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Re-potting your tropicals

Is it time to re-pot some of your tropical house plants? This week we look at how to do it and offer some helpful tips and advice.

To start you’ll need:

· A new pot, typically 5-10cm larger than the old one

· Substrate of your choice, I’m using soil today

· A bucket or container, for collecting the old soil.

· A trowel or scoop of some kind

· A sterilized cutting tool ( you can sterilize your tools with a simple solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water)

· A cloth or soft brush for cleaning

Ideally avoid repotting in the winter months. It is best to re-pot from March until September. This is because most plants are in a dormant stage during this time frame.

Wait until the day after watering the plant, not watering earlier than you typically would. This will reduce shock on the plant and help ensure the roots are happy.

Dampening the new soil before using it will retain fine dust particles you don’t want to breath in. This also makes it nicer to work with, easier to gauge the amount needed.

Ensure the new pot is clean, then add a small layer of soil to the bottom. You may need to add or take some soil away later on.

Remove your plant from its old pot. Gently loosen the soil and roots by digging your fingers into the soil with one hand, holding the base of the plant securely but gently with the other.

If the pot is soft plastic, you can gently roll or squeeze the pot. You may need to use a tool to dig deeper if its ceramic, or terra cotta. Gently lift the plant out on an angle as you go, patience is important if you want to cause the least amount of damage such as ripping off leaves, stems or roots or loosing too much soil

If your plant is large, heavy, or awkward, an extra set of hands can ensure the safety of you & the plant!

Once your plant is out, inspect the roots, removing any unhealthy or damages ones with your cutting tool. If your roots are growing around in circles like the pot shape make sure to pull the roots out. You can remove some of the old soil now, but if it is still good, then there is no need.

Place your plant in the new pot, adding soil to get desired height. Add soil around your plant, gently tapping the sides of the pot, or tapping the pot on the work surface to help the soil settle. This is preferred over pushing with your fingers, which may cause damage or soil compaction. Fill soil to 1-3cm below the lip of the pot, then lightly water the plant. Add more soil as needed, staying below the 1-3cm. This reduces mess while watering in the future.

Use your cloth or brush to clean the pot & plant afterwards. Don’t be too alarmed if your plant still goes through some shock, this can mean minor leafy yellowing or dropping of old foliage and blooms. It should be back to normal within a few weeks.

If you have any questions, please reach out or come in! We also offer repotting services for your convenience.


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