The Q&A Archives: Tansplanting A House Plant

Question: I have a house plant that has grown to a nice size and it no longer fits in its container. I fear it is getting root bound. I would like to know how to transplant it into another container? This is my first house plant and I would love to keep it around for a while.

Answer: Have fresh potting soil and the larger container ready. Gently tap the bottom of the container to remove your plant, or use a bread knife along the sides to loosen it. Don't tug it out of the container which can damage the stem. If the roots are tightly wound around each other, separate them. You may need to cut some of them, or pull a pointed object such as a pencil through the length of the root ball, on all sides, to untangle the roots. You want them loose, so they can spread outwards into the new soil. Then transplant into the new container, keeping the plant at the same level it was in the old pot. Fill in with soil around the plant and gently press it down, but don't squeeze it, which compacts it. Water slowly and deeply to moisten the entire root ball and soil. I don't recommend any fertilizer for a month or so until it has time to get established. Transplanting is a shock to the system, so you don't want to "force" it to grow. Some yellowing or leaf drop of lower leaves is common after transplanting. Good luck!

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