• Matt Suprunowicz

How to Repot Your Plants


How can we repot houseplants to support root growth?


 

This Lesson Plan is part the Home Module of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Background

When plants reach their full growing potential, their photosynthetic agents -- the leaves -- are probably at their largest. What we often may not notice, and may take for granted, is the life of the plant underground: the roots. While leaves usually have unhindered space to grow upwards, roots may be confined if the plant is growing in a pot, a seed tray, or some other finite space. By repotting your houseplants at the proper time, you can support the further development of their root system, giving them the necessary room for their longevity.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Repot a houseplant

  • Pot a cutting

Academic Vocabulary

houseplant /ˈhousˌplant/ noun. - a plant that is grown inside, often for decoration


Directions

1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:


a houseplant (mature enough to be transplanted) · a pot or container (at least 1 - 2 inches larger in diameter than the original) · small rocks (2 - 3 inches in diameter) · potting soil (amount will vary) · butter knife


2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to repot a houseplant. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.



Using a houseplant rooted in soil:


3. Identify a houseplant that is ready to be repotted. If the leaves of the plant are triple the length of the container (top heavy), it may be time to consider upgrading the plant to a larger pot. Any new growth outward from the center of the plant may also indicate a need for a new container.


4. Gently insert a butter knife between the soil and the pot, and loosen the soil from the edges by dragging the knife all the way around the interior of the pot. This will help remove the plant with ease by alleviating any unnecessary tension.


5. Remove the plant from the pot by grabbing the portion of the plant that meets the soil, and gently pulling the plant out (inverting the entire pot, if necessary -- be careful!). Set the pot aside, and reserve any residual soil.


6. Loosen the exterior roots (those that are visible) with your fingertips by gently pulling them apart from one another. This will allow the roots to latch onto new soil. Observe if the roots of your plant are “matted” (clumped, bound, or overlaid) in any way -- if so, the roots need more room and should be repotted.


7. Fill the larger potting container with small rocks that are slightly larger than the drainage hole (it may be useful to create a drainage hole if one does not exist). Cover the bottom of the container with 1 - 2 layers of rocks.


8. Fill the pot with potting soil until it is anywhere from ½ - ¾ full. Add any supplements (ex. compost) as desired.


9. Create an indent in the center of the soil that matches the size of the root zone of your plant, and insert the plant into the new container. Use additional soil to help stabilize the plant, but do not fill to the top. Water as needed.


Using propagated cuttings:


3. Identify a cutting that is ready to be repotted. The cutting should have newly established roots that are several inches long (at least 3 inches).


4. Remove any debris or slime from the roots. Use your hands, or dip the roots into fresh water.


5. Identify the portion of the plant that will be submerged into soil. For ease, submerge the main root nearly up to the first living leaf node.


6. Fill the potting container with small rocks that are slightly larger than the drainage hole (it may be useful to create a drainage hole if one does not exist). Cover the bottom of the container with 1 - 2 layers of rocks.


7. Fill the pot with potting soil until it is anywhere from ½ - ¾ full. Add any supplements (ex. compost) as desired.


8. Create an indent in the center of the soil that matches the size of the root zone of your plant, and insert the plant into the new container. Use additional soil to help stabilize the plant, but do not fill to the top. Water as needed.


Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Support Root Growth by Repotting Your Plants
.pdf
Download PDF • 628KB

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All