What roots are and how to tell if your plant is root bound
Roots are amazingly hard working organs that keep plants safely in place and sustain them by absorbing water and nutrients from the soil.
As your healthy plant grows, its roots also grow and they’ll eventually need a bigger home. Thankfully, plants are very good at letting us know what’s wrong so if you notice one or more of these signs, it’s probably time to upgrade:
- Roots pushing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or showing above the soil
- Roots pushing the plant out of its pot
- Plant is top heavy and tends to fall over easily
- Soil dries out unusually quickly and the leaves wilt easily
- Very little new growth, or none at all during spring and summer
- Nutrient deficiencies symptoms, like yellowing leaves and spots on the leaves
How to repot your houseplant
Follow these easy steps when potting up your plant:
- Pick a new pot that’s one or two inches bigger than the previous one. We always recommend using one with drainage holes, but If you are using a decorative planter that doesn’t have any, you need to add a good layer of rocks or shells a the bottom to create drainage and prevent root rot.
- Water the plant before you repot it.
- Gently squeeze the nursery pot and start twisting the pot to ease the root ball out. Once the plant is out of its nursery pot carefully loosen the roots.
- Put a layer of fresh compost in your new pot and pack it down. Then rest the plant on top and check that the top of the root ball is a couple of inches below the rim of the new pot, for easy watering.
- Fill the gaps around the root ball with compost, firming it down. Ensure that the top of the root ball is level with the surface of the compost.
- Water to settle any air pockets.
Most plants need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months and it’s best to repot them in spring, when they are actively growing. Although, if your plant is desperate for a new home and its loosing its vigour, you can do so at anytime.