When To Change Soil In Houseplants

When was the last time you gave your container plants new soil?

If your plants haven’t been functioning well for a long, it might be time to investigate.

Your potted plants’ soil should typically be changed every 12 to 18 months. There are a few situations where this time might shift. For instance, if the soil has become really hard or if you’re shifting a plant into a larger container since it has outgrown its previous one.

It might also be a good idea to add new soil if your plant hasn’t been growing well, has leaf discoloration, or wilts one or two days after watering.

Best Soil for Potted Plants

A nutrient-rich environment with access to the water, sun, and air that plants require is ideal for their growth. The purpose of potting soil is to keep nutrients and moisture around the plant roots while also supplying adequate air for roots to thrive.

To replace the soil in potted plants, however, depends on the plant. Houseplants that grow more quickly could require annual repotting, whilst slower growers might be able to wait 1.5 to 2 years.

In terms of scheduling, spring is ideal because there is a lot of sunshine, which will promote root growth.

  • The best potting soil for indoor plants is often made up of peat, chopped up pine bark, and aerating minerals like perlite or vermiculite.
  • The best soil for succulents in pots should have good drainage. This typically indicates that the soil contains at least 50% sand or other similiar stuff.
  • The best potting soil for plants in pots outside – The soils that are optimal for these plants frequently contain old wood fibers that provide plants with the same advantages as growing beneath forested trees. Some additionally include pellets for moisture control and supplementary nutrients.

You can also incorporate a soil improvement known as biochar to renew the soil in your container. This increases soil aeration and decreases soil hardening and density.

Do I Need to Change the Pot?

Using the same pot when switching the soil is acceptable as long as you keep your plant’s size constant.

However, if you want to offer your plant more room to flourish, pick a pot that is 30–40% bigger.

You should be careful to prevent certain typical blunders when changing the soil in your potted plants. Here are a few accidents that occur frequently:

  • not at all modifying the soil. The amount of nourishment your plant receives is limited as potting soil squishes together over time, filling in holes that would typically be filled with air or water. The dirt becomes harder at this time. If you neglect this for too long, your plant can start to suffer.
  • Too regularly are soil changes made. Plants get at ease in their container, or house. Avoid switching out the soil too regularly.
  • At the incorrect time, change the soil. Utilizing favorable weather, especially for outside potted plants, might help your plant survive the shift and thrive.
  • replacing the soil as opposed to repotting. When a plant is still green and appears healthy with fresh development as opposed to stunted growth or wilting leaves, you don’t want to remove the soil from it.

How frequently should the soil be changed for indoor plants?

Although repotting your plants may seem difficult, we have some advice to help you succeed.

First things first: repotting refers to replacing the soil or potting mix, not necessarily the planter that it is now in. The nutrients in new soil are new. This is fantastic news if you adore your present planter, but it’s also okay if you want to get a new one or your plant has clearly outgrown its existing container. Try to choose a planter that is no more than 2″ larger in diameter for tabletop planters and no more than 4″ larger in diameter for floor planters when choosing a new one. Your new container might just need to be an inch larger if you’re repotting a really tiny plant! The size of your plant’s new home is crucial because we tend to give it more water in larger planters. Small plant in large planter with loads of soil and water results in unintentional dying. You want to give your plant some additional room to expand in the coming months rather than drowning it in soil.

Repotting should be done on average every 12 to 18 months, depending on how quickly the plant is developing. Some slow-growing plants, like cactus, can live for years in the same pot with only a soil resupply. The best time to repot your houseplants is typically in the spring, at the beginning of the growing season.

If you notice one or more of these indicators, you’ll know it’s time to report:

1. The grow pot or planter’s drainage hole(s) are being penetrated by roots 2. The plant’s roots are almost pushing it out of the planter. 3. The plant’s growth is significantly slower than usual (different than winter dormancy) 4. The plant is quite top-heavy and is prone to falling over. 5. The potting soil dries out the plant faster than before, necessitating more frequent waterings. 6. The plant’s foliage is larger than its present planter by more than three times. 7. The plant or planter has a pronounced salt and mineral buildup 8. You haven’t repotted your plant in more than a year.

What you’ll need on hand is as follows:

Of course, whether it is a new or existing factory.

The container you’re using for planting (if reusing a container, make sure to thoroughly rinse the inside first)

new potting soil

If your planter does not have a drainage hole, use lava rocks or something similar.

If you’re touching a plant like a Ficus elastica that has unpleasant sap, wear gloves.

a water bottle, a sink faucet, or a watering can

a newspaper, sheet for pots, or surface that is simple to clean

1. Take the plant out of the pot or planter it is currently in. Your plant will slide out of its current container if you grip it firmly by the stems or leaves while turning it sideways and tapping the bottom of the container. With a few little tugs on the stems’ bases, you might need to assist it a little.

2. Loosen the roots Use your hands to gently loosen the plant’s roots. Make sure to keep the thicker roots at the base of the leaves and cut any extra-long threadlike roots. Unbind the roots as much as you can and give them a trim if your plant is root-bound (the roots are growing in very small circles around the base of the plant).

3. Get rid of the old potting soil Remove at least a third of the old potting soil that is encircling the plant’s roots. You should give your plant new potting soil or mix because as it grew, it may have consumed all or part of the nutrients in the old mixture.

4. Include fresh potting soil Fresh potting soil should be added to the empty planter, and it should be packed down to eliminate any air pockets. Before adding the potting mix, layer the bottom of the planter with lava rocks or something comparable (rocks, gravel, etc.) if it has a drainage hole. The idea is to carve out areas for the additional water to collect in and flow away from the roots of your plant.

5. Include a plant. Make sure your plant is centered before placing it on top of the newly added layer of soil in the planter. Then, pour extra potting soil all around the plant to secure it. You want the roots to have room to breathe, so avoid packing the planter with too much soil.

