When to repot your plants?

Why is repotting so necessary?

Repotting plants keep them healthy and gives them more nutrients. Whether your plants are growing in very small pots or very large pots, they only have a finite quantity of potting mix around their roots.

Here are a few signs that your plant needs a new home:

  • The plant simply looks like it is too big for its pot
  • The roots are growing out of the drainage holes
  • Water is sitting on the top and not absorbing
  • The soil is dried out or looks like it is disintegrating
  • It’s been years since you repotted it
  • Water running straight through the pot and out the drain holes
  • Plants wilting quickly
  • Plants showing signs of yellowing and little or no growth

How often should I repot?

The frequency of repotting will be influenced by the quality of the potting mix that was in the pot when you bought the plant, or you used last time you repotted it.

Over time, the level of the mix in the pot will drop (‘slump’) because the mix has broken down to such an extent that it has washed out the drainage holes or has compacted to become a solid mass.

If you use a premium mix that meets the Australian Standard, this may take two or three years due to the high quality of the raw ingredients it’s made from.

However, if you’ve used a cheap mix made from un-composted bark or sawdust, you’re likely to find that it has slumped badly in just a couple of months.

What happens if I don't repot?

If you don’t repot when plants need it, you run the very real risk of plants becoming pot bound – they outgrow their existing pots. Their roots may completely fill pots, displacing the potting mix and depriving them of water and nutrients. Pot bound plants will struggle to survive.

Some plants are very vigorous and may outgrow their pots in just a few months. These fast growers may be moved into pots one or two sizes larger than you would normally use, to cater for their rapid growth and reduce the number of times you have to disturb their roots over a growing season (Spring to Autumn).

Plants may also become pot bound because you’ve forgotten about them for a few years, noticing them only when they are showing signs of decline. They are likely to have exhausted all of the available mix and nutrients and their roots will completely fill the pot, may be even growing out through the drain holes around the base.

Our How to pot a plant? a plant info page, will give a starting point on repotting also. Just add a step before placing in the pot and trim the root ball slightly.

Happy repotting!!