On Sunday I did something I have been putting off doing for a while … repotting my monstera! Now let me start by saying that I know it’s not the best time to be doing this. Ideally, the best time to repot is in Spring time because this is when active growth begins again after the plants’ dormant period (during winter) …which means that the plant is thriving to develop its root system, and well, GROW basically! This is not to say that you can absolutely not touch a struggling plant at any other time of year, but please note that if you can wait until spring or summer then do so.
So for the last month or so I was aware that the soil around my monstera was looking a bit lack-lustre and when feeling around, I could tell that the roots were growing quite close to the top. This means that the plant is pretty pot-bound as it has run out of space to grow new roots. At this point I topped the plant pot up with a fresh layer of compost but even then, felt that that might not be ideal.
The best way to determine if you need to think about repotting is to get your container and gently tap it until the compost loosens, then lift your plant by its base and inspect the roots. I was keeping my monstera in this plastic pot within the glazed terracotta pot, so getting a look at the roots proved to be pretty easy (if a little messy!)
As I suspected (and as the photograph above shows), the plant was quite cramped in its container and in need of a bit of care before going into its dormancy period. I must stress here that I wouldn’t recommend any major jumps in pot size, especially at this time of year – small increases are always always best. The reason I chose to do this now was because the amount of extra soil I was adding into the mix was only about 3 centimetres at the bottom of the pot – not much at all. Due to the shape of the plastic container, by removing this and potting straight into the terracotta pot meant that I was adding just a layer of soil at the bottom of the pot to give the roots some more breathing room.
I wouldn’t carry out any drastic moves this time of year, but if it’s something quite small as I have done here then things should be fine. Another option you have if you are hesitant to re-pot just yet would be to remove the top 10 centimetres of soil around the plant and add fresh compost on top. This is a good alternative if you think it would better suit the plant.
Before potting, loosen the roots with your hand (as shown in the photograph below), this allows them to settle in better to their new compost.
After filling up the pot and making sure the supporting rod was in place, I encouraged some of the aerial roots back into the soil, as I don’t have a moss stick at the moment. Whilst they are arguably a bit unsightly, these roots allow the nutrients of the soil to be fed up to the taller parts of the plant.
Finally I positioned the pot back in place and gave it a light drink with tepid water. It’s important not to be tempted to feed newly potted plants after repotting as this will cause too much of a shock to the roots, who will already be adjusting to life in new soil and a new environment/container! It’s best to wait three weeks before feeding so as not to sizzle the newly exposed roots.
These photographs show the monstera back in its spot on Sunday evening, I was amazed how bare this part of my living room looked when I moved it to re-pot! I will keep you posted on it’s progress. Just a quick thanks to ‘seasonalrhythmn’ off my Instagram for asking about this process – if you have any requests for specific plant care please ask over on there and I’d be happy to write a post. My handle is ‘_houseplanthouse’.
Thanks for reading!