Debbie Borthwick
Debbie Borthwick
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  • Canada

How to Re-pot your Houseplants


March & April are the months I re-pot my tropicals. I have quite a few houseplants, well over 100 (it's an addiction, I know) so it takes a while to get them all transplanted. And I don't do all of them every year...I'd like to, but I don't.
Some rules of thumb (green thumb? haha) -
Only go up one pot size when re-potting.
Cover the drainage holes with broken clay pots or I use a coffee filter.
Use a good lightweight potting soil (never soil from your gardens!), and never use soil that comes with fertilizer in it.
Add micorrhiza to the soil and make sure the roots are in contact with it.
Never plant your plants deeper than the pots they start in.
Water well.
Do not use fertilizer for a few weeks after re-potting.
Use aspirin to help weak or stressed plants.
For the full story and more information, visit my blog. http://dewdropgardens.blogspot.ca/2013/04/how-to-re-pot-tropical-houseplants.html
Croton, Rubber Plant, Boston Fern, Staghorn Fern
Croton, Rubber Plant, Boston Fern, Staghorn Fern
After the dormant period during winter, a plant may have lost all it's leaves. Lightly scratch the branch with your nail, if you see green under the bark, it is still alive.
After the dormant period during winter, a plant may have lost all it's leaves. Lightly scratch the branch with your nail, if you see green under the bark, it is still alive.
Remove dead leaves and prune dead and broken branches. (This is a nephthytis)
Remove dead leaves and prune dead and broken branches. (This is a nephthytis)
Pot-bound root ball on the dracaena
Pot-bound root ball on the dracaena
Gently loosen roots so they don't grow around themselves
Gently loosen roots so they don't grow around themselves
Apply a micorrhiza to the roots to help the plant absorb nutrients
Apply a micorrhiza to the roots to help the plant absorb nutrients
Dilute 1 1/2 tablets of 81mg aspirin in 2 gallons of water, use every few days on stressed plants. Misting with this solution is also a good idea.
Dilute 1 1/2 tablets of 81mg aspirin in 2 gallons of water, use every few days on stressed plants. Misting with this solution is also a good idea.
Add moss, bark chips or decorative stone to finish off the planter. I don't always but sometimes it looks good.
Add moss, bark chips or decorative stone to finish off the planter. I don't always but sometimes it looks good.
Variegated Boston Fern re-potted in a hanging basket
Variegated Boston Fern re-potted in a hanging basket
Debbie Borthwick

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Barb
    on Jan 31, 2018

    what to do with a tropical that's already hitting the ceiling in living room
    • Debbie Borthwick
      on Jan 31, 2018

      Depending on the kind of tropical it is, you can prune it so it fits the room. Ficus will prune well, for example. It's hard to give advice without knowing the variety.
      If it is one that won't look good if pruned (like a Norfolk pine), you can donate it to a place that has room, like a seniors' home, mall, office building, garden centre. Or sell it online.
      Another option is to cut it down, like a diefenbachia, cut a section of the trunk and propagate a new plant from that.
      I have given away a few of mine over the years, then get a 4" pot of the same to start all over again. It's amazing how fast they will grow.
      Hope this helps, if you have any other questions or know the kind of plant it is, let me know and I'll be more specific.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Linda Schwartz
    on Apr 17, 2013

    http://www.hometalk.com/debbieborthwick I don't know how long it's been in the pot and it is not flowering now. It came out of someone's trash and I've had it for about a year. The leaves are big but I've never seen it flower so I don't know what kind it is. I've never had an orchid, only other plants.

  • Debbie Borthwick
    on Apr 19, 2013

    Stress it. Move it to an area where it gets less light, don't fertilize, lightly water...stressing will usually cause the orchid to send out flower shoots. Good luck, @Linda Schwartz!

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