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Re-potting plants in containers

We’re always being asked about re-potting plants growing in containers.

Most plants will grow perfectly well in a container, but the size of the container and the vigour or the plant will determine when and if it will need re-potting or eventually planting out in the garden.

Once the pot and compost become full of roots, plant growth will be reduced. Not always a bad thing but eventually this may lead to the plant looking sick or starting to loose its leaves. You’ll certainly need to pay more care and attention to watering and feeding. January is a good time to check over plants growing in containers, if they’ve become pot bound and the roots completely fill the pot it may be time to re-pot them into a larger pot or even plant them out in the garden.

If re-potting, go for a container just one or two sizes bigger than your existing container. Thoroughly water the plant, carefully remove it from the existing pot. If pot-bound, carefully tease out the main roots and then replant into the new container adding enough fresh compost and firming as you refill the pot. Make sure you replant at the same depth it was growing in the previous pot (i.e. the top layer of compost should only go to the existing soil line at the base of the plant stem you’ll therefore have more new compost under the plant).  Plants that are not yet pot pound, can remain in their existing pots for at least another year but they will benefit from top-dressing. Carefully scrape off the top inch or so of compost and replace it with fresh compost. For best results, add some controlled release fertiliser, available from our garden centres.