Growing plants in pots require potting soil, but it may be quite costly. So, we looked at how often soil has to be changed. You’ll be able to save money, time, and effort by doing this for the house plants too.
Based on how quickly the plants use the nutrients in the potting soil, you may estimate how long it will last. Understanding when to replace the soil, what sort of material to use, as well as how to change the soil are all important. So, here is a full guide to help you learn how often you should change the soil in houseplants in the United States.
How Often Should You Change the Soil in Houseplants?
Generally speaking, you should replace the soil in the potted plants once every two years. The soil’s quality determines this. You might need to replace the soil with certain fast-growing species after a year.
However, you might not need to replace the soil for many years with plants that develop slowly.
Repotting is necessary for specific situations, such as when a plant has to be moved into a larger container because its old one is too small or if the soil has become too hard. Indoor plants shouldn’t have their soil changed more frequently than once yearly.
When Should You Replace the Soil?
Experts advise using new soil when repotting indoor plants in the spring. Since there is a lot of sunshine at that time, plants will experience tremendous root development, necessitating the use of a bigger container when planting them. Repotting is necessary when:
- When you try and remove the plant, it immediately pops out of its container and seems to have dried up.
- If you water your plant and it drains into the pot’s dish. This means that there are no longer any organic components to hold the moisture.
- The plants aren’t thriving and are beginning to turn a little yellow.
- The touch of the dirt becomes very solid.
- You see a lot of roots coming out of the pot’s bottom drain hole.
When to Replace a Pot?
Use the same container but different soil if you wish to maintain a plant’s current size. Make sure to get a pot that is only an inch or two bigger than the one the plant is presently in if you really want to give it extra space to expand.
Avoid the error of planting a little plant in a container that is too large. The plant will struggle to acquire enough oxygen; without sufficient air, it won’t survive very long.
Simple Steps for Plant Repotting
If you don’t know how to repot your plant in the United States, here is a step-by-step process that you can follow:
1. Take The Plant Out of the Container or Planter It Is Currently In
Your plant will slip out of its present container if you grip it firmly by the leaves or stems while turning it sideways and tapping the bottom of the container. With a few little pulls on the stems’ bases, you may need to assist it a little.
2. Take The Roots Out
Use your hands to loosen the plant’s roots gently. Make careful to keep the stronger roots at the leaf base and cut any extra-long threadlike roots.
If the plant is root-bound, meaning its roots are developing in very small rings around its base, try to untangle them as much as you can before giving them a haircut.
3. Get Rid of the Old Potting Soil
Remove at least a third of the old soil around the plant’s roots. You should give your plant new potting soil or mix because it may have consumed all or part of the minerals in the old mixture as it grew.
4. Add Fresh Potting Soil
New potting soil should be added to the unfilled planter and packed down to eliminate potential air pockets. Before pouring the potting mix, cover the bottom of the planter with lava rocks or something like (rocks, gravel, etc.) if it has a drainage hole.
The idea is to carve out areas for the additional water to collect in and flow away from your plant’s roots.
5. Add Your Houseplant
Make sure the plant is centered before placing it on top of the newly added layer of soil in the planter. Then, pour extra potting soil all around the plant to secure it. You would like the roots to have room to breathe, so avoid packing the planter with too much dirt.
6. Water – and You’re Good to Go!
The potting soil should be evened out, then watered thoroughly. It’s important to remember that a plant that has just been re-potted doesn’t need fertilizer.
Common Mistakes When Changing Soil
When replacing the soil for indoor houseplants in America, there are three errors to avoid:
- Changing the soil too frequently or early: Plants like their homes just as much as we do. They don’t like changes in the soil too often, which can cause them to wilt and die.
- Adding new soil in the incorrect season. To ensure your plant’s success, you must do your study and make the most of the weather’s benefits.
- Replacing the soil as opposed to repotting. It is a big error to remove the soil from the plant while it still has plenty of nutrients and the houseplant is used to it.
The issue with potting mix is that it compacts with time (generally years, but might be months if it’s low-quality), blocking the gaps normally filled with air and water, and preventing the plant from receiving the essential nourishment.
If this occurs, the soil will become hard, making it easy to identify and replace with new dirt.
What Type of Soil Should I Use?
Potting mix is the ideal soil to utilize for your indoor plants. This infertile soil may have a combination of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss. Slow-release and compact fertilizers may also be used in the mixture.
