Most houseplants need replanting regularly. When and how to carry it out – the question is not as simple as we would like. There are simply no uniform rules for changing the substrate and container for indoor pets. In order to avoid mistakes in such an important matter, you should always remember about the notorious “individual approach”, and provide each species with the ideal frequency and timing of transplantation. It is also recommended to use carefully selected containers, soil mixtures and preparations from a trusted manufacturer, in which any plants will feel ideal.
How to transplant a houseplant?
When to transplant
The answer to this most difficult question for both beginners and experienced flower growers is actually very simple: you need to change the capacity and substrate when the plant itself needs a transplant. Transplanting is a significant stress for any plant. And you should not treat it lightly, as a universal way to solve any problems.
It is easy to determine the optimal timing for transplanting: for all plants it is best to change the soil and containers at the very beginning of active growth, from the end of February to April, or at least during the active growing season.
Not everyone needs annual transplants, and you shouldn’t disturb the plants once again. Most indoor plants, with the exception of bulbous, tuberous and fast-growing young plants, will not be offended if their transplant is postponed up to 1 time in 2-3 years. It is safer to transplant “on demand”, while waiting for the roots to fully absorb the substrate in the pot (thin roots appear on the surface of the substrate and in the drainage holes).
But what about the transplant after the purchase? In the old fashioned way, many are in too much of a hurry to change the soil right away. Even for new plants, it is better to transplant only next spring, in extreme cases – after 2-4 weeks of quarantine and adaptation to a new home, without aggravating the stress from changing conditions. Myths that flowers in shops suffer in some kind of “terrible” substrate are just myths. It is necessary to change the soil only if there really is a justified need for it, with acidification, overconsolidation, the development of mold or lichens.
How to prepare for a transplant
In order not to cause yourself unnecessary trouble with cleaning, it is better to organize the workplace in advance by clearing the table with a film shot. For transplant, you need to prepare:
- container with water;
- a bowl or container for soil;
- a set of tools for indoor plants;
- a sharp knife, scissors or pruner;
- gloves and work clothes;
- cleaning wipes and sponges;
- water for irrigation;
- substrate for plants;
- transplant pot;
- drainage materials.
It is worth preparing in advance both garbage bags and a place where you can wash containers and hands.
How to find a new pot
The size of the pots during transplantation is traditionally increased, but not much, but by 2-4 cm (for fast-growing species – by 4-5 cm) or by choosing the next size of the same model in the series. The pot must correspond to the size of the plant and its rhizome. If the container is too spacious, there will be a risk of waterlogging, acidification, root development to the detriment of greenery and flowering. It is worth keeping the usual proportions, the ratio of the height and width of the pot.
What to do if the dimensions of the container have reached “the limit” and there is simply no way to buy or place an even larger pot on the windowsill? Instead of transplanting, you can simply replace the top layer of the substrate every 4-6 months, avoid interruptions in feeding, or shorten the roots by a third of the length during transplantation (if the species allows).
How to choose the soil
Soil is the habitat of plants, and its quality and condition determine growth, health and resilience.
For any plant, the easiest option is to choose a ready-made, purchased substrate. Most crops can grow in a versatile, air- and water-permeable, nutrient medium with a neutral or nearly neutral reaction. Certain types of plants – cacti, palms, bonsai, citrus fruits, orchids, saintpaulias, rhododendrons – require special soil mixtures.
In the absence of any standards, store shelves are flooded with hundreds of varieties of substrates, and not always of high quality. It is better to be very careful when choosing a soil for planting indoor plants, trusting the best grower with an impeccable reputation. One of the most reliable options – substrates from “Buiskiye Fertilizers”. The nutritious soil of the Flower Paradise series provides a choice of substrates of different composition and characteristics, which will become an ideal medium in texture, nutritional value and pH reaction for the growth and development of a room pet. In such a substrate, even with small misses with leaving, the risk of disease and problems with the plant will be minimal. In such a soil, plants quickly take root and are much more stable.
If you want to be sure of the composition, you can mix the soil yourself, combining different components in the proportions indicated in the recommendations for each type of plant. Compost, decontaminated peat, turf soil, sand are traditional components of soil mixtures, the air permeability and texture of which is regulated by the addition of disintegrants (sand, perlite, vermiculite, sphagnum, coconut soil). It is difficult to control the quality of soil from the garden, so many people prefer to purchase specially prepared components with guaranteed characteristics. Bottom and high-moor peat, the best of organic fertilizers biocompost and bioorganic soil, rich in humic substances and enriched with microbiological additives and providing natural nutrition and protection for plants from “Buisk fertilizers” will allow you to create an ideal soil mixture.
