5 Reasons Your Plants Die After Repotting

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Many plant owners struggle with keeping their plants alive after repotting them. In this video by J from Plant Corner, he shares the five most common reasons why plants die after repotting and offers tips on how to prevent it from happening.

With spring approaching, it’s important to know how to properly repot your plants to ensure their survival.

J explains that one of the main reasons plants die after repotting is because they were repotted too early. This can happen when a plant is moved from one environment to another and hasn’t had time to adjust.

Additionally, if a plant hasn’t filled up its current pot with roots, moving it to a larger pot can cause suffocation and root rot. J recommends waiting until the plant has fully adjusted to its new environment and has filled up its current pot before repotting.

Key Takeaways

  • Repotting too early can cause plants to struggle to adjust to their new environment.
  • Keeping the same watering schedule after repotting can suffocate plants.
  • Choosing the right pot size, handling roots with care, selecting the appropriate substrate, and repotting frequency are all important factors to consider when repotting plants.
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Common Repotting Mistakes

Repotting a plant can be a daunting task, especially for those who are new to gardening. However, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to the death of the plant. Here are some of the most common repotting mistakes that people make:

  1. Repotting too early: This can happen in two ways. Firstly, if the plant has just been moved from one environment to another, it may not have had time to adjust to its new surroundings. Repotting it too soon can cause additional stress for the plant, making it difficult to adjust to the new pot and soil. Secondly, if the root system has not filled up the current pot, repotting it into a larger pot can cause the roots to suffocate due to excess soil and water.
  2. Keeping the same watering schedule: Before repotting, the plant is usually in a small pot and the soil is dry. After repotting, the new soil can hold more water, causing the plant to suffocate if the same watering schedule is maintained. It is recommended to reduce the amount of water and frequency of watering after repotting to allow the plant to adjust to its new pot and soil.
  3. Choosing a pot that is too big: While there are exceptions, most people tend to water the whole pot, saturating the soil when a pot that is too big is chosen. This can create an environment that is easily infected, leading to the death of the plant. It is recommended to choose a pot based on the size of the root ball, not the current pot diameter.
  4. Damaging the roots during repotting: Ripping apart or cutting the roots can cause wounds that can lead to bacterial or fungal infections. It is important to let the wound dry off or sanitize it before repotting.
  5. Choosing the wrong substrate: Some plants require well-drained soil, while others prefer soil that holds more moisture. Choosing the wrong substrate can lead to infections and the death of the plant. It is recommended to add soil amendments like perlite, bark, or coarse sand to make the soil fluffier and well-drained.

Understanding Repotting Timing

Acclimation Period

One of the most common reasons why plants die after repotting is because they were repotted too early. This can happen in two ways: first, when the plant was just moved from one environment to another, such as when a customer buys a plant from a store or greenhouse and takes it home without giving it time to adjust to its new environment. Second, when the plant hasn’t fully filled up its current pot with roots yet and is moved into a bigger pot with too much soil and water. This can cause the roots to suffocate and the soil to remain wet for too long, leading to root rot and bacterial or fungal infections.

Root Growth Assessment

Another reason why plants may not do well after repotting is due to keeping the same watering schedule. Before repotting, the soil in the plant’s current pot is most likely dry and not holding much water anymore, so the plant may require more frequent watering. When the plant is moved to a new pot with more soil that holds more water, keeping the same watering schedule can cause the plant to suffocate and lead to root rot. To prevent this, gradually reduce the amount of water and water only until the top soil is moist and then wait for it to dry out before watering again.

Choosing the wrong pot size can also cause problems after repotting. When a pot is too big for the plant, the soil can hold too much moisture, leading to infections and suffocation. To choose the right pot size, take the plant out of its current pot and assess the size of its root ball. If the roots are compact, a slightly larger pot may be used, but if the plant has just gone through root rot and had to trim some roots, a smaller pot may be better.

Lastly, choosing the wrong substrate for the plant can also cause issues after repotting. Some plants like to dry out between watering, and using a substrate that holds too much moisture can lead to infections. Adding soil amendments like perlite, bark, or cine clay can make the soil fluffier and well-drained, reducing the chance of infections.

Watering Adjustments Post-Repotting

When repotting a plant, it is important to make sure that the plant is given the proper care to adjust to its new environment. Here are some common reasons why plants may not be doing well after being repotted and how to prevent them:

  1. Repotting too early: If a plant is moved from one environment to another and then repotted without being given time to adjust, it may struggle to adapt to multiple changes at once. Additionally, if a plant is repotted before its root system has filled up the current pot, it may become suffocated in a larger pot with too much soil and water, leading to root rot and other infections.
  2. Keeping the same watering schedule: Before repotting, a plant may require more frequent watering due to its small pot and depleted nutrients. However, after being repotted into a larger pot with more soil that holds more water, keeping the same watering schedule can lead to suffocation and root rot. To prevent this, gradually reduce the amount of water given to the plant after repotting and allow the topsoil to dry out before watering again.
  3. Choosing a pot that is too big: While there are exceptions, choosing a pot that is too big for a plant can lead to excess moisture in the soil and make it more prone to infection. To determine the appropriate pot size, take the plant out of its current pot and choose a pot that is slightly larger than the root ball.
  4. Damaged roots during repotting: Ripping apart or cutting roots during repotting can create wounds that are susceptible to infection. To prevent this, allow the wound to dry out or sanitize it before repotting.
  5. Choosing the wrong substrate: Different plants require different substrates, and using the wrong one can lead to poor growth and infection. Adding soil amendments such as perlite, bark, or coarse sand can help improve drainage and prevent fungal and bacterial infections.

