how to repot a plant
A few steps to follow to set your shrub up for a long, happy life.
Though repotting should be kept to a minimum to avoid freaking your plant friend out, there are a bunch of genuine reasons why it might need a new home: it’s outgrown its current pot; the soil is old and crumbly and lacking in nutrients; or you quite fancy switching up your décor, for instance. Whatever the reason, here are a few steps to follow to set your shrub up for a long, happy life. (If possible, they’re best completed in late winter or early spring, before your plant kicks off a serious growth spurt.)Step 1: First – and perhaps most important – is finding your plant’s new home. Only go a wee bit bigger than the current pot – you don’t want the shrub swimming in loads of soil. It’s also ideal to have drainage holes so it doesn’t wind up with soggy feet. Grab some gardening gloves, potting mix and a hand spade and you’ll have everything you need.
Step 2: Next, add a layer of potting mix at the base of your pot. (If you don’t have drainage holes, pop some rocks or gravel down first to give excess water somewhere to go.) Add enough soil so your plant will sit comfortably without spilling over the top.Step 3: Treat your plant kindly while removing it from its old pot: tilt it sideways or upside-down and gently grip the stems, then tap its bottom until it slides on out. If the roots aren’t too tight this should be nice and easy, though you may need an extra wiggle or two to help.
Step 4: Once it’s out, gently loosen the plant’s root ball (i.e. the main mass of roots below the stem). Untangling it a little (and snipping any roots that look mushy or sad) will promote new growth and stop it from growing back in on itself. Step 5: Time for your plant to move into its new abode! Place it upright in the centre of the pot and scoop potting mix around it so it’s nice and snug. Pat the mix down with your hand to keep it secure – but make sure it’s not too tight, because the roots need space to breathe.
Step 6: The last step? A celebratory drink for both you and the plant. While your tipple of choice may be some bubbles or even a nostalgic spider, all your floral friend wants is a sip of water. This helps settle the soil and make life in its new digs a bit more comfortable.
Illustrations by Ashley Ronning
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