Chinese Evergreens, also called Aglaonema, are stunning houseplants loved by most growers. Since they are slow to moderate growers, you don’t need to repot them after every few months.
But still, a question that comes to everyone’s mind is how often should we repot Chinese evergreens and when is the right time to repot Chinese evergreen.
As a general rule, Chinese Evergreen needs to be repotted every 2 to 3 years as it will get root bound by that time. However, if your plant is overwatered or has root rot, then repotting should be done quickly to save the plant from dying. Spring and summer are the best months for repotting.
This article will dive into every detail about the necessity of repotting, when and how often to repot, and finally, the step-by-step guide to repotting the Chinese Evergreen.
If you have a Chinese Evergreen and it’s been a long time since you repotted, read this article till the end.
Table Of Contents
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Why is repotting essential for a Chinese Evergreen?
Repotting your Chinese evergreen is crucial because of the following reasons:
Repotting will provide fresh nutrients to the plant.
The importance of repotting the plant is to provide fresh soil and nutrients. Over time, the soil gets spent because the plant utilizes the nutrients and minerals or gets washed with watering.
It replenishes the soil and gives the plant fresh nutrients for more vigorous growth. This will act as a booster to increase the plant’s development.
Repotting will give the plant more space to evolve and breathe.
They are slow to moderate growers and take two years to outgrow the pot.
When they become big, they are in dire need of space to grow comfortably. Repotting will save your plant from suffering root-bound problems.
Chinese evergreen cannot remain healthy in compact soil.
You will need to replace the soil if it is too compact due to underwatering. The roots prefer well-aerated, loose, and porous soil for good air circulation, water movement, and drainage.
Repotting can improve water flow.
When the plant becomes rootbound, roots come out of the drainage holes and soil surface. As a result, there occurs a problem with flexible water flow.
The water will not flow out of the holes, and will the plants can’t absorb it due to less amount of soil.
When should I repot aglaonema?
1. Repot when you find your Chinese evergreen rootbound.
The primary reason for repotting a Chinese Evergreen is that it has outgrown its pot. Being a hardy plant, Chinese Evergreen enjoys and tolerates being slightly rootbound.
But when the rootbound condition becomes severe, it begins to affect the growth and development of the plant.
Chinese Evergreen turns rootbound when there is not enough room left for the roots to grow. The overgrown roots take up all the space in the pot. And they grow in a circular motion around the root ball.
The roots start growing out of drainage holes and the soil surface, and you only find roots instead of soil.
When this happens, and you continue neglecting it, the plant struggles to absorb water and nutrients. As a result, the leaves show signs like yellowing or browning; they also become dry and crisp due to a lack of water.
You should not repot your Chinese Evergreen if they recently recovered from any stress.
Also read: Does Chinese Evergreen Like To Be Root Bound? (+Save Rootbound Plant)
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2. Repot when you find your plant facing overwatering or root rot.
Another condition when a Chinese Evergreen badly needs repotting is when it experiences overwatering and root rot.
Various reasons lie behind an overwatered condition – frequent watering, not following a proper regime, watering in winters, poor drainage, etc. All these circumstances can lead to overwatering and root rot.
Indeed Chinese Evergreen likes being evenly moist, but you should never keep the soil soggy. Due to too much water, the roots suffocate and don’t absorb any water or nutrients.
The roots become soft and mushy when they remain in the water for a long time. Once the roots start rotting, they become sensitive to various pests, fungi, and bacteria.
These fungi and bacteria will spread the rotting and increase its risk of death. Whenever you suspect overwatering, fix it at the initial stage. Then maybe your plant won’t reach the state of rotting.
If you suspect root rot, repot to save it from dying.
When is the best time to repot a Chinese Evergreen?
You should not perform repotting at any random time of the year.
For positive results, you should repot during the months of spring and summer. Spring and summer are the best because Chinese evergreens grow actively in these seasons.
Repotting will cause stress and transplant shock. When the Chinese Evergreen faces transplant shock, they can recover quickly in their growing season.
But, if you do it in the winter season, they will take forever to recover.
Some growers recommend repotting in winter because they are resting, and thus their growth and development won’t be disturbed.
But, I would recommend doing it in the growing season because their development already gets disturbed by the rootbound or overwatering states.
Even if the roots are troubled, they will recover quickly from all these situations because they will be growing actively in the spring and summer.
If you want to shift the plant to another pot without bothering the roots, you can do it anytime. Winter or spring won’t matter. But, if your repotting involves disturbing the soil and the roots, you better wait for the arrival of spring.
Just try not to stress the plant after re-potting.
How often should I repot the Chinese Evergreen?
Generally, you should repot them every 2 to 3 years. Within these years, the plant will become mature. Chinese Evergreens are slow to medium growers. Their roots will grow and fill up the container after two years.
However, when you find the urgency to repot, like rootbound or root rot conditions, you have to repot them, whether two years have passed or not.
To understand whether they need repotting or not, focus on the different symptoms they show like yellow and brown leaves, drooping leaves, roots out of drainage holes, etc. These are some signs of root-bound.
For root rot, watch out for yellow leaves, droopy leaves, damp soil, foul smell, heavy container, etc.
Other than any kind of urgency like root rot, you should not repot your Chinese Evergreen if they recently recovered from any stress like lighting, fertilizing, or pest issues.
Allow the plant to recover and then go for re-potting.
What kind of soil does a Chinese Evergreen need?
