While most people recognize that timing is everything for outdoor plants, they often overlook that repotting is often best done at certain times of the year
Having said that, some indoor plants do just fine when repotted during the winter months. If your plant appears to be root bound or having other difficulties such as root rot, do not allow the time of year concern you. Waiting for certain seasonal changes should not trump what the plant needs.
What Month Is Best To Buy Indoor Plants?
Purchasing new plants in May or June helps to set you up for success.
Experts recommend buying new plants in the spring. Spring and summer are the time of year when plants grow and thrive, thus making it an easier time of year for your plants to acclimate to their new environment.
It is also worth noting that in warmer climates, new plants continue to thrive well into autumn, so fall could also be a good time to buy. Of course, if you see a plant that seems to be calling to you, you don’t have to wait, regardless of where you live. Just be extra careful if you are traveling with a tropical plant like Monstera on a winter day. It does not take a lot of cold exposure to harm some plants.
What To Do Before Buying New Plants
There are some things you should research prior to choosing a new plant. You want to be certain you are able to fulfill the needs of the plant. Things to look into include:
Care: Prior to choosing a new plant, research the plant care to ensure you have the space, time, and knowledge needed to care for the plant. There are many aspects of plant care to consider beyond water and sun—and even those can be complex for some plants!
Health: Inspect the new plant for pests to make sure you are not bringing any type of pest infestation into your home.
Lifespan: Find out how long the plant typically lives. Some plants die at the end of a season and the owner needs to do some work to propagate the plant in order to enjoy it another year.
Light Requirements: Plants thrive on different light levels. Make sure you can meet those needs based on the windows or lighting in your home.
Size: How big does the plant get? How fast does it grow? Choose a plant whose needs you can meet. Don’t pick a plant that grows rapidly and gets quite big if you live in a small apartment.
Toxicity: Do you have animals or small children in your home? If so, check the toxicity of the plants you are considering.
Water: It can be a delicate balance making sure your plant gets enough water without overwatering it. Someone who travels a lot for work may want a plant that only needs to be watered every couple of weeks. There are even plants that only need monthly watering.
How To Acclimate Plants To Their New Home
Plants can be purchased from a variety of places such as a garden center, home improvement store, and sometimes even at grocery stores. Plants are sometimes split or propagated from a friend which is a lovely way to share a favorite plant.
Once you get your new plant home, there are some things to do to help it acclimate:
Does it need water? Don’t assume it does. Stick your finger into the soil. If you feel moisture, don’t water.
Sometimes people are quick to repot a plant into something that matches their home decor. Wait a few days to do this as repotting adds stress to the plant. If you do choose to repot, don’t automatically put it into a larger pot as some plants prefer to be rootbound.
When purchasing a plant from a nursery or garden center, ask an employee if the plant needs food or fertilizer soon.
Choose a spot for your new plant that will meet its needs for light. Some plants need direct sunlight while others need far less light. If you purchased a plant from a grocery store where it was under artificial light, you may want to move it toward a natural light source slowly so it doesn’t experience shock.
Tips for New Plant Owners
Maintaining Humidity Levels
If the plant you are purchasing flourishes in higher humidity than your house provides, you can use a humidifier to raise the moisture in the room where the plants will be housed. When leaves start wilting, it is often a result of too dry air, which can also be remedied by misting the plant. You can also put a tray filled with rocks and water at the bottom of the pot that will evaporate and add humidity to the area.
Watering Your Plants
Some people prefer to use a watering can with a spout that makes it easy to water plants that are hanging, on high shelves or at unusual angles. Some plants, like African violets, don’t like wet foliage. You can bottom water these plants by placing them in a saucer filled with water for about 30 minutes. They’ll absorb water through the pots drainage holes and up into roots. Plants that like slow gentle waterings, like orchids, can also be watered by putting a few ice cubes on top of the soil.
Finally, some plants like spider plants, peace lily, Dracaena, and prayer plants can be sensitive to the chemicals in tap water. Use distilled or filtered water, or collect rain water to water these plants.
Feeding Your Plants
Eventually, most plants need food also called fertilizer. Research the type and frequency of fertilizer your particular plant needs. In general, houseplants should be fertilized once a month during the growing season.
If you’re bottom watering a plant, just be mindful of sodium build up in the soil and plant to flush the plant with water from the top of the soil every few months.
Repotting Your Plant
While many plants require repotting annually, there are some that can stay in the same pot for 2-3 years. Snake plants, for instance, prefer to be root bound. A snake plant that’s happy and snug in its pot may reward you with an elusive flower stalk once a year!
Once your plant needs fresh soil and repotting, choose a new pot that is the appropriate size. Usually the pot size should only be one size larger than the current pot. Finding the correct potting soil is also important. Succulents and cacti, for example, do best in a well-draining potting mix with lots of chunky organic matter and sand.
Is It Ok To Buy And Repot Plants In Winter?
You can buy and repot plants year round, though most plant experts recommend spring or summer repotting.
There are reasons you may need to repot during other times of the year. Sometimes the plant’s roots simply have outgrown the pot they are in and they need a larger pot. If you accidentally overwater your plant and root rot sets in, the only way to potentially save it is to repot the plant in fresh soil and prune away any damaged roots.
Signs of root rot include yellow leaves, brown leaf tips, mushy brown spots, or a musty odor coming from the soil.
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