Repotting your Indoor Plants: When and How?

Observe the signs to understand if your plant requires a new home. Pots need to be replaced every 2-3 years as the plant grows to prevent from damage and sustain a healthy growth.
  • When to Repot
  • What you will require for Repotting
  • How to Repot your plant in simple steps
  • After you Repot your Plant

Choosing the right pot will aid you to keep your house plants healthy. A good container should offer plenty of drainage and will need to be replaced every few years as the plant grows, to avoid its roots becoming root-bound.

When to Repot your Plant?

Plants typically need to be repotted every few years, depending on how actively they are growing. Some slow growers can remain healthy in the same pot their home for years, but may require soil replenishment. Spring, before the start of the growing season, is usually the best time to repot your plants.

If you see one or a combination of these signs, you will know it is time to repot:

  • Waterlogged compost may indicate that plant’s pot drainage is not working, and it requires a new one with adequate drainage holes.
  • Root growth through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container, suggesting the plant is root-bound.
  • Roots tightly encircling at the root balls when you tip it out.
  • Presence of salt and minerals buildup on your planter
  • Paling or Yellowing of leaves may be a sign that the roots are congested and unable to take up nutrients efficiently.
  • Plant wilting may also be a sign of congested roots.
  • Drying of Soil quickly, water will run right through it instead of being absorbed
  • Divide and Conquer – Plant Babies; when plants get too crowded, they can be divided to free up space and make new plants; repotting and dividing offshoots into self-sufficient plants.

What you will require for Repotting

  1. New pot
  2. Compost
  3. Trowel (help in removing the plant.)
  4. Scissors or a sharp knife (pruning)
  5. Gloves

How to Repot your Plant in simple steps

Repotting a plant may seem like a difficult task as a lot of things can go wrong during the process – you can damage the plant by removing it improperly from its old pot or fail to repot it correctly and therefore cause the plant to die.Below are the easy steps for repotting your plant:
  1. Choose the Right Pot: Most plants are repotted every 2-3 years or annually when they are young. Choose a pot that is wide and deep enough to fit the root ball (with some space around the edges and at the top to allow for watering) or opt for a pot one size larger than the current container. We suggest giving the plant at least an extra inch, depending on size.
    Additional Tip: Make sure your new pot has good drainage holes. Otherwise, your plant might be immersed in water and rotting.
  2. Clean your planter with hot, soapy water and pat dry.
  3. Start by watering your plant thoroughly before repotting. This will help avoid transplant shock and keep the rootball together.
  4. Gently remove your plant from its existing pot by turning it sideways, supporting the main stem in one hand, and pulling the pot away with your other hand. You can also use a knife to loosen the soil around the edges of the pot.
  5. Loosen the rootball using your hands and prune any long ends or rotten roots. When repotting in the same pot, shake off excess soil and cut a quarter of the roots with the help of scissors.
  6. Add a layer of compost to the bottom of the new pot.
  7. Set the plant over the new compost, ensuring that the top is sitting 1 cm below the pot rim. This allows space for water to collect at the top before filtering into compost.
  8. Fill in around the roots with more compost, pressing it down gently to remove any air gaps. Do not bury the stems (or aerial roots if it has any), it should be at the same depth as it was in its original pot. Gently water, taking care to keep the leaves dry.
  9. Once your plant is in place, give it another rinse to settle it in its new home. It will take a few weeks to recover from repotting.

After You Re-pot Your Plant

After repotting, plants tend to enter a period of shock. It is a normal thing to happen. Plants may appear wilted and thirsty, but take care to refrain from watering until about a week after repotting to ensure that any roots damaged during transplanting have healed. During the recovery period, place plants in a cooler, shadier spot.
Most potting soils contain fertilizer. To prevent over-fertilizing and damaging your plant, you can hold off on fertilizing for nearly 4 – 6 weeks after re-potting.

The Final words

With some simple tips and tricks, potting and repotting your houseplants is easy. Proper potting is a key to set your plant up for success and it is important for the overall health of your plants. Repotting is a stressful time for a plant, so try not to do it often. Observe the signs to understand if your plant requires a new home.

Reference links used:
2. Practical Houseplant Book (RHS, Fran Bailey & Zia Allaway)

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Know Your Home Air

Gas heating systems, leaking chimneys, fire places emits carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful pollutants. Plastics and common household cleaners, paints, paint thinner often placed under the kitchen sink, release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), when used and stored. Overheating of non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes. Pesticides we use in and around the home also release various chemical and semi-volatile compounds.


Harmful effects
Carbon monoxide causes headache, dizziness and fatigue. These often cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Fine particles are produced during all kinds of combustion which lead to acute and chronic effects to respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Pet dander and hair, carpet, rugs, upholstery furniture are main source of dust mites, fungus, and bacteria. A dirty filter of air conditioners acts as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, other tobacco products and mosquito coil emits VOC’s and formaldehyde and various particulate matters. CO2 released from our lungs is exhaled in the air which pollutes the air if the place is too crowded or there is less ventilation.


Harmful effects
All these can trigger coughing, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, dry mouth, vomiting,
digestive tract problems, depression, allergy and asthma attacks, and other respiratory illness.

Shower, faucets and other water sources are main cause of humidity and mold. Bathroom cleaners and personal care products like toothpaste, soaps, facial tissues, detergent, fabric softeners, air fresheners, deodorizers, hair sprays, disinfectants, are full of VOC’s and chemicals which emits harmful pollutants.


Harmful effects
Mold can cause allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments. VOC’s and toxic chemicals released in the bathroom can causes eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and respiratory problems. All these products release harmful pollutants while they are used also when they are stored.

A bedroom contains many sources of indoor air pollution. Mattress, pillow and blankets, soft toys, are the reservoirs of dust mites, fungi and bacteria. Furniture, carpets, paints and beauty product like hairspray, nail polishes, perfumes, deodorants etc off gas VOC, formaldehyde and toxic gases into the air.


Harmful effects
These pollutants make the air unhealthy which leads to allergy, asthma attacks, dizziness, headache, fatigue and other respiratory ailments.

Second-hand smoke
Second hand Smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning of tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars or pipes and the smoke exhaled by smokers. Secondhand smoke is also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Passive smoking can lead to coughing, excess phlegm, and chest discomfort. NCI (National Cancer Institute) also notes that spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), cervical cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, nasal sinus cancer, decreased lung function, exacerbation of cystic fibrosis, and negative cognitive and behavioral effects in children have been linked to ETS. Secondhand smoke exposure commonly occurs indoors, particularly in homes and cars. Secondhand smoke can move between rooms of a home and between apartment units.

Guest Bathroom

Central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices
The air filter in your HVAC system is the front line of defense against poor indoor air quality. A typical central heating and cooling system circulates over 1,000 cubic feet per minute of air through the filter. This means the entire air volume in your house passes through the filter multiple times every day. A dirty filter, however, can actually make indoor air quality worse by acting as a reservoir for dirt, dust and other airborne contaminants that are continuously circulated back into your breathing air. In addition to driving up your utility bill, a clogged air filter will allow all that dust and debris that should be filtered out to be re-circulated back into your home. This can cause chronic allergies and especially be dangerous for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

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