Taking care of your plants might be the last thing on your spring to-do list, but it's incredibly important to take a close look at how they've been doing over the past 12 months. You might think that watering them regularly is all that they need, but digging down deep to see what's happening around the roots should be a must if you hope to keep your green babies happy and thriving. Repotting your plants will give you a chance to:
Aerate the soil
The soil often becomes compact which leads to poor water and nutrient distribution. You might notice that the top layer of the soil is hard to the touch. Check to be sure that the water is going through to all of the layers of the soil. You can do this by digging your finger about an inch deep in the soil just after watering. If you find that it's dry, despite watering, you'll want to lift your plants out and break up the hardened soil from around the roots. Add new soil to your pot and place the plants once again.
Freshen the soil
Over time, watering strips container-bound plants of vital nutrients, which means that they'll eventually need a fresh pot of soil to give them new life. Likewise, you might also consider adding an organic fertilizer in the spring time to make sure that your blooming plants have enough energy to properly go through their natural cycle of growth. This is the fertilizer I use!
Inspect your plants' leaves and roots
Getting close to your plants to inspect their leaves and roots will give you a really great idea of their overall health. The color of their leaves will often indicate their level of happiness. Keep in mind, yellowing leaves typically means overwatering and brown spots might tell you that your plants are suffering from nutrient deficiency or perhaps too much direct sunlight. Additionally, you'll want to check in on the roots of your plants to make sure mold isn't starting to grow from overwatering. Repotting your plants will let you see the entirety of your plant to make sure it's happy and healthy.
Rid any ants or mealybugs
If you live in a warm area where your plants have been outside all year long, you may notice that ants or other bugs have slowly made their homes inside the soil and on the leaves. This is particularly true for succulents since the soil tends to be dry and sand-like, which ants love. Ants are not directly harmful to plants, but they may bring in other pests such as mealybugs (the white little bugs that hangout on leaves). Ants can also disrupt the drainage system of the soil. Be sure to sift through the soil to rid any pesky bugs that might be living in your pots and wipe down the leaves if you see mealybugs. You can also touch each mealybug with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. This won't do any damage to your plants and will prevent the bugs from doing further damage.
Give Overgrown Plants a Proper Pot Size
Some plants take their time growing, while others spread like weeds. Repotting your plants is great opportunity to move any overgrown plants into new pots that are better suited for their size. If you see roots coming from the bottom of the pot, this is a clear indication that your plant needs a new home. Likewise, if you notice that there simply isn't any more room for it to grow outward, or if it seems to be tipping over, consider finding a wider, or deeper pot.
Some growing plants, like succulents, will produce pups that take away energy from the mother plant. The pups can be removed while repotting to then be placed separately. This separation and expansion of your plant collection is called propagation. You can also remove petals of succulents like the one below, leave them in a sunny location and wait until roots begin to shoot out. Then, simply place the petal on top of soil and watch it turn into a brand new plant! You'll have hundreds before you know it! Luckily they make for great gifts.
Create new arrangements
Speaking of gifts, try repotting your plants to create beautiful new arrangements. This is really the most fun part of the entire process. Mixing your plants up can feel like getting brand new babies each and every time!
Here's to getting you motivated to spend a morning with your green babies this spring. You'll see them thrive as soon as you give them new soil, fresh nutrients and a brand new home. Let us know below if you have any questions about your own plants!
Not a green thumb? Check out this blog post of Trendy Houseplants that Don't Need Much Attention.