When should I repot my houseplants? Is there anything I should know before I start?
A: When your indoor plants start growing again, usually in the early spring when the days become longer, it’s time to give them some attention. Tip the plant out of its container and look at the roots. Have they filled the container? Are they circling? Coming out of the drainage holes? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to move your plant to a larger container.
When potting up, select a container that is only slightly larger. For instance, you would move a plant from a 6-inch pot into an 8-inch pot. Relocating into a much larger container will cause problems including root rot from inadequate drainage.
If the roots look crowded or are circling, try to gently separate them. Extreme circling roots can be trimmed and unwound. Use fresh potting soil and a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote when filling the pot. If using a systemic pesticide, now is a good time to dose with that to get a jump on aphids, mites, and mealybugs.
You may be tempted to put your indoor plants outside once the weather gets warm and sunny. This can result in severe sunburn and, in extreme cases, defoliation (loss of all leaves). Even plants that have been brought inside for winter protection should be gradually acclimated to direct sunlight. Think about your first sunburn of the season — this is how your plant feels when it’s brought outside for too long.