If you want to use non-nutritious soil, it must be disinfected (calcined in the oven or spilled with boiling water), and then enriched. Special ground dressings and long-acting complex fertilizers will create an optimal fertile soil for indoor plants. It is not easy to find a balanced composition of macro- and microelements, but in the “Buysk fertilizers” line there are preparations that provide the ideal content of nutrients in the substrate:
Granular complex fertilizer of long-acting OMU “Tsvetik” enriches the soil with microgranules coated with a biological product with beneficial microorganisms, containing humic substances of lowland peat, macro- and microelements in an optimal ratio. The unique form of the preparation turns each pellet into a unique source of easily digestible and released in safe doses of nutrients necessary for normal plant growth and development.
Convenient to use and powder complex mineral fertilizer – “Universal soil dressing”, containing both the main macronutrients and all trace elements necessary for indoor plants.
To obtain 5-7 liters of nutrient substrate, a standard package of OMU “Tsvetik” is sufficient, and a soil dressing – 20 g per 20 liters of substrate, which must be evenly mixed into the soil before planting.
How to transplant
The simpler the procedure, the less trauma and even contact with the roots, the easier and faster the plant will be able to adapt to the new capacity and resume growth. For the vast majority of indoor plants, transshipment is preferable – a transplant with complete preservation of the earthen coma around the roots, in which only contaminated soil is removed from the top layer and easily crumbling soil on the sides. “Expose” the roots, and even more so to wash them from the old soil, is only when decaying or for corms.
Simple rules to help you avoid mistakes:
- It is necessary to water the plants not before transplanting, but several days before so that the soil is slightly moist. If the plant needs pruning, this is also done before transplanting. Dry and damaged leaves are removed just before changing the pot.
- A drainage layer must be poured onto the bottom of the new container. Expanded clay, shards, small pebbles, in extreme cases – foam or other substitutes for expanded clay are poured with a layer of at least 2-3 cm, and better – from 5 cm to 1/3 of the height of the container. Drainage is covered with a layer of substrate.
- Plants are gently grasped by the hand, holding them carefully, as close to the base as possible, and removed by pulling slightly. If the root ball does not slip out of the pot, gently tilt it on its side or turn it over by tapping on the bottom. In extreme cases, you can carefully, with special tools or not with a sharp (table) knife, walk along the walls of the pot and repeat shaking out.
- The extracted plants must be carefully examined. Unusual and unpleasant, “moldy” odor, signs of decay on visible roots or infestation with soil pests (nematodes, root mites) require a change in the transshipment plan and careful removal or washing off of the old substrate so that the damaged areas can be cut and processed. Ideally, the roots should be white with no spots or blotches.
- The loose roots are carefully straightened, and the whole root ball is set exactly in the center and trying to maintain the same planting depth. If necessary, pour the substrate under the plant, then carefully filling all the voids with fresh soil. The soil is lightly tamped with your fingers.
The transplant does not always end with abundant watering. For succulents and cacti and species prone to rot, watering is postponed for 2-3 days.
How to care for a plant after transplanting
In order for the plant to quickly adapt and start growing, it is necessary to “soften” the conditions – to provide medium, soft lighting, temperatures and humidity (but without violating the requirements of the species). A diffused or semi-shaded place, high air humidity, very careful irrigation without extremes and mild cool-room temperatures – this is the ideal that you should strive for.
After 3-7 days (or when signs of growth appear), the plant can be returned to standard watering and to a permanent place. There is no need to rush with fertilizing: they are renewed only after 4-6 weeks, when the plant uses the reserves of nutrients in the substrate. Correctly selected fertilizers must match the characteristics of the plant. After all, blooming stars have their own requirements for the balance of substances, and deciduous ones have their own. In order for the plants to receive ideal feeding during the period of active growth, choose a fast-acting, effective complex fertilizer of the Blooming Paradise series containing readily available forms of macro- and microelements. Their composition is ideally suited to the requirements of each type. And thanks to the variety of species, not only flowers and decorative deciduous plants will receive their optimal fertilizers, but also orchids, cacti and succulents, conifers, palms, violets, roses, citrus fruits, rhododendrons – crops with special requirements for feeding.