Re-potting is a common area of garden that's misunderstood, feared and in my opinion undervalued as a way to keep your potted plants in peak condition. Leaving a gorgeous plant you've purchased in the same pot you bought it it for years can really affect its ability to keep being its fabulous self. Of course every plant is different, just like us. But these are our top tips which work well for most repotting jobs.
First of all, how do you know it's time to repot?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then it's time to proceed to GO:
- Are the roots coming out of the hole at the bottom?
- Have you noticed the compost is looking a little grey and is regularly shrinking away from the sides of the pot?
- Have you had the poor plant in the same pot for over a year?
- Is the plant looking very top heavy in the pot?
Repotting top tips:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- A few hours before, water gently (in at the compost level, not above the leaves) well with tepid water. Let this drain out of the pot.
- Give the sides of the pot a gentle squeeze to loosen everything
- Now its time to get the plant out of the pot: For smaller plants easy to handle, make a V shape with your fingers and put the V either side of the main plant stem and bulk, use the remaining fingers and thumb to cradle around the side of the pot and tip the pot upside down letting it sit in you hand, then you should be able to gently lift the pot away from the roots, letting gravity do the work for you, without too much yanking. For larger plants you can put the pot on its side and ease the plant out this way. Always try to avoid pulling a plant via its stem, ease it out from the sides using a trowel to lever it.
- Shake away as much of the old compost as you can, if you're going up a pot size try to avoid too much of a big jump in size as it'll give the plant a shock. Add in a layer of fresh peat-free compost, I always like to mix in a handful of perlite or vermiculite if you have it handy to help soil structure.
- Pop the plant in the pot and fill in around it. Fill up to just below the rim of the pot and firm down gently but firmly.
- Trim away any yellow/brown leaves with a good sharp pair of snips.
- Give your pot another good water with tepid water (go slow as things may bubble up) and let it drain out fully.
- Wipe any dusty looking leaves and keep on with your fabulous plant parenting! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