Is it time to replant your houseplants? How do you know? The plants will tell you themselves. Some obvious signs that it is time to replant are…
Photo on Visualhunt
1 – You have not freshened the soil in the last year.
Remember that house plants are in a contained environment. The only nutrients available to them are what is in the soil in their pot. Unlike plants in the ground they cannot draw additional nutrients from their environment. You can supplement with some water soluble fertilizer, but once the nutrients are gone they are gone. Plan to completely replace the soil in your pots each year.
Photo credit: Gardening Solutions on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC
2 – They are pot/root bound.
Is the plant growing all the way to the edge of the pot? Or even worse are there visible roots poking out the holes in the bottom of the pot? Then the plants roots need to be pruned. Root bound plants tend to be a little harder to free from their container. Water the plant a little bit and it will come out of the existing pot easily. Gently prune and separate the roots. This will encourage new growth as they settle into their new container. Purchase some bigger pots if you are looking to encourage growth. If you plan to reuse pots you already have, be sure to clean them well with soap and water before you add a new plant. That way any insect or disease issues are minimalized.
Photo credit: dfmobile on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA
Plants looking like this? It is not too late! This can be saved!
3 – They are pale or leggy.
Plants that are pale in color are usually not receiving enough nutrients. To be healthy they require many essential nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They also require many “macro” nutrients such as iron, magnesium and more. All of these can be found in fresh soil, and by the addition of a well balanced fertilizer.
Or perhaps your plants are leggy, meaning they grew too tall for their root systems to support. Plants that in this situation may need to be drastically cut back. Be sure to know what type of houseplant you have so you can be sure that it is ok to cut them back, and if so, how far.