A well-drained soil that also retains moisture is ideal for a Chinese Evergreen.
You can use peat-based soil, adding some perlite or coarse sand. If you want to make it more porous, you can add some orchid barks.
It will also help in retaining moisture. It is well-aerated and good in Nitrogen, and the plant will love it.
Some recipes for a good soil mix are:
- 30% Potting soil
- 25% Vermicompost
- 25% Cocopeat/Peatmoss
- 20% Perlite
Try any one of the above that seems feasible for your Chinese Evergreen. Remember, the soil must be well-drained, porous, good in moisture retention, and slightly acidic.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does A Chinese Evergreen Need? (+Best Soil Mix)
What is the ideal pot for repotting a Chinese Evergreen?
There are three main factors you need to consider while choosing a pot for repotting your Chinese Evergreen plant:
- Pot size
- Pot material
- Drainage holes
Let’s understand the factors in detail.
Size of the pot
We generally repot to give the plant extra area to grow and breathe. For that, you need to choose a planter that is only 1 to 2 inches bigger than the current one.
Don’t go for the same size or a too big pot. Going for a too big size can be tempting, and you might believe it will preserve your time and money from further repotting. But it will only harm your plant.
A too-big container requires a lot of soil and water, and it results in lengthy damp soil conditions for which the plant will again suffer overwatering or root rot. Thus, go for only 1 to 2 inches bigger pot.
Selecting a porous material pot such as clay or terracotta pots will help to reduce the chances of overwatering and root rot.
It will also reduce the frequency of root disturbance due to rotting. This type of pot wicks away moisture quickly.
You will have to check the soil constantly. The soil also needs to remain moist. Make sure you don’t keep it dehydrated.
Pot with drainage holes
Finally, the container must have drainage holes for flowing out of the excess water.
Some decorative pots don’t have drainage holes. You can drill a hole or use a cachepot with drainage holes.
Take the cache pot out of the main pot when it is time to water. Water the plant well. after all the excess water drains out, put it back to the main pot.
Also read: What Kind Of Pot For Chinese Evergreen? (Pot type, Size, Material & More)
How to repot a Chinese Evergreen – Steps to repot your Aglaonema
For repotting a plant successfully, you should plan a few days before repotting and start the night before doing it.
Wait until the soil dries out completely. Then water the plant thoroughly until the excess water drains out of the potholes. It will ensure the plant doesn’t attach to the pot stubbornly and easily comes out of it.
Next morning, get ready to remove the plant. Place the pot sideways and try pulling out the plant. If it doesn’t come out, tap the sides of the container.
You can use a knife or spatula to poke and loosen the soil from the sides of the pot. If still it’s stuck after so many tryings, you will need to break the container.
After the plant is out, get rid of the old soil from the roots. Remove the maximum amount of soil to inspect the condition of the roots. You can also wash them to have a more clear observation of them.
Check the roots thoroughly. Prune off the brown, black, and mushy roots with a disinfected pruner or knife. Also, remove the yellow or brown leaves as they won’t turn green.
Let the drooping leaves remain because they can bounce back.
Now take the new pot and fill 1/3rd of it with the new potting soil. Position the plant at the center and add the other remaining soil around the plant. Press the soil properly to block air pockets but be gentle.
Water the plant and place it at a spot having bright indirect sunlight. Please don’t keep them under direct sunlight as they are sensitive to it. Water once a week or more for two weeks. Then go back to usual watering.
Don’t overwater it. If you are doubtful of how often you should water, check the moisture level. When the top 1 to 2 inches feels completely dry, you can water the plant.
If all the roots get damaged and need pruning, you can still save your plant.
Cut the dark portions at the base of the plant. Apply some fungicide and root hormone to the cut portion. Applying these will stop fungus attacks due to cutting and help in root growth.
Take a pot filled with river sand. Damp it with fungicide and place the cut plants into it. You will notice new plant roots after 30 to 36 days.
Now follow the above re-potting steps. Add some fungicide to the soil mix to restrict all the chances of fungus attack.
Caution: Wear gloves before dealing with re-potting.
Final words on repotting a Chinese evergreen
There are many plus points about re-potting the Chinese Evergreen. The plant will receive more space, fresh nutrients and improve water flow.
Another is propagation. When you take out the plant, you can cut them to propagate more Chinese Evergreens.
Repot the plants every 2 to 3 years, during the spring and summer. Go for only 1 to 2 inches large container for re-potting after 2 to 3 years. Make sure it has drainage holes.
But in root rot conditions, you might have to re-pot quickly, even if it is not the growing season or 2 to 3 years is yet to complete. Don’t stress the plant after re-potting. Use a terracotta pot to prevent overwatering.
Your plant will recover after two weeks. Don’t do anything wrong within these two weeks. When the plant gets settled, care for the plant like a regular Chinese Evergreen.
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Should I fertilize after repotting?
You don’t need to fertilize immediately after repotting. Because these plants are repotted with new soil, they will have all the nutrients the plant needs. So you can wait for at least 4 to 6 weeks to feed them.
What happens if I don’t repot?
Chinese Evergreens can tolerate slight root-bound conditions. But if you don’t repot them, the Chinese Evergreens will experience severe rootbound conditions and face problems in developing.
They will fight for water and nutrients. If this happens continuously, your plant will start dying.
Reference: Wikipedia, Nasa clean air study, Missouri Botanical Garden, The University of Kansas, NC State University.
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