The Q&A Archives: Repotting Houseplants

Question: I know it is rule of thumb to repot to the next larger size pot. My question is, what would happen if I repot a plant using a much larger pot?

Answer: The answer to your question is "it depends." Sometimes it works just fine, other times the plant sends all its energy into adding roots first instead of a top. Sometimes it results in root problems if the soil tends to stay wetter than the plant needs it to be. The potting soil breaks down and becomes depleted over time, so up-potting by just one size on an as needed basis enables you to freshen the soil periodically without undue disturbance to the plant. Finally, space becomes an issue. By overpotting the plant is using more precious space and resources than it has to. You may actually even want to control the ultimate size of your plant -- the larger the pot the larger the possible plant!

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