Prepare Indoor Plants for Spring

Refresh and replenish plants’ surroundings for new growth.

If the local weather brings chirping birds, spring showers and signs of new life outdoors, it may be time to start nurturing new growth from your plants inside as well. Early spring is the perfect time for feeding and repotting plants as they resume actively growing after a cold, dark winter season.

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When Should You Repot?

As a general guide, young plants typically like to be repotted once or twice a year and mature plants prefer once every year or two. But there are also signs you can watch out for that confirm it’s time for a new pot for your plant. First, assess if your plant has become rootbound. Sometimes roots may become overcrowded and crave some more space to spread out. When they’re congested, roots can begin to form a dense web that encircles the pot, leaving more root than soil and causing stunted growth or paler leaves.

Common signals of a rootbound plant are the roots beginning to grow out of the drainage hole or if your potted plant is starting to show roots at the surface. However, some plants can handle a bit of overcrowding and their growing isn’t affected. Spider plants, snake plants, and jade plants, for example, all grow better when they’re more rootbound, and can flourish without frequent repottings. Be sure to look into what your plant likes best.

Also, check out the overall appearance and behavior of your plant. If it’s getting top-heavy, is constantly wilting, has pale or dull leaves, or if growth has slowed or even stopped completely (when not dormant in the winter), this could point to your plant needing a new pot.

The Basics of Repotting

After determining that it is indeed time for some new digs for your houseplant, the next thing to consider is what size pot you need. Repotting doesn’t always mean you need to up the size of your pot. If you don’t want your plant to get much bigger and it doesn’t appear to be rootbound, simply refresh the soil in its previous pot, before placing the plant back in its original home. If using the plant’s previous pot, however, be sure to thoroughly clean out the old soil and potential salt and sediment build-up before updating with fresh potting soil.

But if you can see that the roots require more space and a bigger pot is called for, typically stick with a diameter that’s only 1-2’’ bigger than their previous pot so your plant isn’t overwhelmed with space. Repotting a plant into a pot that’s too big leads to overall discomfort, potentially causing root rot if there’s an excessive amount of soil, retaining too much water and soaking the roots by staying wet longer.

Once the pot has been picked, follow these basic steps:

  1. Water the plant 1 day before repotting.
  2. Gently remove your plant from its previous pot.
  3. Keeping a tender touch, massage the roots or gently cut them with a knife or shears to loosen and break them apart. You can also trim off the bottom of the root ball to help with nutrient and water absorption.
  4. Update clean pot with layer of fresh potting soil.
  5. Place your plant in the pot and fill in empty spaces with remaining soil. Leave about an inch of room from the top of the pot to allow for watering.
  6. Give your newly potted plant a refreshing drink to welcome them home.

For a more thorough overview of the whole repotting process, check out our complete guide on moving plants into their new home or watch this step-by-step video on how to repot.

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But… Why Do We Repot?

Repotting plants is an important step in plant-care maintenance to ensure your greenery grows well and stays healthy. Besides the obvious bonus of being able to treat yourself to a cute new pot, there are many other great benefits to refreshing your plants’ housing. As time passes, soil begins to lose its luster, diminishing in quality both in texture and sustenance. Bringing in fresh, new potting soil gifts your plant with better moisture retention along with treating them to a boost of nutrients.

Being cooped up in the same pot for too long can cause plants’ roots to get all bunched up and overcrowded, which leads to them receiving less water and nourishment, slowing or halting growth entirely. When you give the roots a little more room by loosening them up or placing them in a bigger pot, they have more space to spread out, encouraging new growth and thus, doing great things for your in-progress indoor jungle.

Plants Need Food, Too!

After you’ve given your plant a little time to adjust to its new surroundings (typically around 1-2 months), it’s time to think about its first meal in its new home. Regular feedings give plants an extra boost of nourishment that helps support healthy growth all year long. However, since plant growth often goes dormant during the winter months, you don’t need to worry about regular feedings, if any at all. But once the growth starts back up again during the spring and summer, it’s time to incorporate more plant food. From slow-release solutions to water-soluble or liquid plant food, Greendigs has various fertilizers to get you started.

For a more thorough overview of all things plant food, check out our guide to fertilizing.

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Spring Sparks Growth

In the spring, plants are beginning to wake back up from their winter slumber and are ready to grow–they just sometimes require a little help to get started! Simply follow these basic fertilizing and repotting plant tips to ensure your plants have all they need to grow beautifully during the coming warmer months.

What to Do If You Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions about getting your plants ready for spring, we’re here to help. Chat live with a Greendigs team member on our website or shoot us an email at [email protected]

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