Random houseplant advice: A plant will always let you know when it wants a new pot. If you see roots poking out of the bottom of the pot, that means it wants to dig deeper. Try to give it a new pot before you get a messy tangle of roots trying to escape!
Some plant repotting tips:
• Withhold water for a few days (as long as the plant doesn't mind). Dry soil is much easier to work with (and less messy).
• Put down a bunch of old newspaper or repurposed plastic bags, because this is going to be messy.
• Prepare your new pot first. Line it with soil and dig a little cavity in the middle for your plant's roots to go into.
• Ideally, you want to avoid disturbing the roots as much as you can. They're sensitive, delicate, and easily injured. Repotting will stress a plant, playing with its roots more so.
• If you're repotting a tree, try just lifting it from the trunk. Sometimes the whole thing just lifts out.
• If the pot is plastic, you can massage it a little to loosen the soil inside.
• Some plants have clingy roots. Especially epiphytes or plants which grow in cracks (bromeliads, for instance, can be pesky). You may need to be a little rough.
• Support the plant's stem when removing it from its pot. You do not want to injure it.
Some more plant repotting tips:
• After moving the plant to its new pot, press it down a little so it's snug.
• After filling the pot in with soil, pat that down too.
• Pour a little water into your bathroom sink and put the pot into it so the soil can soak up water from underneath. Your plant could use a drink.
• A plant will be a little upset after all of this and it'll probably stop growing for a few days. It'll recover soon.
• Don't worry too much. As long as you don't do your plant any mortal injuries (like a broken main stem), it'll be just fine.
(This advice is mostly for @dreadfulwaIe, who asked for it, but I thought it might help a few others too.)
True, and you'll often get a burst of growth after repotting. Though it depends a little on what kind of plant you're talking about. Some actually like having cramped root space. Notably chlorophytum and gynura.
TBH, many of the chemical compounds produced by plants which humans find agreeable (whether for culinary or other reasons) were originally defences. Nicotine is a notable one. It's a very effective insecticide in nature.
Though just FYI, not all of those compounds are alkaloids. Xanthines, tryptamines and opioids are, but cannabinoids are not.
They certainly are rather handsome plants...
I don't know so much about cacti TBH, though I've kept a few in the past. They're very interesting though!
Actually, I'm a physicist. Botany is more of a side interest...
Sure, why not?
@InvaderXan Yeah, one repotting technique that still kinda freaks me out is to trim off the circling roots if your plant is rootbound, so the new roots can grow out into the fresh soil. I thought it'd hurt them but they turn out fine.
Well, it does hurt them. I’m pretty sure the plant takes longer to recover from that.
In my experience, plants whose roots I’ve accidentally injured take a couple of weeks to recover, rather than a few days.
I’ve never purposefully trimmed a plant’s roots myself, and I’m not convinced it’s necessary or even helpful in most cases.
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