Whether you are new to gardening or you're an expert plant parent, you need to know how to repot your Pilea properly – and why you need to repot it in the first place. The following guide will help you understand more about repotting your plant, including why you should do it, when you should do it, and what mistakes to avoid.
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Why Do I Need to Repot My Pilea?
When you grow a Pilea inside a container, at some point, the plant will eventually outgrow it.
When Pilea outgrows a pot, this causes the roots of the plant to become crowded. Compacted, crowded roots cause stunted growth and may even cause the plant to become root-bound and die.
Here are some signs that your Pilea may be overcrowded:
Roots are growing through drainage holes
Roots are rising above the soil level
Water is running straight through a container
Leaves look sick and unhealthy
Soil feels dry and won’t absorb moisture
More than two years have passed since last repotting
If you see one or more of the above symptoms on your plant, then it is almost certainly time to consider repotting.
However, repotting can be stressful, and shouldn’t be done too often. Your new Pilea does not need to be repotted for over a year after you buy it – it can go up to two years in its original nursery pot, but one year is best for optimal health.
What Are The Benefits Of Repotting?
In addition to helping your plant grow healthy, repotting has other benefits, too.
When you repot your Pilea, you will have an easy opportunity to replace your current soil with new, better soil that can provide your plants with more nutrients.
Old soil is often a target for mold, diseases, and other pests, so replacing the soil in the old pot can be a great way to give your plant a fresh start.
Another benefit to repotting your Pilea is that you will have the opportunity to propagate the babies; this way, each plant will have more room to grow!
Finally, repotting will allow you to place your plant into a new container that looks nicer or otherwise fits in better with the aesthetic of your home.
How Can I Repot My Plant?
In order to repot your Pilea, you will need:
a new container that is larger than the previous pot
a trowel to remove the plant from its current container
scissors (or a sharp knife) to cut excess roots
fresh potting/soil mix
gloves (to keep your hands clean!).
1. Prepare Your New Pot
Choose a pot larger than the previous one so that your plant has more room to grow – it should be 1.5 times the previous size or more. For example: if the original pot diameter was 4 inches, then the new one should be at least 6 inches!
If the new pot is made from terracotta – a great choice for Pilea! – make sure you soak it ahead of time; terracotta pots tend to dry out soil when they aren’t adequately soaked, so this is something you will want to avoid.
2. Add A Base Layer Of Soil To The New Pot
Before you start working on taking the plant out of the old pot, you'll need to put down a base layer of soil into the new pot. This will give the plant roots space to grow.
It's important not to add too much soil to this base layer, as otherwise, the plant won't be able to fit inside the pot.
Make sure to choose a well-draining soil for your Pilea. Usually, any all-purpose or tropical soil mixture will work fine. If you prefer, you can make your own mixture at home. Use some coco peat fiber or peat moss, and then mix the soil with a small portion of perlite (one part perlite to nine parts soil), which is great for soil aeration and drainage.
3. Water The Plant Inside The Old Pot
Before you remove the plant, make sure you give it a light watering while it's still in the old pot. This will keep the rootball together while you change the container. Make sure you don't overwater the plant; otherwise, it will cause a mess when you try to remove it.
4. Remove The Plant And Prune The Rootball
Now it's time to remove the plant. Use a trowel if you need some help removing it, and be careful with the roots. Before you repot the plant, prune the rootball: it will give the roots a chance to grow healthy and uncrowded in the new pot.
It's important to be careful at this stage, as you don't want the rootball to fall apart, you simply want to trim and prune it to an acceptable level.
5. Repot Your Pilea
Finally, you can put your plant inside the new pot.
Carefully place it down on the base layer of soil, and then add soil around the plant and gently pat down so that it surrounds your Pilea comfortably.
Then, give the plant a light watering to help settle the soil, but be careful not to overwater it!
It's better not to repot Pilea during the winter unless it's absolutely necessary. Wait for late winter or early spring: your plant's roots will expand better with warmer weather and longer daylight hours.
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