Vining or non-vining, philodendrons are known after their vibrant green foliage that will grow fast and pose very little trouble in the way of upkeep. No wonder then that philodendrons are one of the most popular beginner-friendly houseplants.
Because of their relatively vigorous growth pattern, philodendrons require regular repotting to prevent the plant from becoming root-bound once they start to outgrow their pot.
Another reason to repot philodendron plants is to refresh their potting medium, which will help the plant stay healthy and lush.
In what follows, you can read about the steps I take to repot my philodendron plants along with some tips on what soil to choose, how to water and how often you should repot.
Repotting Philodendrons Step-by-Step
Whether you’re looking to repot because your philodendron has outgrown its pot or you want to propagate your philodendron by division, the best time to repot is in early summer.
Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Get your tools ready
Philodendrons are poisonous, so before you get your hands on any other tools, make sure you’re wearing gloves and a long-sleeve shirt.
The sap of the plant may cause skin irritation if it gets in direct contact with skin. You’re also going to need a sharp knife or pruning shears, and of course a new pot.
Step 2: Choose a bigger sized pot
Pick a pot that’s 2 inches bigger than the current pot. You don’t want to oversize the pot because it will cause problems with watering the plant.
If you’re reusing an older pot, make sure it’s clean to avoid transferring any diseases to your transplanted plant.
Do make sure the pot has draining holes at the bottom, which are needed to allow excess water to flow out of the pot. Philodendrons enjoy moist soil, but if the soil is soggy wet, it will cause root rot.
Step 3: Prepare the plant for unpotting
To easily get the plant out of its pot, it’s a good idea to water the soil a day before repotting. This will make it easier to dislodge the plant from the pot, but it will also prepare the plant for dealing with the stress of repotting.
Step: 4 Check roots for signs of disease
Once you’ve unpotted the plant, gently loosen the soil at the roots. Check the health status of the roots. Soft roots or diseased roots should be trimmed away. Healthy roots are white or tan.
The roots may be very tightly packed in a ball and you’re going to need to “open” them up by making 4 vertical incisions from top to bottom to loosen the ball and encourage new root growth.
Step 5: Transplant your philodendron
Once you’re ready with these preparations, you can go ahead and place around an inch of fresh potting medium to the bottom of the pot.
Place the philodendron into the pot, fill with potting medium, pressing firmly to disperse any remaining air pockets.
Step 6: Water the soil
Water the soil until it trickles out of the draining holes. The soil may settle a bit after watering, and you can add more soil to make up for it.
When transplanting philodendrons with stunted growth, you can cut back the plant to 4 inches. This will encourage a more vigorous growth. Otherwise healthy philodendrons do not require pruning before transplanting.
What Soil is Best for Philodendron Plants?
The best soil for philodendrons is a soil that’s lightweight and drains fast. My winning potting medium combination includes one part potting soil, one part peat moss and one part perlite.
How Often You Need to Repot Philodendron Plants?
Time isn’t the best indicator as to when you should repot a philodendron. Instead you should look to see if roots are starting to grow out of the pot. If that’s the case, you need to transplant your philodendron plant to a bigger pot.
Usually, this comes out to repotting the plant every 2-3 years. Of course, it all depends on how fast your philodendron is growing. If environmental conditions are ideal, your philodendron may grow faster, and you’re going to repot more often.
Why My Philodendron Plant Stopped Growing after Transplanting?
If your philodendron has stunted growth to begin with, it could be that growing conditions (light, watering, soil, fertilizing, temperature, etc.) are not optimal. Be sure to revisit the basics of philodendron plant care to see if there are any changes you need to make.
If you’re transplanting it to change its soil, you may notice that your philodendron will start to develop much better once its soil is replaced.
It could also happen that your philodendron became root bound but otherwise was healthy and developing normally but stops growing after transplant.
A common problem with large plants that are transplanted is transplant shock, which can manifest in a variety of different ways like the plant starts wilting or drooping, leaves may curl and fall off, but the plant can also stop growing and developing new leaf nodes.
To avoid transplant shock, you must take the following precautions and aftercare measures:
- Maintain the same lighting conditions, temperature, soil type, watering regimen as before planting.
- Don’t leave the roots exposed for too long and plant at a similar depth as in the previous pot.
- Don’t forget to water the plant after repotting and keep the soil evenly moist.
- Make sure the pot is fitted with draining holes, so excess water can trickle out.
- Remove dead or dying leaves.
- Feed the plant with a weak liquid fertilizer.
Repotting philodendrons is needed to give the root ball enough space to develop, but also to freshen up the potting medium and promote healthy development.
With philodendrons, you’re not going to need repotting too often, but do keep an eye on how the plant is developing and whether there are any roots poking out of the pot.
Follow the instructions I described above to avoid transplant shock and ensure a smooth transition from one pot to the other.