With Autumn well + truly here in the UK, my houseplants are getting ready for their winter rest. My focus this time of year is making sure my plants are in the best position possible to tackle the lower light levels + cooler temperatures (more on that in my ‘Getting your houseplants ready for Autumn’ post). As well as this, I check in with some of the plants that have been on my radar for needing a bit of attention for a while. I’ve got used to knowing which ones can cope with a period of neglect + that helps me to prioritise my plant care here at HPH.
This is likely to be the last ‘proper’ repotting diaries of the season — I’ve said before I don’t re-pot during the colder months because many houseplants will be resting during this time. This session was carried out a few weeks ago. Repotting is best carried out when the plant is actively growing during Spring + Summer. There are exceptions of course; if I see something that really looks like it will be worse off staying in its pot for a few more months, I’ll intervene. Generally, this doesn’t happen when it gets colder though.
If this is the first post in this series that you’ve seen, these posts are intended to be short + ‘behind the scenes’ in style; showing a more everyday + relaxed view of what it is like to live with a lot of plants. In addition, if you have any of these plants it might help to see how I’ve repotted mine + things to look out for. Have a browse through the other posts in this series if you want to get in the mood for some plant care: there’s a tab at the top of the homepage called ‘repotting plants’.
This was a long time coming… I have been rooting these cuttings for months + wanted to pot them up before it got colder here — If you want to test your patience, try rooting snake plants! They do take quite a while to get going but when they do, I’ve found they are pretty happy in water for ages (up to 12 months!). Some of these cuttings had new pups starting to grow whilst in the water — if you haven’t seen this before it can be really exciting! I’ve had quite a few questions about these on insta, so here’s the link to my blogpost about getting them to root successfully… there is a bit of a knack to it. I decided to pot these 4 leaves together for convenience (it meant I didn’t have to find 4 pots) plus I can monitor them together.
In terms of potting mix, for my snake plants, I use my houseplant potting mix that I detailed in a recent blogpost (here)+ added in some cacti+ succulent compost into the mix too.
I love an epipremnum aureum. Possibly the most forgiving plant in my collection, my golden pothos is such a classic to me + I urge everyone to have one in their home. My pothos gang live in my bedroom because the light conditions just suit them here + this plant in particular trails off a ladder shelf next to my bed… thankfully it hasn’t fallen on me yet!
Compared to my other golden pothos, this plant is the furthest away (around 4 metres) from my south-east facing window + it still grows well — a testament to it’s easy-going nature. As with all plants, less light does equal slower growth but I haven’t had any small new leaves which can sometimes happen when light levels are diminished. As a result, this one hadn’t been repotted for a long time either + it had one weird root growing out of of the drainage hole so I thought it was about time to give it some TLC. I only went up one pot size as I prefer to keep my pothos quite snug in their pots which is something I’d advise — I just find they grow better this way! I use my houseplant potting mix for my pothos — a mix for houseplant compost, chunky orchid bark, perlite + horticultural grit.
Even though this might be a boring plant for some, I wouldn’t be without it. For more pothos reading + to see other varieties + care tips, here’s my blogpost.
If you like looking at roots then you’ll enjoy this one! My zamioculcas zamiifolia ‘raven’ has been in this pot for a long time + as a slow grower, repotting has not been necessary (making it so easy to look after in my opinion). As I was showering it a few weeks ago though, I noticed the thick roots had started to contort the pot + were growing out of the bottom a bit too. I always wait until this stage before lifting the plant out to inspect the roots.
I took some time at this point to loosen the roots gently with my fingers + I made a chunky potting mix like this to pot the zz into, I just added some extra cacti + succulent potting mix to my usual concoction.
I always like to show the reality of keeping houseplants here at HPH + that not all houseplants look great all the time. Whether it’s a seasonal slump, or a bit of neglect on my part, I just take this as part of the process of keeping houseplants. Knowing some of my plants needed a bit of attention used to stress me out if I couldn’t tackle it straight away, but I have learned not be too hard on myself in this respect. I had two pots of heart leaf philodendron (scandens) that I’d rescued a year or so ago + they were really dried out. I don’t know about you, but I find these slightly more demanding than my pothos plants, the slightly thicker, waxy pothos leaves can take a bit more than the thinner scandens foliage.
I thought it would be useful to show that this is how the foliage looks when the plant is really thirsty + the potting mix has dried out quite a lot. When plants get to this stage, watering can be ineffective unless you can soak the root ball for a few hours. In this case, there was some root pruning to do to remove the dried roots (especially the smaller pot at the top of the photo above) so I decided I’d do a bit of a re-pot + cut off the dried roots + give the plant some fresh potting mix (my usual houseplant potting mix) before re-potting together to make a bigger plant.
This beauty is one that is special to me because it was the first plant I grew from a division of my big Stromanthe thalia triostar (previously S. sanguinea triostar) with just two or three leaves — it looked like a pink propellor when I first potted it up two years ago:
Anyway, I can always tell when my stromanthe needs a bigger pot because it starts drying out more quickly + is likely to get crispy edges. This plant has been quite far from the window for most of the growing season but still has good amounts of variegation in the foliage. I was so pleased to see those pink leaves glow with the light illuminating the plant from behind on my potting table. My big plant is getting a bit unwieldy so I admit, I’m quite enjoying the plant at this size! I only went up one pot size + used my chunky houseplant mix which will keep it happier + growing nicely. If you struggle with calathea, but love the pretty foliage, stromanthe or maranta are my choices from the marantaceae family — they are more amenable to normal household humidity.
It wouldn’t be a repotting diaries post without a pilea or two in need of repotting would it?! These are two plantlets that I separated from my mother plant (see the photo below) that really needed some fresh potting mix + going up one pot size. Some plants I leave growing in the same pot for ages to promote new pilea babies sprouting up from the base (they often do this when they are pot bound — more on plantlet propagation linked here), but others I will pot-on to grow into a more mature, tree like form.
As these plants are naturally so sculptural + interesting to look at, I generally like to keep their pots quite minimal so as not to detract from the UFO foliage. I particularly like this combination of metal planter + pilea. I’ll put a plant pot post (that’s a bit of a tongue twister!) together soon as playing around with plants + pot combinations is something I LOVE.
So there we have it, perhaps the last potting post of the season. I hope you enjoyed seeing what has been on my potting table + that it has given you some tips of things to look out for if you own any of these houseplants too. I’ve got lots of additional posts over on my pinterest which I’ll link here if you fancy a browse!
I have some catching up to do with putting my care posts live so you’ll be able to enjoy some plant care from earlier in the season too as we move into winter here in the UK. And if you are in warmer climates, please send a little sunshine my way!