To Repot or not to Repot?
One of the questions that we are most often asked is: “Does my tropical plant need to be repotted?” Most plants like their roots to balance on the edge of crowded, but not over-crowded (with the exception of some plants, like orchids, that prefer to be rootbound because this encourages flowering). Repotting should only be done when absolutely necessary, and there are a few clues that you can look for to tell you when that time has come.
You will first begin to notice the slowing down of foliar growth (or even dying off of foliage) during the active growth cycle. A container can stunt the growth of a plant because its roots have nowhere else to go. You will also notice you need to water your plant more frequently. When there are too many roots, there is less soil to hold moisture.
To confirm it is time to repot, gently remove the plant from its pot to examine the root system. Are there roots growing through the drainage holes? Do you see more roots than soil? If yes, it is time to pot up and move your plant into a slightly larger container.
Tip: Repot into a slightly larger container. If you give the root system too much space there is a chance air pockets can form in the soil, fill with water, and cause root rot. A plant with rotten roots is not a happy plant!
Overall, the goal of repotting is to allow a plant to grow. When your plants are in a location where it is inconvenient or too messy to repot, for example in your office, there are steps that can be taken to control the root system. Regular pruning to maintain the plant’s size, a regular fertilization schedule to restore soil nutrients and a scheduled weekly watering will help to keep the plant healthy while avoiding the need to repot all together. Regular additions of small amounts of fresh soil will is beneficial as well.