This soil’s delicate texture absorbs just enough moisture while draining away any excess. It permits enough moisture and airflow so the roots can get the soil’s nutrients.
For your houseplants in pots, avoid using garden soil. There could be too much clay in the plant’s soil, holding too much water and suffocating the roots. This might cause root rot in your plants.
Another possibility is that there is too much sand present, which will cause the water to evaporate quickly and prevent the roots of the plant from absorbing the soil’s necessary nutrients and moisture.
Additionally, dangerous illnesses and pests that live in such soil may be present in the garden soil. Your potted plants will suffer as a result of them infesting them.
How Can Outdated Potting Soil be Revitalized?
The houseplants might have used up all the nutrients in the potting soil after a few years. Additionally, the texture might have hardened, rendering it unfit for growing plants.
The old potting soil may be revived and made usable once again for plant growth.
You must first check the soil to ensure it is free of undesired things like old leaves. On a tarp, spread the soil and break it up.
Remove any soil debris, including leaves, roots, and plant pieces. To restore the soil’s delicate and airy texture, make sure to water it well. On the tarp, let the earth air dry.
Solarizing the soil can eradicate any dangerous pests and illnesses that may be present. Cooking the soil in your oven is the most effective technique to achieve this.
Spread the dirt, 4 inches thick, on a disposable tray, dig a hole in the middle of the aluminum foil before covering the tray, and place the tray with the soil inside the oven after preheating it to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
To guarantee that the soil is disinfected, roast it in the oven for a minimum of 30 minutes. The soil must be heated to a temperature greater than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to eradicate all the bacteria and viruses.
Using a plastic bag, you may do the same task without an oven. Use a black (the dark color retains heat better) bag made of plastic, add the potting soil, and then tie the bag up. Place the bag in a clear container and expose it to the sun’s heat for a whole day.
After the soil has baked in the oven or under the sun, you must allow it to cool until it is at room temperature. You need to enhance the soil nutrients after the potting soil has been disinfected. Compost should be added in an equal quantity since that is the best method to accomplish it.
The compost will enrich the potting soil with organic, rich nutrients and microbes. A general-purpose fertilizer may also be added to the soil. Pour 1 gallon of dirt and add a tablespoon of slow-release fertilizer to it.
The potting soil may be used right away for the plants, or it can be stored for future use in a dry, airtight container. You may use the dried potting soil for around six months.
Impacts of Soil Change on Indoor Plants
Changing the soil of the houseplant in America or repotting may be rather stressful for your indoor plant. A conscientious gardener should be aware that, for best results, indoor plants should remain in their cozy nursery environment. But your houseplant may not always profit from this.
We now know that there are a few solid reasons to give the plant new soil, so let’s look at the results of changing your soil in house plants:
Plants Will Start to Grow
You can see a quick improvement in the houseplant’s growth and general health if you replace the soil if it hasn’t produced any new shoots for a while.
Sometimes it simply lacks a lot of fresh, nutrient-rich soil—exactly what the indoor plants need to develop and flourish!
New Foliage and Blooms Will Emerge
Your indoor plant will rapidly develop new, small leaves and sprout miniature blossoms if the soil is changed.
If this occurs, it is obvious that your plant was originally rooted (pun intended) in fresh soil.
It’s Alright If It Stays the Same
In indoor plants that have just had their soil changed, remaining the same is not uncommon.
Even if you alter the soil and anticipate miracles, they could not materialize for various reasons. Perhaps the soil is not all that important to your plant.
Some of the hardest-to-kill species are aloe and devil’s ivy. If they get adequate light and water, they should be able to survive and thrive even without new soil. Therefore, adding additional dirt won’t make much of a difference.
It May Seem to Be Dying
Although it happens extremely seldom, your houseplant may wilt, lose a lot of leaves, or even start to die back a bit if the soil is changed.
If this occurs, it indicates that the plant, which was content with its former soil, was very surprised by the shift. You must be patient in this situation and allow your plant enough time to adapt.
Don’t panic; as long as the houseplant receives enough sunlight and water, the plant will often recover quickly.
If you have a houseplant in the United States, you have to make sure to take of its special needs since every species has different requirements. Now that you know how often you should change the soil in houseplants, make sure to follow the guide, or you might end up with a dead plant.
You may like the following houseplant articles:
- Why Your House Plant is Sticky
- What to do if a House Plant Gets Frozen?
- How to Kill Fruit Flys in House Plant
- Houseplants to Grow From Seeds
- Why Are There Little Flies in My House Plant?
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.