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When To Repot Calathea? (+Step-By-Step Guide)

Calathea is a popular houseplant that comes from tropical regions but is known for being finicky. Calathea is sensitive to repotting, so you should not repot it too often and only when required.

But what is the ideal time to repot calathea? and how can we repot a calathea plant? Let’s find out.

Calathea needs repotting when it gets rootbound, or it is suffering from root rot. Disturbing it otherwise can cause unnecessary stress that will harm the plant. The ideal time to repot Calathea is during spring which is its growing season because the plant will recover quickly from the stress.

If you are growing a Calathea in your house and want to know when to repot it, don’t worry. We will provide all the information about when and how to repot a Calathea plant in this article.


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When to repot Calathea?

First of all, you should repot your Calathea when it is doing well. Since Calathea is sensitive to repotting, it will get stressed after you repot it.

So if you repot an unhealthy Calathea, the extra stress can have a toll on its health. If you have unhealthy Calathea, you must give it time to recover.

Take care of the Calathea and wait for it to recover before you repot it.

The best time repot Calathea is during early spring. Once you repot it, it will undergo a period of stress. After it recovers from the stress, it will start growing.

Avoid repotting in winter as that is when the Calathea goes dormant. The climatic conditions are not ideal for its growth, and the low temperatures will increase the stress level.

Why should I repot my Calathea?

You shouldn’t repot your Calathea whenever you feel like it. Try not to disturb the roots too often. But you should repot your Calathea if you notice:

Now let’s understand why repotting is required in these situations.

A rootbound plant

Calathea root rot

When your Calathea grows bigger than its pot, the roots outgrow the pot, making the plant rootbound.

When your Calathea is rootbound, it will show the following signs:

  • Roots show over the soil surface.
  • Roots come out of the drainage holes.
  • Roots curl up inside the pot.
  • Roots displace the soil.
  • The plant might fall over due to becoming top-heavy.
  • The pot will expand or develop cracks.

If your Calathea becomes rootbound, it will stop growing due to a lack of space and nutrients. You can fix this by repotting your Calathea.


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Do calathea like to be root bound?

Most plants don’t fancy the rootbound state as it stunts the growth of their roots, but some plants enjoy being rootbound for a while as it encourages them to bloom.

Calathea, however, doesn’t enjoy being rootbound. The small pot doesn’t allow space for growth for the roots of the plant. 

So, you should remove your Calathea from its pot and repot it when it gets rootbound.

Root rot

Root rot affects the roots. It can happen due to overwatering or a poor drainage system.

If your Calathea stands on the water for too long, its roots will not get enough oxygen supply and thus start rotting. Root rot can be dangerous and kill your plant, so you need to act fast.

You can treat root rot by repotting your Calathea after removing the affected roots that have started to rot.

Poor soil quality

Preparing the correct potting mix is vital for your Calathea as it needs the perfect balance of drainage and retention.

If the soil quality is poor, it will either retain too much or drain too much water. The Calathea will experience overwatering or underwatering.

To deal with this condition, you will need to repot your Calathea with fresh potting soil that supports drainage and retention.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Is Best For Calathea? (Best Soil Mix For Calathea)

How to repot Calathea?

Now let’s find out how you can repot your Calathea plant. First, you need to gather all the ingredients.

A new pot

The first thing you need is a bigger pot. It should be 2 inches bigger than the previous one.

Don’t go for a pot that’s too big as it can cause overwatering.

The new pot should have drainage holes underneath. If not, make some holes and then plant the Calathea in it.

Fresh potting soil

It is best to prepare fresh potting soil while repotting the Calathea. The old soil might have bacteria or fungus and will not be as nutritious as it had been.

Getting a new potting soil will provide more nutrients to the Calathea and not have any infection.

You can prepare an appropriate potting mix for your Calathea by mixing 50% potting soil and 50% perlite. This will promote both retention and drainage.

  • Gloves
  • Disinfectant
  • Pruners or scissors
  • The plant!

Now let’s discuss the steps.

1. Inspect the plant

Inspect your Calathea plant thoroughly before repotting. Check the undersides of its leaves and all the parts that are usually not visible.

You need to ensure that the plant is healthy. If not, give it some time and take care of it. Repotting a healthy plant will help it to undergo less stress and recover faster.

However, if there’s root rot, you might not be able to give time to the plant and repot it immediately to recover it.

2. Take it out

After you’ve inspected your Calathea, it’s time to take it out.

  • You can squeeze the pot to take the plant out or tilt the pot on one side and then take the plant out.
  • Many people suggest running a knife around the edges of the soil to loosen it up.
  • You can water the plant a day before repotting so that the soil becomes soft, and taking out the Calathea becomes easy.
  • Another way of taking the Calathea out is by holding the plant upside down and gently pulling it out of the pot.

3. Check the roots

After taking the Calathea out of its pot, you must check the roots. In case of root rot, you will need to prune the damaged roots.

Always disinfect the pruners with alcohol before and after using.

Don’t damage the healthy roots in the process, so be careful while removing the damaged ones.

In the case of a rootbound Calathea, you don’t need to touch the roots as it can increase the stress for your Calathea.



4. Repot the plant

Add the potting soil you prepared to the new pot. Fill up around 2 inches of the pot with the soil, and then place your Calathea on it.

Hold the plant in the middle of the pot and add soil from the sides. After adding soil, press it firmly with your hand to fill up all the gaps.

Add some water to help the soil and the plant settle down. You might need to add some more soil after watering.

Watering will reduce the stress of the Calathea but don’t overwater it.

5. Repotting aftercare

After repotting your Calathea:

  • Keep it in a bright spot where it will receive sufficient indirect light for growth.
  • Provide at least 50-60% humidity and warm temperatures to your Calathea.
  • Don’t fertilize the plant until you notice new growth. It can take around a month to notice new growth.
  • Water your Calathea when the top layer of the soil dries up. Don’t keep it thirsty for too long.
  • Spray a neem oil solution on your Calathea once a month.

What happens to your Calathea after repotting?

After repotting your Calathea, it will indeed undergo some stress. This plant is sensitive to repotting, so it will not start growing right after repotting.

Some signs of repotting stress or shock in your Calathea are:

You can help your Calathea recover the stress by providing the right growing conditions to it.

Once the plant gets well, it will start producing new growth. Remove all the old foliage and leaves from your Calathea to let it focus on new growth.

What are the benefits of repotting Calathea?

Repotting the Calathea will be very beneficial for the plant. Here are the reasons.

  • The plant will get more nutrients: If you repot your Calathea with fresh soil mix, the plant will receive more nutrients as the new soil will contain more nutrients than the old one.
  • The roots will get more space: The roots of your Calathea will get more space in a new pot bigger than the previous one.
  • Prevent fungal diseases: The old soil might have fungi, so fresh soil mix will not have the chance of fungal infections. This will prevent fungal infections and diseases.

Final words

Repot your Calathea plant only when it gets rootbound or has any severe diseases such as root rot. Avoid disturbing its roots unnecessarily as it can cause a lot of stress.

After repotting the Calathea, it will show signs of stress like wilted and discolored leaves. You need to provide it with the proper care and wait for it to recover. Avoid repotting when the plant is unhealthy or during the dormant season.

Repot your Calathea during the spring, and you should notice new growth within a month. 


Source: NCBIUniversity of FloridaWikipedia,  Growing Indoor Plants with SuccessAgriculture, and Natural Resources, University of CaliforniaMissouri Botanical Garden.