I LOVE houseplants. I look around my house and majority of my home decor is a houseplant. Houseplants never go out of style. Being in the design industry since I was 15 years old I think I am a little jaded, honestly I just got tired of things quicker. But not my houseplants. It brings me so much joy to see new growth because of the care I put into a houseplant. It is like a child learning something new, but like 99% easier than teaching a child something new. Ha! One of the most asked questions I have been getting lately is “Do you fertilize your houseplants?” So I thought I would write a short post about when I fertilize my houseplants (hint it is now) and when is a good time to repot your houseplants!
PS- I wrote a HUGE blog post all about Houseplants HERE that will answer all of your other questions on Houseplants!
If you did not know already- Houseplants are so good for the air in your home. Houseplants can help to purify air and reduce harmful particulates in the air, as they absorb carbon dioxide to photosynthesize fresh oxygen. Some houseplants are better at purifying the air than other plants, but you can’t go wrong with bringing in a houseplant. I even read somewhere that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide, including a long list of VOCs). Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics, pesticides and cigarette smoke) and formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent, fabric softener and carpet cleaner) are examples of common indoor VOCs that plants help eliminate. CRAZY! PS- good reminder to check the products you are brining into your home that they do not have Benzene or formaldehyde!!!
The reasons to repot a houseplant would be- #1- the plant is larger than the pot. #2- the roots are coming out of the top of the soil. The BEST time to re-pot is in the spring or summer (or honestly I have done it all though the year- IF I do it inside. You don’t want to take your plants out to repot in the cold. Another reason why a houseplant might die soon after bringing it home in the winter- it went into shock).
Repotting Steps and Fertilizing Houseplants
- Choose a slightly larger pot than your plant or the original pot
- If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes add some rocks to the bottom so then roots don’t sit in water (and with no drainage hole you have to be extra careful to never overwater, water in small amounts)
- Clean the new pot. Pots can accumulate minerals or other debris that can hinder plant growth.
- Put a few inches of soil in the new pot so the roots have something to grab onto
- Take out the plant from the original planter and break up the roots and base (gently). Doing this will make sure your plant takes to its new pot. If you notice any fungus make sure to try to clean it off.
- Repot in a mixture of potting soil, Perlite and fertilizer. I use about 4-1 ratio of potting soil to perlite. So if you have 1 cup of new potting soil I would mix in 1/4 cup of Perlite. (See image below, make sure to mix all that together).
- Perlite is formed when volcanic mineral rock is heated quickly causing it to expand and explode.The principal value of perlite in any potting medium is providing aeration and improving water drainage (you can find some HERE).
- Fertilizer is food for your plants. I only fertilize in growing months- Spring or Summer. The fertilizer I use is called Trash Can, it is derived from 30% food waste, free of chemicals (you can find it HERE). There are instructions on the packaging on how much fertilizer to add. As an example For a 12″ pot you would use about 4 tablespoons of Trash Can Fertilizer.
- After I plant my houseplant in the new soil mixture I top it off with some soil and water!
Above you can see how I added fertilizer to a houseplant that I was not ready to repot yet. The pot was about 8″ across and high so I added in about 2 tablespoons of the Trash Can Fertilizer and stirred it into about 1″ of the top part of the soil (gently, so I didn’t break up and roots). Then I watered the plant. Easy as that! If I had fertilized the start of Spring I could do it again in about 3-4 months, because it is the growing season.
I did grab THIS new book on Houseplants and I love how it is written! I have referred to it several times. Plus is just looks cute on your coffee table! I also use my Thieves everyday plant-based all-natural cleaner. This is the only cleaning product I use in my home and a lot of you use it too! But you can also use it on your houseplants!! I have been spraying the leaves when I water my plants and the soil. 85% of all plant issues are fungal-related. Many pests and fungus can really hinder your gardening from growing and flourishing! Thieves naturally kills the fungus🌿 it’s pretty amazing. (one bottle of thieves concentrate is $22 at wholesale, if you are interested in learning more about it you can google it or follow me on @nestingwell that is also where I share about that diffuser on my counter and ditching candles).
Click on an image to shop plants-
I do buy a lot of my plants at Home Depot, it is right by our home and has affordable plants! Or I also buy a lot of my favorite plants at The Sill. I love their pots and cute plant accessories too. If you do buy a plant from The Sill I would look into becoming a member, because you get free shipping all year! (the shipping used to hold me back from sending gifts from there or buying for me! Amazon has jaded us all:)).