Posted: March 7, 2012
A tip from Kansas State University for repotting your houseplants: As outdoor plants break dormancy and start to grow in response to the longer days and warmer spring temperatures, houseplants usually put on a spurt of growth as well. Eventually, these indoor plants outgrow their containers and need to be repotted. To check if your plants are becoming root bound and need a larger pot, inspect the root system. First, knock the plant out of its pot. Watering several hours before this operation will allow the plant to be removed more easily. Once the plant is free, take a look at the root ball. If you see a clear network of roots, the plant needs to be moved to a larger pot. If the original pot is less than 10 inches, move up an inch in size; if 10 inches or larger, increase the size 2 inches. If the pot has one or several large holes in the bottom for drainage, cover the holes with pot shards (pieces of a broken clay pot) or gravel so that the potting mix is not washed out during watering.
It is essential that the plant sit at the same level it was in the old pot. Add enough potting mix to the bottom of the pot to ensure this. Tamp down well the added soil mix and re-place the plant.
After the plant is placed, fill in around the original root ball with potting soil. Water the plant thoroughly after repotting, but be especially careful not to overwater for about two weeks. The new soil tends to stay wet until roots penetrate. Overwatering can lead to rot.