The Q&A Archives: Changing Soil in Containers

Question: How often does the soil in container pots need to be changed? Can you skim about an inch or two of soil & replace with new soil? Do you have to wash the container in a bleach solution? Thank You for you expertise & time.

Answer: Potting soil eventually should be replaced - usually every 3 o 4 years - and the best way to do it is to unpot your plant, brush any loose potting soil off the roots, then add fresh potting soil to the container and replant. I find that plants normally outgrow their containers in 3-4 years so it is easiest to simply plant them in the next sized container, in fresh potting soil. You can clean the old containers with a bleach and water solution then use them for other plants. Skimming just the top inch off the soil and replacing it is not quite the same as replacing the potting soil where the roots are actively growing. Hope this clarifies things for you!

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