To repot or not to repot - that is the question!
Spring is here which means that if your beloved plants need a repot then this is the PERFECT time to do it! They will be coming out of their more dormant phase caused by the lower light levels of winter and they will be getting ready to GO LARGE over summer.
So the big question is - how do I know if my plant needs repotting?
As plants get larger they need to anchor themselves more substantially so they grow more roots and create a larger root ball to do just that. So a really obvious sign that your plant has outgrown its current space is that lots of roots have grown out of the drainage holes of its nursery pot. Another sign can be that the plant seems to be pushing itself up & out of its pot and you can see roots poking up through the surface soil.
Even if your plant isn't showing signs of outgrowing its pot, consider how long it has been since your plant last had new soil. Potting soil can breakdown, causing it to lose valuable nutrients. It can also become compacted around your plant's roots over time, meaning it is more difficult for the roots to absorb the water they need to keep the foliage happy. Generally speaking it is therefore sensible to give your plant some shiny new potting mix every 2-3 years as a minimum to keep them thriving.
Some plants do like being root bound, like aloes and spider plants. If in doubt do a quick Google!
Soooooooo - what size pot should I use?
It's important to get the size of the new pot right. We would usually recommend only going up one pot size, the reason being is twofold. One is that your plant is likely to put a lot of its efforts in to creating lots of new roots to fill its new pot - wouldn't we all prefer the energy to go in to lovely new foliage instead? The other is that a much larger pot will hold a lot of potting mix, which when watered will hold moisture for longer. This can therefore cause your plant's roots to be sitting in much wetter soil than is good for it and this can lead to root rot, which will make your plants very sad indeed :(
One pot size is usually a couple of extra centimetres in diameter. So if your plant is currently in a 12cm diameter pot, then choose a 14cm pot. If it's currently in a 14cm then consider a 17cm (16cm are not that common!) and so on :) We would advise using a pot with drainage holes (take a look at our watering blog for the reasons why).
What about potting mix - what's best?
This topic deserves its own blog (it's on our 'to do' list!) but we'll give you a quick run down here.
The type of potting mix which is best depends on the type of plant you want to repot. Cacti and succulents prefer a mix with added grit/sand or perlite, whereas anthuriums love a very chunky mix with coarse bark which is very free draining.
You can simply buy a generic houseplant potting mix which generally speaking will be adequate for most of your plants, or you can get a bit more technical and buy special blends made specifically for certain types of plants, or you can even get DIY on it and create your own blends with individual components.
At Green Velvet we believe in treating your plants to the GOOD STUFF which is why we stock Soil Ninja's premium blends and also their individual components to make your own potting mixes. You can see our Soil Ninja collection here. And if you're not sure which premium blend would best suit your plant then check out Soil Ninja's handy guide here.
A decent enough mix to suit most of your houseplants could be: