Moving house: how and when to replant

Moving house: how and when to replant

When you feel that your flat is getting too small, that it doesn't offer what you need or that its location simply doesn't suit you any more, you know that the time has come to think about moving. The same goes for plants. The pot is like your plant's home, it contains the substrate from which it obtains water and minerals to synthesise its nutrients and protects its roots; but there are times when this home is no longer sufficient, so it is essential to repot. We will show you how to recognise which are the signs that indicate that it is the ideal moment to do it and what is the procedure to do it.

when to transplant?

Just as moving is difficult and complicated, transplanting is traumatic for the plant. It is not a natural process and requires energy to adapt to its new habitat, so it should be done only when necessary and respecting the timing of each plant species. You should consider transplanting when:

  • The plant has stopped growing and developing.
  • The roots are sticking out of the drainage holes of the pot or above the substrate. This means that the pot is already too small and it is urgent to move it so that it does not die.
  • You have just bought it and the pot looks too small, to the point where it is bending under the weight of the plant.
  • It is in an unsuitable substrate.
  • The pot has broken or deteriorated.

Tips before repotting

  • The type of substrate must be suitable for the specific needs of the plant.
  • The plant should not be in full bloom or producing fruit, as repotting could stop flowering.
  • The perfect time to repot is at the end of winter, just before the plant wakes up again for spring.
  • If you have just bought the plant and it is just arriving home, you should wait at least a week for it to get used to its new environment, light and humidity conditions.
  • Choose the right pot. There are plastic and clay or porcelain pots, which offer certain aesthetic and functional advantages over plastic ones. The most important thing is to choose the size. If it is too small, you will have to change it after a short time, but if it is too big, it runs the risk of becoming waterlogged.

The size will depend on the type of plant. If you are repotting a plant that grows a lot, such as palms, bamboo, Adam's rib, among others, look for one that is about 5 cm wider and longer than the one you had. Cacti and succulents need wider pots rather than tall ones.

How to repot

Choose a shady or sheltered spot where direct sun will not reach the roots during the process. Gather everything you will need: substrate, the new pot, the plant, scissors, watering can and old newspapers to protect the surface. If your plant has thorns, such as cacti, you should have protective gloves. Prepare the new pot. It is advisable to put a layer of gravel before the substrate, as this improves drainage and avoids problems with waterlogging.

Now remove the plant from its old pot. If the roots are sticking out of the drainage holes, then you should break the pot with scissors to avoid damaging the roots. You must act gently, to prevent the root ball (the soil that covers the roots and is shaped like the pot) from crumbling. This will protect the roots. Start by watering the plant very well, to compact the soil.

Tap the pot on the sides to loosen the root ball from the walls. If it is small, hold the plant with the palm of your hand covering the mouth of the pot and turn it upside down so that the whole root ball falls into your hands. If the plant is very large, you can carefully grasp the base of the trunk or main stem of the plant and gently pull upwards. It should come out easily.

Place the root ball into the new pot to measure if it is at the correct height and how much substrate you need to add on top of the gravel bottom so that it is in the centre and at a good height. Once you have this ready, add more soil around the root ball, pressing gently to give stability and firmness to the plant. If you want, you can put pebbles or gravel on the surface.

Once repotted, water your plant very well and place it in a semi-shaded spot until you see it start to grow. You can fertilise it again a month after transplanting. Remember that any move can be difficult, but a change for the better will always be for the better and your plant will thank you for it.
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About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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