Potting houseplants : 7 mistakes not to make !

Indoor plants, like those that live outdoors, need specific care such as personalized watering, fertilization, cleaning sessions, a little pruning, but also a repotting that it is generally recommended to carry out in springwhen vegetation resumes, every 2 or 3 years. It’s obvious, we can’t leave them in the same pot (and therefore in the same substrate) to eternal life, that goes without saying. But beware, repotting indoor plants can be more harmful than it seems if it is done despite common sense. Here’s what not to do!

1 – Choose a pot that is too big

This is a mistake many people make, thinking they are doing the right thing. However, there are many indoor plants that cannot stand being placed in a container larger than the previous one. Succulents, Orchids, Saintpaulia, Clivia are all plants that prefer to be a little cramped in their potty. But that does not, of course, exempt them from repotting them so that they can benefit from a new, more qualitative substrate.

2 – Choose a pot that is too small

This can be very expensive for the plant concerned if its root system needs space to develop and that we persist in leaving a pot whose diameter is insufficient. It’s a bit like wearing a size 41 and jogging in size 38 trainers. In these conditions, you don’t last long…

It is always necessary learn about the needs of a plant at the time of purchase, and we try to repot it in a slightly larger container than the previous one when it is beneficial. A 5cm top diameter is satisfactory. This is the rule for many large plants such as Pachira, Ficus, Kentia Palm, Banana, plants of the genus Dracaena

3 – Change container but keep the old substrate

Repotting is not only used to install a plant in a more decorative pot than the other. The goal is still also to replace the old substrate completely devitalized by a new growing mediumfresh, healthy, nutritious, able to meet all the needs of a plant.

However, when the plant is very bulky and therefore impossible to manipulate, we are satisfied with a surfacing so as not to have to dig up the clod. The technique consists of removing the upper layer of the old substrate to a height of 5 or 6cm and to fill the space thus created with a new substrate which it is simply necessary to pack well. This can be, for example, potting soil to which a little mature compost is added if this suits the species.

4 – Repot an indoor plant in unsuitable soil or substrate

Indoor plants are like those that live in the garden: they have specific needs in terms of culture medium. When repotting, the choice is therefore made taking into account the species being cultivated. If the time has come to repot several indoor plants, since they do not belong to the same family, you may need to buy different potting soils.

Garden centers sell specific soils and substrates for cacti, succulents, bonsai, orchids, green plants, flowering indoor plants, carnivorous plants… Choosing the right soil is one of the key factors if you want to keep indoor plants healthy and beautiful.

Can also develop your own culture medium on a case-by-case basis with, for example, one or more of the following elements: river sand, gravel, perlite, pozzolan, rock wool, topsoil, maritime pine bark, expanded clay pebbles, compost, peat… We choose according to plants we have. For example, a Phalaenopsis does not need peat since it captures its main nutrients in carbon dioxide (CO2) and water present in the air.

5 – Postpone repotting to the following year (or even forever…)

In the field of indoor gardening, the procrastination has no place. If you haven’t “found the time” to repot an indoor plant during the spring because you have the annoying habit of systematically postpone what can be done the same day, it is still better to repot during the year than to postpone the task until the following spring. FYI, spring has 12 weeks. At the rate of 3 repottings every 7 days, that makes all the same at the end of the season 36 indoor plants repotted… and happy. Not bad is not it ?

It should be understood that if the substrate is really devitalized and the plant begins to show signs of distressit is highly preferable that it be repotted immediately, whatever the season, because it can simply save its life.

6 – Neglecting drainage

It can simply cause a plant to die because its roots are submerged in water. To ensure good drainage for an indoor plant, it must be repotted in a pierced pot. Place at the bottom of the pot and mix with the compost draining components such as clay balls, shards of terracotta pots or gravel.

7 – Repot a houseplant too frequently

Be careful not to go overboard by repotting your plants twice a year, or even more frequently, as this can seriously damage them. harm. Moreover, if there is no sign to suspect a malaise or any lack, we leave them alone in their pot.

When a plant needs repotting, you can easily spot the telltale signs such as the yellowingthe browning even the leaf fallthe softening of twigs, roots coming out through the drainage holes… We can also see that the level of the substrate seems to have dropped. It dries very quickly because it no longer retains water. It is then urgent to repot or resurface.

Leave a Comment