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​Sizing It Up

​Sizing It Up

Posted by PlantLady on 16th Sep 2021

Plant chores can be, well, a chore, but it can also pop out little surprises- like that really funky container you set aside as a special project to treat yourself with but forgot about in the melee of everyday life. My funky container is lemon yellow with gingko reliefs and it’s calling for my Bird of Paradise. But I’m not yet convinced that the plant is ready for the pot.

Let's look at pot sizing together, shall we?

Typically, when plants are ready to get moved up, you’ll know: it will seem like you are constantly watering the same plants and they won't give you a break (maybe they’re even turning a little yellow in between your fertilizing regime). Granted, some plants will drink faster than others, and some plants will naturally want more moisture, but when the roots take over the pot, they will be more needy than usual- they want water and food and their current conditions are not providing enough. If this seems to be the case, you can gently pull the plant from the container to take a look at the roots- if they are taking up most of the pot, and there is little to no extra soil falling away from the roots, it’s time to move up.

But if your plant isn’t being obvious about needing a larger pot, here are a few things to consider when you are pondering a repotting:

-How big is the new pot compared to the current root system? Typically, you only want to move a plant up into a container that is one size, or 1-2 inches, larger than its current pot. Potting up when the container is too big and the root system too small can lead to the dreaded root rot and other plant health problems.

-What season is it? Is it Spring or Summer and your plants are flexing their roots right out of their pots? Or is it Fall or Winter and your plants are being lazy for the season?

-How heavy handed are you with the water? Plants like a good soak now and then…but not when the roots can’t drink it fast enough to prevent root rot.

In my case...

Sadly, my Strelitzia is not ready to move up into my funky ginkgo pot. My current pot and my new pot are close in size, but there is a lot (I mean A LOT) of loose soil in the current pot, so there is plenty of room for my Bird of Paradise to continue thriving. And... since I like to keep everything low maintenance, I’m going to stick with what is working for me now.

So, should you size up or stick with it?

-If your plant looks and acts happy, wait to repot in a larger container until spring or early summer. (I know that new container is calling your name but wait if you think the plant might suffer.)

-If your plant acts like it’s always thirsty and hungry, you can repot in a slightly larger size at any time, just keep in mind the rate of growth for your plant type and season and be careful not to overwater.

My Dracaena on the other hand...hmmm, I think Dracaena and ginkgo relief could look really good together...

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