plants, depending on the kind, can go a very long time without needing to be repotted. Plants like snake plants, cacti, and zz plants can go years without needing to be repotted. But other plants, like philodendrons, tradescantia, pilea, and other fast-growing plants may need to be repotted sooner.
The key to repotting is to be able to recognize when each of your plants need a repot.
3. Plant is Pressing Up Against the Pot
One of the easiest ways to recognize that your plant needs to be repotted is to visually analyze if your plant is pressing up against the pot. This is particularly clear when you keep your plants in plastic containers. If your plants are in ceramic or terracotta, however, you may just see the plant itself pressing against the pot, or, if the plant is dry, you can lightly pull it out of its pot to check on the roots.
2. Roots are Showing
Another great way to see if your plant needs to be repotted is to check if the roots are growing out of the bottom of the current pot it is in. This is particularly easy to do when you are planting in a pot with a hole at the bottom. If you see roots coming out the bottom or top of the pot, it’s definitely time for a resize.
1. Plant is Failing for (Seemingly) No Good Reason
Sometimes plants that are too tight in their pots will start drooping, become unresponsive to fertilizing, and may drop their leaves. When all else fails, it may mean that your plant's roots have taken over most of the soil and there aren’t enough nutrients to support the plant anymore. Giving it some fresh soil and a slightly larger pot can make a world of difference.
So now that you know that your plant needs to be repotted, what are the next steps? In most cases, you will want to go up 2-4 inches in diameter from the original pot size that your plant has outgrown. This will give it enough space to grow into without overwhelming it. For plants that generally like tighter pots, like snake plants and cacti, this rule is especially important because too much soil can cause the roots to be wet too long after watering, which can then lead to root rot.
For more information about repotting your plants, you can come see our Green Team Experts in-store. Check out the Garden Guru and his webinars with new plants, products, and expert planting advice. To keep inspired and grow with us, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to dig into the joys of gardening!