Repotting plants at the right time and place plays a vital role in its growth and sustenance. However, there are times when both rookie gardeners and experienced ones, can go overboard in their enthusiasm to re-pot, causing their plants more harm than good. For those completely new to gardening, though, this is a useful resource on how to repot a plant.
Let’s get right into the top 9 mistakes people make when transferring plants:
Repotting as soon as you’ve brought the plant home
This is a classic error first-time plant owners make, assuming that the plant needs “good soil”. Keep in mind that growers can’t sell plants and earn from them if they use poor quality soil. This is why it is best to allow your new plant time to adjust to your home’s lighting, temperature and humidity before shifting it to another pot.
Using disproportionally oversized pots
Moving your plant to a massively oversized pot will not make it grow twice as fast — it will only cause the soil to dry slower, making the roots more vulnerable to rot. As a rule of thumb, use a pot that is a couple of inches larger in diameter than your current one.
Adding gravel and rocks to the bottom and ignoring drainage
Contrary to popular opinion, adding gravel and small stones to the bottom of the pot will only raise the soil’s wet area bringing it nearer to the roots. Result: the roots will rot because of a lack of oxygen. A better idea is to ensure that the new pot has drainage holes. Drilling a few holes is easy if the pot doesn’t have any.
Repotting in harsh, cold weather
Plants can suffer from “transplant shock” and even die if they are uprooted and transplanted in cold weather. This is why if you live in a cold place, it’s best to wait until summer. For those living in warm climates, repotting can be done at any time.
Transferring a plant that has just started flowering
It is not recommended to re-pot a plant when the flowering cycle has begun as this can severely impede its development. Once the initial flowering process starts, wait a couple of weeks before relocating it.
Choosing the incorrect soil
There is no “One Size Fits All” when it comes to the right soil as the plant species needs to be taken into consideration. Plants with fleshy roots such as yucca are best grown in large-particle coarse soil. This allows for efficient drainage and also lessens the risk of the root rotting due to waterlogging.
Similarly, plants with fine roots such as begonias and violets are best grown in soil with a fine texture. You can add a potting mix containing perlite, peat moss, and horticultural vermiculite.
Not teasing the roots enough
Often, planters make the mistake of transferring the plant along with the root ball completely intact into the new pot. Teasing the roots is a must especially if the root ball has hardened into a lump of mass. This helps new roots branch out thereby speeding up the overall growth of the plant.
Disintegrating the root ball completely
While it is tempting to break down tightly entangled root balls, this is counterproductive. In case the root ball has turned into a hardened mass, simply soak it overnight in some water to soften it. Also, tightly coiled roots can be taken care of by trimming them using a shear. Make sure it is sanitized before use.
Insufficient water and light
After repotting the plant, many folks water it just like they did before, forgetting that plants that have been shifted to larger containers with more soil will naturally require more water. In fact, they should be heavily drenched immediately after repotting. This allows the water on the soil’s surface to evaporate quickly, and also, moisture will be preserved in the soil below.
Another point worth remembering is that after repotting, your plant will need to be placed away from direct sunlight. Try to keep it in filtered light at least for the first few weeks.
Always be gentle and attentive when transferring your plants. By avoiding these common repotting mistakes, your plants will take off wonderfully.
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