Choosing the Right Pot Size

Avoiding Oversized Pots

One of the common reasons why plants die after repotting is because of choosing pots that are too big for the plants. When a pot is too big, it holds too much moisture, creating an environment that is easily infected. To avoid this, it is recommended to take the plant out of the current pot and assess the root ball size. If the roots are compact and there are many of them, the pot size can be slightly increased, but not too much. If the plant has gone through root rot, it is best to reduce the pot size to prevent further infection.

Assessing Root Ball Size

Another reason why plants may not do well after repotting is when they are repotted too early or too late. If the plant has not filled up the current pot and is moved to a bigger pot, it may get suffocated. On the other hand, if the plant is moved too soon after being brought home from the store or greenhouse, it may not have had time to acclimate to its new environment. In both cases, the plant may struggle to adjust to multiple changes all at once.

To prevent this, it is recommended to assess the root ball size before repotting. If the roots are not filling up the current pot, it may be best to wait a little longer before repotting. When repotting, make sure to handle the roots carefully to avoid damaging them. Any cuts or wounds should be allowed to dry off or sanitized well before potting the plant into a new substrate or pot.

Handling Roots with Care

When repotting a plant, it is important to handle its roots with care. There are five common reasons why plants may die after being repotted.

Firstly, plants may be repotted too early. This can happen when a plant has just been moved to a new environment, such as when it is purchased from a store or greenhouse. Repotting too early can cause the plant to struggle as it tries to adjust to multiple changes at once. Additionally, if the plant’s root system has not yet filled up its current pot, repotting it into a larger pot can suffocate the roots and cause root rot.

Secondly, keeping the same watering schedule after repotting can also harm the plant. Before repotting, the plant is likely in a small pot with dry soil. After repotting, the new soil may hold more water, causing the plant to suffocate if it is not given a chance to dry out in between watering. To prevent this, gradually reduce the amount of water each time you water the plant and allow the top soil to dry out before watering again.

Thirdly, choosing a pot that is too big for the plant can also cause problems. When the soil in a large pot is completely saturated, it can create an environment that is easily infected by fungi or bacteria. To avoid this, choose a pot size based on the size of the plant’s root ball.

Fourthly, roots can be damaged during the repotting process. Ripping or cutting the roots can create wounds that are susceptible to infection. It is important to allow the wound to dry or sanitize it before potting the plant in new soil.

Lastly, choosing the wrong substrate for the plant can also cause issues. Some plants prefer well-draining soil, while others prefer soil that holds more moisture. Adding soil amendments such as perlite, bark, or clay can help make the soil fluffier and more well-drained.

Selecting the Appropriate Substrate

Soil Density and Drainage

Choosing the right substrate for your plant is crucial for its survival after repotting. Soil density and drainage are important factors to consider when selecting a substrate.

If the soil is too dense, it can cause the roots to suffocate and become infected with bacteria or fungi. To improve soil density and drainage, soil amendments such as perlite, bark, or cinder clay can be added to make the soil fluffier and well-drained. This allows air to flow through the soil and reduces the chance of infection.

Reusing Old Soil

Using old soil to repot a plant can also be harmful to its health. If the old soil contained harmful bacteria or fungi, it can still be present and cause further damage to the plant.

It is important to change the substrate and use fresh soil to prevent any harmful bacteria or fungi from infecting the plant.

Additionally, not all plants need to be repotted every year. Repotting should only be done when the roots have outgrown the pot or when the substrate needs to be changed due to root rot.

Remember, selecting the appropriate substrate is essential for the health and survival of your plant after repotting.

Take into consideration the soil density and drainage, and avoid reusing old soil to prevent any harmful bacteria or fungi from infecting the plant.

Repotting Frequency and Plant Needs

Signs Your Plant Needs Repotting

There are several signs that indicate your plant needs repotting. One of the most common signs is when the roots have outgrown the current pot and there is no more room for them to grow.

This can cause the plant to become root-bound, which can stunt its growth and lead to poor health. Other signs include the soil drying out too quickly, the plant becoming top-heavy, or the roots growing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

Exceptions to Repotting Frequency

While it is important to repot your plant when necessary, there are some exceptions to the recommended repotting frequency.

For example, some plants do not need to be repotted every year, as their root systems are small and fine enough to continue growing happily in their current pot.

Additionally, if a plant has recently experienced root rot or other types of damage to its roots, it may be best to reduce the pot size to prevent further damage.

It is also important to choose the right substrate for your plant, as using the wrong type of soil can lead to poor health and even death.

For example, plants that prefer well-draining soil, such as succulents and snake plants, should be planted in a substrate that allows for adequate drainage.

Adding soil amendments like perlite, bark, or cinder clay can help make the soil fluffier and more well-drained, reducing the risk of fungal or bacterial infections.

Enhancing Soil with Beneficial Fungi

One way to help plants adjust better to their new pot is to add a beneficial fungi called mycorrhiza to the soil. This fungi forms a network with the roots of the plant, helping to transport nutrients and water more efficiently.

By enhancing the soil with mycorrhiza, plants can better adapt to their new environment and have a greater chance of thriving after being repotted.

In addition to mycorrhiza, it is important to choose the right substrate for the plant.

Some plants, such as succulents and snake plants, prefer a well-draining substrate that allows them to dry out in between watering.

Adding soil amendments like perlite, bark, or zeolite can help make the soil fluffier and more well-drained, reducing the chance of fungal or bacterial infections.

It is also important to repot plants at the right time and with the right size pot.

Repotting too early, before the plant has had a chance to acclimate to its new environment or before the root system has filled up the current pot, can cause the plant to struggle and potentially die.

Choosing a pot that is too big for the plant can also lead to overwatering and suffocation of the roots.

Finally, it is crucial to handle the roots carefully during the repotting process to avoid damaging them and causing root rot.

Sanitizing any wounds or cuts on the roots can also help prevent bacterial or fungal infections.