If you're like many people, you may have accumulated a few new houseplants since the start of the pandemic two years ago. Tricks like lining your pots with coffee filters and maintaining a humid environment can help flora thrive in the short term, but keeping it alive for the long haul is a bigger investment. Any plants you've had for more than a year likely need to be repotted, and early spring is the best time to give them an upgrade.
According to The Province, if you can see roots poking past the pot's drainage holes, your plant may need to be transferred to a different container. Most plants should be repotted every 12 to 18 months; some older, slow-growing varieties can flourish for years in the same vessel.
A cramped living space does more than hinder a plant's growth potential. Stunted roots have trouble absorbing water and nutrients, which results in a stressed, unhealthy specimen above the soil. But this doesn't necessarily mean you should repot at the first sign of growing pains; repotting is most effective when done in the first weeks of spring. Moving plants during the winter when they're growing at a slower pace may shock their system, while waiting until spring takes advantage of the natural growth surge they experience this time of year.
When you're ready to repot your plant, look for containers that are only slightly bigger than their current home. Swimming in an oversized environment can be just as harmful to roots as being crowded into a small one. After gently freeing your plant, move it to the potting mix in the new vessel, adding more soil as needed to bury it at roughly the same depth it was at before. Be careful not to pack the soil too tightly and smother your plant.
Even if your plants look healthy as they currently are, spring is a good opportunity to refresh their space. All plants can benefit from getting a fresh layer of soil at the top of their pot this time of year. Here are more tips for caring for your houseplants year-round.
[h/t The Province]