How To Repot A Tropical Plant
Pairing a plant with a new pot is one of the most fun parts of being a plant owner, and it’s a milestone for your plant. A chance to grow bigger, healthier roots and leaves! Here is Tula’s guide to safely and carefully placing a tropical beauty in its new home.
Before you start, four tips to make your repotting easier:
- Ask yourself: am I certain this is what the plant needs? For a complete guide on how to know if your plant is ready for a bigger pot, go here.
- Choose the right pot. When repotting, it’s best to choose a pot one size up from the pot the plant is currently in. About an inch deeper and wider on either side is usually perfect. And of course, always steer toward pots with drainage.
- Let the plant dry out a little. Repotting a plant with dry soil will make it much easier to remove from the old pot and reduce the possibility of damaging the roots.
- Prep a space. Lay out some paper bags or newspaper and assemble your materials: the plant, the new pot, and fresh soil that matches the composition of the plant’s current soil mix. Most tropical plants do great in an all-purpose potting soil.
Now, step by step repotting. For a visual guide, watch the video above from Tula founder Christan Summers.
- Place a small layer of dirt on the bottom of the pot. This will create a nest that the plant can sit on and provide new organic material into which new roots can spread.
- Remove the plant from the old pot by massaging the sides, tilting the plant over the new pot, and allowing the plant to slide out of the plastic pot. Avoid pulling too much on the plant, as it can damage the roots and stalk. If you are repotting a plant that is in a clay or other solid pot, use a chopstick or butter knife to loosen the soil from the inner wall of the pot. Set the old pot aside.
- Massage the rootball of the plant while holding it above the destination pot. Massaging, but not tearing, will gently shake soil from the roots, loosen them, and encourage new growth in a pattern that doesn’t match the mold of the old pot.
- Place the plant on top of the nest created in step one. The top of the root ball should be level with the brim of the pot. If it’s higher, remove the plant and scoop some soil out of the nest. Add more soil if it is lower. The result should be the plant sitting level on a bed of soil beneath it, with empty space between it and the inner wall of the pot. Stand back if you need to and make sure the plant is standing up straight.
- Fill the negative space with fresh soil. Hold the plant secure and straight with one hand while you fill in the soil with the other. Keep an eye on the plant when you do this, so it remains centered in the pot. Evenly pack the soil around the plant, filling in any air pockets. The soil should be structured enough to hold the plant up, but not so dense that it can’t allow air or water in easily. Light and airy is the key.
- Tap the side of the pot so the soil shakes and levels out.
- Clean up the pot with an old paintbrush or slightly moist paper towel.
- Water the plant (as long as it was dry when you repotted), and enjoy!