Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

When you purchase a new houseplant, chances are it will come in a plastic pot. Your first order of business should be to transfer the plant from its plastic home into a bigger, more decorative container. And while it’s alright to keep the plant in a plastic pot for a little while, the best thing you can do is repot the plant as soon as possible.

According to plant expert Maryah Greene, the reason you shouldn’t leave the plant in its plastic pot for too long is that unless your plant was grown locally, it’s likely been sitting in that pot for a while. Especially if it comes from a large nursery (Costa Farms, Rocket Farms, and Altman Plants are some big names in the US), there’s a chance that quite a bit of time has passed since it was packaged, shipped, stocked on new shelves, and sold to you.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means your plant might already be close to outgrowing its home. Greene recommends repotting it right away or within a few weeks, especially if you purchased it during peak summer growing season.

How to tell if you need to repot: There are a few signs that your plant needs to break up with its plastic pot. For one, if you see roots popping up through the top of the soil or poking through the pot’s drainage hole, it’s a sign that it’s pot-bound. Its roots—whose job it is to absorb water and nutrients from the soil—have run out of room to grow outward. 

If your plant’s leaves are drooping or starting to yellow, even though you’re watering it properly, it’s another sign that it’s time to repot.

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