Water and pleasure. The potting soil should be evened out, then water well. It’s important to remember that a plant that has just been re-potted doesn’t require fertilizer.

How can I tell whether my plants need fresh soil?

Here in the Pacific Northwest, springtime signs are already starting to appear! When flowers bloom and the days become longer, we spend more time outside. However, when seasonal showers force us indoors, we can still garden by repotting our indoor plants. Repotting indoor plants is best done from March through September, when the plants are actively growing.

Repotting entails updating the potting soil in addition to altering the container. Although soil has all the nutrients your plants require to grow and the ideal levels of oxygen and water for them to survive, with time the nutrients are depleted and the soil becomes compacted. You might even notice that your plants are now positioned in their pots lower than they were before. Burnt leaf tips or a white “crust around the bottom or top edge of the container can be caused by salts and minerals that accumulate in the soil as a result of synthetic fertilizers, tap water, and other sources. This is why it’s crucial to repot your plants every year or so with fresh soil.

We will start by responding to some of your basic repotting queries before guiding you through the process of repotting your indoor plants step by step.

How do you know when it’s time to repot?

  • Through the bottom drainage holes, roots are emerging.
  • Plant is being forced up and out of container by roots.
  • Plant tries to topple over since it is top-heavy.
  • The soil has hardened or dried out so quickly that it has torn away from the container’s sides.
  • Plant development is slower than usual.
  • Mineral or salt buildup on the container’s top or bottom.

When is the best time to repot your plant?

The optimum period for the majority of plants is frequently early spring, at the beginning of the active growing season. To give any new plant enough time to acclimate to its new habitat without being overly affected by other changes like a new container or soil, we advise waiting around six weeks before repotting. To help the soil keep together better when handled, wait at least two days after watering.

How often should I repot my indoor plants?

In general, established plants require fewer repottings than young, rapidly expanding ones. Older plants that develop more slowly may require repottering every two to three years, or as necessary, while younger plants may need to be done so every 12 to 18 months.

How big should my container be?

It’s ideal to keep the diameter of your new container between 2 and 3 inches less than that of the container you are replacing. Some plants may not require a larger container but still require fresh soil. In this case, you should remove about 1/3 to 1/2 of the old soil, loosen and lightly trim the roots, and add fresh soil to the bottom of a container of the same or similar size before replanting the plant and filling the remaining space with fresh soil. Many types of common indoor plants, especially those that are vulnerable to overwatering or root rot, like to be in slightly smaller containers (snake plants). However, to accommodate and promote rapid growth, some quickly expanding plants can be placed in larger pots (monsteras).

Common Potting Soil Ingredients

Peat moss, also known as sphagnum moss, is a mined organic substance made of partially decomposed plant material that enhances air circulation and holds water. To adjust the pH when using peat, add 1/4 tablespoon of lime per gallon of mixture. Although it is made entirely of organic material, peat moss is not completely renewable because it takes thousands of years for wetlands to transform into peat reservoirs; for an alternative to peat moss, see coco fiber/coconut coir below.

Coconut coir, often known as coco fiber or coconut coir, is a popular potting soil element manufactured from finely chopped coconut skins. In addition to being a more environmentally friendly substitute for peat moss and a pH-neutral substance, it has the advantage of not being a mined product and instead finding a use for something that could have otherwise been a waste product. The drawback of using coconut coir as a component of potting soil is that it must be shipped to northern regions where coconuts don’t grow. Consider the environmental impact of bringing coconut coir to your location against an alternative if you live far from where it is produced. Look into what is available in your area and choose what is best for you. Some people decide to combine peat and coir to receive the advantages of both while minimizing the disadvantages.

Compost: can be generated from a variety of materials, including wood fibers, bark, decomposed plant matter, animal dung, or other animal products.

Perlite is a heated volcanic rock that has been extracted and used to soil mixtures to help the soil retain air. Perlite is pH neutral, promotes pore space and drainage, and stores 3 to 4 times its weight in water. Given that perlite is far less dense than the other components of the soil, some of it will eventually float to the top of your plant pot. When incorporating perlite or vermiculite into soil, always wear a dust mask.

Vermiculite is a heated mineral that was mined; some gardeners prefer it to perlite.

Vermiculite, which is used similarly to perlite and also includes calcium and magnesium, is typically darker in color, blending in better with the soil and not floating to the top to the same extent.

Pumice is a volcanic rock that is heavier than perlite and helps soil retain more moisture and nutrients while also improving aeration and drainage. It is perfect for cactus/succulent mixes since it helps stabilize and anchor roots.

Wood chips or bark fines (shredded bark): Shredded wood promotes aeration and absorption but decomposes quickly and consumes soil nitrogen in the process (pine uses less nitrogen). Aeration is provided by chunkier bark, which is less absorbent and takes longer to decompose.

Worm castings (also known as vermicompost) are essentially composted worm dung; they have no smell and are rich in trace elements and micronutrients that are good for the health of plants.

Blend equal parts compost, coarse sand, fine (seedling) bark, and pumice to create a special soil mix for succulents and cacti. Before using, pre-moisten the mixture.

Mix equal parts of fine (seedling) bark, perlite, and coco or peat-based potting soil (we use Baby Bu’s) to create a special soil mix for aroids (Philodendron, Monstera, and ZZ Plant). Before using, pre-moisten the mixture.

Before Repotting, Gather the Following Materials

  • To reduce mess, use gloves, a drop cloth, tarp, or newspapers.
  • Fresh indoor potting soil; we advise using Malibu Baby Bu’s Potting Soil, G&B Potting Soil, FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil, or the correct soil for your plant. It’s beneficial to pre-moisten soil before putting it to the container.