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Okay to repot in any season?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2002
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by jak on September 23, 2002 02:55 AM
Is it necessary to wait until spring to re-pot? Many of my plants need fresh and clean soil (not necessarily more room), and I've heard that most prefer to move in spring. (I also plan to steal some offshoots while they're accessible).
These are a variety of strictly indoor plants and might not even be very aware of the seasons.

[ September 23, 2002: Message edited by: jak ]

by Will Creed on September 23, 2002 11:15 AM
Most indoor plants are native to tropical regions where it is warm all year round (just like our homes) and non-seasonal. From that perspective, these plants can be repotted at any time of year. However, in the northern hemisphere the days are shorter in the winter and that means our houseplants receive less light and grow more slowly during the winter. That argues for not repotting in the fall and winter.

More importantly, unnecessary repotting is not a good idea at any time of year. Potted plants do best when their rootballs are 80% roots and 20% soil, i.e., quite potbound.

As long as there enough soil to hold moisture for 3 days or more, then there is no need to repot. Repotting prematurely is the most common cause of plant problems. This is because in a large pot the excess soil retains moisture around the roots for too long and leads to root rot.

As for plants needing fresh soil: A good potting mix will not break down for many years and will have more than enough nutrients for at least a year. After that, a complete fertilizer can be use to replenish the nutrient supply.

I know that it is very satisfying to repot plants. However, it is usually not the best thing for potted plants unless they are badly potbound.

I have written an article on potting plants that I will send to anyone who sends their request to me at

by Bill on September 23, 2002 02:38 PM
Hi Jak,
You can also find my guide to repotting house plants at: Guide to growing and repotting container plants

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