Philodendrons are hardy and low-maintenance plants that are hard to go wrong with. When you have a houseplant, it will require repotting. The same goes for your philodendron. Although the plant doesn’t require much care, it will require repotting to remain healthy. Now the question is when to repot your philodendron? Let’s find out.
You need to repot your philodendron if you notice that the roots are coming out of the pot’s drainage holes or poking out of the pot’s soil. You might need to repot even when leaves of the plant turn yellow, the plant looks bigger than its pot, or your philodendron is losing many leaves.
Even if there is no problem, you must repot the philodendron once every 2-3 years to improve the soil quality. The best time to repot your philodendron is between late spring and early summer.
Now let’s understand the nitty-gritty of repotting your philodendron.
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When to repot philodendron?
You might know how to repot your philodendron but understanding when to repot it can be confusing, especially for a beginner.
Your philodendron might lose its luster even when you take care of the plant correctly. Don’t worry. The philodendron might just require repotting, and it will start looking healthy and fresh again.
You must repot the philodendron every 2-3 years even when everything seems perfect. Let’s find out why.
The soil becomes acidic over time
Philodendrons like the soil to be slightly acidic soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. If you don’t repot the philodendron for a long time, the soil can become more acidic than the suitable acidity for the plant.
More acidity will increase the toxicity of the soil, and such soil will not be able to provide the required nutrients to your philodendron.
Regular watering can wash away the nutrients from the soil and reduce the nutrient holding capacity of the soil over time. This is natural and not a problem. But the only solution to this is repotting.
Repotting your philodendron in a fresh soil mix will give a boost of nutrients to the plant that will rejuvenate it and help it stay healthy and grow fast.
Also read: What Type Of Soil Does A Philodendron Need? (Best Soil Mix)
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Roots of the philodendron are coming out of the drainage holes
If roots of your philodendron are coming out of the drainage holes, it is a clear sign that your philodendron requires repotting. Do you know about the root-bound condition of a houseplant?
When your plant grows bigger than its pot, it becomes root-bound. In this condition, the roots don’t get the space for further growth, so they start emerging out of the drainage holes due to a lack of space.
The roots don’t have any way out other than the drainage holes, so they choose this space to spread themselves.
Repotting the philodendron in a bigger pot with enough space for the growth of roots will solve this problem.
Roots are bundling up inside the soil
You may find a root-bound plant at different stages. Other than the roots coming out of the drainage holes, you may notice the roots forming a bundle.
You will need to take the philodendron out of its pot to check the severity of a root-bound philodendron. If the plant is severely root-bound, you will have difficulty taking it out of its pot.
The roots become packed up with absolutely no space inside the pot. You must not be harsh while pulling the plant out of its pot, as that can cause severe damage to your philodendron.
You must be gentle while taking the plant out. If nothing works, you might need to break the pot.
But once the plant is out of the pot, you will notice that the roots are tightly packed with no space even for good air circulation. This is high time to get a new and bigger pot for your philodendron and repot it in that.
Leaves are turning yellow
There can be various reasons behind yellowing leaves on your philodendron. However, if the reason is either root rot or a root-bound plant, it will need repotting.
When you overwater your philodendron, its leaves start turning yellow as the roots get suffocated due to the excess water and fail to function correctly. Lack of photosynthesis makes the leaves yellow.
If your philodendron has root rot, it can give out signs through yellow leaves. If there is medium to severe root rot in your philodendron plant, repotting is the only way out.
Repotting in a fresh soil mix inside a new pot with drainage holes will give the plant a new chance. However, you must prune the affected roots and leaves before repotting the plant.
In a root-bound philodendron, the leaves can turn yellow due to a lack of nutrients. When the roots struggle for space, they fail to absorb enough nutrients or water from the soil.
The roots of a root-bound philodendron can also displace the soil to make space for themselves, due to which the soil is not able to make up for the nutrient requirement of the plant.
All these reasons can make the leaves of your philodendron yellow, and you must repot the plant as soon as possible to fix the issue.
The philodendron is losing leaves
Losing few leaves or the old ones is natural. However, if the philodendron is suddenly losing many leaves, you will need to inspect the cause behind it.
Sudden loss of leaves is not normal, but this can signify that your philodendron needs to be repotted.
This can happen if you have an under-fertilized philodendron. Either you have not provided sufficient fertilizer to your philodendron, or the soil has lost its ability to hold nutrients, due to which the plant is not getting enough nutrients and losing its leaves.
However, if you want to support your philodendron and stop more leaves from falling off the plant, repot it using a fresh and nutritious soil mix.
The plant looks bigger than its pot
If your philodendron overgrows the pot, it will have an imbalanced look. It will look bigger than the pot it is in.
