Should I Water My Houseplants After Repotting?

Not everyone agrees on whether repotted plants need some water or not. From my experience, if and how much water a repotted plant needs mainly depends on two factors:

Short Sum-Up: A newly repotted houseplant needs watering if the soil is dry. It is best to refrain from watering houseplants after repotting if the soil is very moist or if it is a cacti or succulent plant type. After watering, excess water is best poured out of the pot.

In this post, I will give some helpful advice on the most frequently asked questions about watering after repotting indoor plants.

Water After Repotting: Test the Soil Moisture First

When you’re done repotting your houseplant, you will ask yourself how much water this plant needs now. Most people tend to be overly generous with watering, thinking the plant needs a lot of water right now to recover. Though I recommend giving your newly repotted plants a rinse, it is essential to first check on the soil moisture and the plant type you’re dealing with.

Most fresh soil you buy at the store is still pretty moist. If you repot plants soon after buying fresh soil, you probably don’t have to add much water after repotting. However, if the soil is older and already dry, it is good to give your plants a rinse.

Touch the soil while filling it into the new pot. Is it rather sticky and moist or bone-dry and crumbly?

  • If the soil is sticky and moist: Give the plant only a little bit of water right around its stem.
  • If the soil is dry and crumbly: Give the plant a good rinse and place it in a sink for 15 minutes to let excess water flow out the bottom.

Tip: For very dry soil, it can be helpful to first mist the whole surface area of the pot before you rinse with water. Very dry soil tends to repel water a little, and the water will mainly flow down on the outer rims of the pot. By misting the whole surface, water will then flow down through the pot much more evenly and reach those roots you’re aiming for.

The plant type also plays a role in how much water they need in their new pot. Generally, refrain from watering repotted plants if they are cacti or succulents. Fresh soil is already moist enough for these arid-loving plants. They are masters at storing water and watering an already moist soil will do more harm than good.

Generally, a good thumb rule to remember for your watering routine is that less is more. Are you worried about overwatering your houseplants? Then my complete guide on how to water houseplants linked here can be a good read for you. Enjoy!

How Long Does It Take a Plant to Recover From Repotting?

When repotting a plant, necessarily some part of the root ball will be taken away, either due to overgrowth or when crumbling away the old soil. The plant thus needs to recover from the repotting process by regrowing its roots and accessing the nutrients in the fresh soil.

How much time it takes a plant to recover from repotting depends partly on how much root mass it needs to reproduce as well as on the environmental conditions it faces during that time such as how much light it gets.

Generally, recovery from repotting takes a houseplant about 2-3 weeks in summer and 4-5 weeks in winter.

If you repot a houseplant in winter, it will take the plant more time to recover as the daylight hours are fewer and temperatures lower in that season. It simply can’t grow as fast as it would in summer.

Tip: I generally recommend repotting only in spring or summer as this respects the natural growth cycle of a plant much better and allows it to adapt to its new pot and soil during the sunny summer months.

Also, I recommend not damaging the root ball close to the plant’s stems. It’s better to tuck away some of the more loose root endings or the overgrowth that already made its way out of the bottom of the pot. Leave the roots close to the stem the way they are, just gently shaking some of the old soil out.

How Do You Know If Repotting Is Successful?

After repotting a plant, it takes the plant a while to regrow new roots in the fresh soil. Hence, for the first 2-3 weeks, the plant won’t show many signs of growth yet. Have some patience with it to get used to its new pot and soil.

If the plant grows new green leaf tips or stems after about 2-3 weeks, then repotting was successful.

Clear signs that the plant has been damaged too much when repotting usually show up much faster. If your plant starts getting wilting or yellowing leaves or loses its leaves soon after repotting, then most probably the root ball has been damaged too much when repotting.

The adaptation phase after repotting varies in length also according to the season. In winter it will take the plant much longer than in spring or summer (I recommend repotting in spring anyway). If your plant shows none of these clear signs of unsuccessful repotting, then you can gladly assume that it has been successful!

Tip: If your plant starts dying after repotting, a last resort can be to propagate the plant through cuttings right away and throw away the damaged root ball of the mother plant. Propagation through cuttings works well with a lot of the common houseplants such as Monsteras, Philodendrons, Ficus, or Pothos among others. By propagating them, you are not losing it but creating new plants out of the damaged plant.

What to Do After Buying A New Houseplant?

Repotting is often connected to buying new plants. Though repotting is not necessarily the very first step you have to take when bringing a new plant home from the nursery, there are a few steps that can help you integrate the new housemate appropriately:

  • Do a plant health check to spot pests and diseases
  • Quarantine your plant: Put it separate from other houseplants to avoid the spread of possible pests and diseases
  • Know your plant type: Figure out what plant type you bought to know its water and light requirements
  • Find a suitable spot: Find a spot in your home that suits its requirements

Read more about each specific step and find more helpful tips on how to welcome a new green housemate in my post linked right here!

What Is the Best Soil For Indoor Plants?

What soil to choose for indoor plants?

When you are planning to repot your indoor plants, an essential factor of that whole endeavor is what type of soil you should use.

The soil used for indoor plants has to mimic their natural environment. Indoor plant soil should provide proper aeration, moisture levels, and nutrient retention. Key to providing this is a good mix of humus (earth) with well-draining matter.

You can create a well-draining soil mix with a few simple ingredients added to conventional store-bought soil. In my post linked here, I explain all about how to create a simple but good indoor soil mix that doesn’t cost a fortune!

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