This is easy to notice, and it can lead to different problems like a root-bound plant, the plant falling over due to more weight on top, etc.
If you want a small plant, you can prune the excess growth above and inside it and keep it in the same pot. However, this can stress out the plant.
But if you want to let your philodendron grow bigger, you need to repot it using a bigger pot that can hold its weight and support further growth.
Slow growth during the dormant period is natural, but if your philodendron is not growing like it used to, you must consider repotting it.
You must first analyze all the aspects, such as checking the plant thoroughly, whether the cultural conditions are well suited for the plant, and then decide if it requires repotting.
A root-bound plant will not be able to grow well. If the soil has lost its capacity to provide nutrients to the plant, its growth will become slow due to the lack of nutrients.
So, it is best to repot the philodendron in such cases to see proper growth in it again.
Also read: Why Is My Philodendron Not Growing? (Causes+How To Fix)
Best time to repot philodendron
The best time to repot your philodendron is during late summer or spring. Spring is when you can see the most growth in your plants. The temperature, light, and other conditions remain ideal for the growth of plants.
Spring is when your philodendron comes out of the dormant state, so it is ready for new growth. If you repot the plant during this time, you might notice a lot of new and healthy growth on the plant.
You can also repot the philodendron during other times of the year if it is necessary.
Winter is a vulnerable time for your philodendron. It can get stressed easily if repotted during this time. This is the reason why it is not suggested to repot the philodendron in winter.
However, if there is no other option left, you can repot your philodendron, but you need to be extra careful and very gentle so that the plant doesn’t get damaged or stressed due to anything.
Try to repot the philodendron in a controlled environment so that the plant is not exposed to the low temperatures during winter. Use room temperature water to water the plant and keep it away from cold drafts after repotting it.
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How do you repot a philodendron plant?
Now that you know when to repot the philodendron let’s understand the process.
Let’s take a look at all the ingredients you will need.
- New pot with drainage holes
- Fresh potting mix that is suitable for the plant
- Pruners or gardening shears
- Watering can
Now let’s get into the details.
Select a new pot. If you have a root-bound philodendron, you must go one size up while selecting a new pot. Try to opt for porous materials such as clay, ceramic, or terracotta to prevent overwatering and support proper airflow.
Prepare a soil mix by taking peat-based soil and adding some perlite to it. This will make the soil light that will not remain soggy as philodendrons don’t enjoy sitting in the water.
- Water your philodendron thoroughly one day before repotting so that it comes out of the pot easily.
- Now, gently pull the philodendron out of its current pot. If the plant doesn’t come out quickly, you can tilt the plant sideways, roll the pot and tap the sides and bottom.
- Be gentle throughout the process, and don’t put too much pressure on the plant. Check the roots of the philodendron. If the roots are crowded or bundled, try to untangle those.
- If you notice damaged roots in case of root rot, prune those. Wash the soil from the roots gently and use disinfectants to sterilize the gardening shears.
- Use the gardening shears or pruners to trim the roots that are rotting. These roots will look unhealthy, have a brown or black color and soft texture. Keep the healthy roots that look white and crisp.
- Prune the affected leaves and stems to reduce the stress of the plant. Since you are pruning the roots, eliminate some foliage even if they look healthy. This will help to maintain balance.
- Now fill the new pot with the fresh soil mix that you had prepared. Leave some space on top of the pot for watering.
- Place the philodendron inside the soil and add soil from all sides to fill up the gaps. However, don’t pack the soil too tight as that will restrict proper airflow between the roots.
- Now take the watering can and water your philodendron thoroughly. Place it in a bright spot with indirect light. Make sure that the light is not too harsh for the philodendron as it can stress the plant.
Note: Wear gardening gloves while repotting your philodendron, as this will protect you from the plant’s toxic sap that can result in skin irritation if it comes in contact with bare skin.
Disinfect the gardening shears or pruners after pruning the philodendron. This will avoid the spread of bacteria or fungi.
Also read: 10 Tips For Growing Philodendron (Most People Miss No.6)
Repotting can be beneficial for the philodendron if you do it at the right time and in the right way. This will not only save your plant from becoming root-bound but also be good for its growth.
However, you must not repot too frequently as that will harm the plant instead of benefitting it. You should use the correct sized pot and the appropriate soil mix for successful repotting.
Repot the philodendron during the spring or early summer months. Try to avoid repotting in winter as that can be very stressful for the plant. Do it if necessary but be extra careful if you are repotting in winter.
Ref: Evaluation of Different Species of Philodendron Under Indoor Conditions, University of Florida, University of Vermont, ScienceDirect, Academia, Wikipedia, Britannica.
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