How Often to Change Plant Soil?

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As a rule, the potting soil should be changed every two years. This depends on the nature of the soil. For fast-growing plants, it may be necessary to change the soil within a year. However, for slower-growing plants, the soil may not need to be changed for several years.

Depending on how quickly the plant absorbs nutrients from the soil, the potting soil may last longer. It’s important to know when to replace the soil, what type of soil you need and how to replace it.

So in this article, you’ll discover how often to change plant soil. Let’s start.

How often to change plant soil for my potted plants?

The condition of a potted plant’s soil should be checked annually. If water only runs through the soil when you water it, the soil needs to be replaced.

If you are growing a potted plant and the plant’s leaves are turning yellow, this may be a sign that you should change the soil. It is possible that the nutrients in the soil have been depleted and the plant is no longer getting the nutrients it needs.

If the roots of the plant are protruding from the bottom of the pot, this is a sign that the soil needs to be replaced. The plant may be sticking out of the soil or pot, causing a root blockage.

If the potting soil feels hard or absorbs water poorly, that is a sign that the potting soil needs to be replaced.

Potted plants can also become overgrown and fall over. This is a sign that it needs to be repotted in new soil.

Fast-growing plants, such as pothos and African violets, can have this problem within a year. Slower-growing plants, however, such as cacti and sansevieria, may not need a soil change for two or three years.

The best time to change potting soil is in the spring. This is the time of year when plants focus on growing new roots and leaves. Therefore, changing the soil will help them better adapt to the growing season and reduce stress on the plant.

What kind of soil should I use?

The best potting soil is potting soil sand. It is sterile soil and may contain a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Compost or slow-release fertilizer can also be added.

The texture of this soil is light and it absorbs a lot of moisture but releases excess moisture. Good moisture and air circulation allow the roots to absorb needed nutrients from the soil.

Do not use garden soil for potting. This soil contains a lot of clay, which can retain excess moisture and smother the roots. This can lead to the rotting of the plant’s roots.

If it also contains a lot of sand, moisture can escape quickly, preventing plant roots from absorbing needed nutrients and moisture from the soil.

Garden soil can also harbor harmful pests and diseases. These can infest and damage potted plants.

Garden soil may contain chemicals derived from pesticides used on lawns. These chemicals are harmful to potted plants and can be dangerous when growing edible plants.

How do I change the soil for my potted plants?

First, you will need new soil, a pot the size of your home, a flat rock, a watering can, and a potted plant.

Place a few rocks in the bottom of the new pot. This is to prevent the potting soil from leaking out of the drainage holes. Be careful that the stones do not clog the drainage holes.

Fill the new pot with a new growing medium, making sure it is large enough to support the existing plant.

Remove the plant, root ball, and all, from the pot. If the pot is plastic, this process is easy. Simply tap the pot from all sides until the plant slides out.

For terra cotta pots, you may need to tap the pot several times. It may also be necessary to break the pot if the plant is stuck inside.

Remove some soil from under the roots to see if they are healthy or if some need to be cut out. If the roots are clogged, you can loosen some of them and cut them off.

Place the root ball in the new pot so that the base of the plant is 2-3 inches below the edge of the pot.

Fill up the sides of the plant with potting soil until it is stable in the new pot. Then water the plant with a watering can.

How to rejuvenate old potting soil?

After a few years, the plants have absorbed all the nutrients from the potting soil. Moreover, the texture becomes hard and unsuitable for growing plants.

However, it is possible to regenerate this old potting soil and make it suitable for growing plants again.

First, make sure the soil is free of unwanted material. Break up the soil and place it on a tarp.

Remove all roots, leaves, plant parts, and debris from the soil. Water the soil well to restore its soft, breathable texture. Allow the soil to dry on the sheet.

The soil should be cooled by heat from the sun to kill pests and diseases that may be lurking in the soil. The best way to do this is to bake the soil in the oven.

Spread the soil on a disposable tray to a thickness of 5 cm. Cover the tray with aluminum foil and make a hole in the center.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and place the tray with the soil inside.

Allow the soil to heat in the oven for at least 30 minutes to ensure sterilization. The soil must be heated to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all bacteria and viruses.

If you don’t want to use an oven, you can also use black plastic bags. Place the potting soil in a black plastic bag and tie the opening closed. Place the plastic bag in a clear container and leave it in the sun for a day.

Soil that has been heated in the oven or sun should cool to room temperature.

After the potting soil has been sterilized, the nutrients in the soil need to be improved. It is best to add an equal amount of compost.

The compost adds rich organic nutrients and microorganisms to the potting soil. You can also add an all-purpose fertilizer to the soil: Mix one tablespoon of slow-release fertilizer per gallon of soil.

Potting soil can be used immediately for plants or stored in a dry, airtight container for later use. Stored potting soil can be used for up to 6 months.

Photo by Anna Shvets on pixels

3 General Transplanting Guidelines

  1. Houseplants whose roots have become accustomed to the shape of the pot should usually be reported.
  2. Also, consider transplanting if you want to give the plant more room to grow. If you want to keep the same size, change the soil or read my section on “How to Grow Smaller Plants”.
  3. If you haven’t seen any new growth for a while (about a season) and the plant is otherwise healthy and has a good growing environment, I recommend repotting the plant immediately and adding new soil.

If that’s not the case, you only need to change the soil of your houseplants once or add new soil if you can afford it.

It’s a different story when it comes to changing the soil of houseplants.

3 General rules for changing the soil

  1. If the soil has hardened, the houseplant soil needs to be changed. Use your fingers to check how the soil feels. If it feels compacted and somewhat dense, it’s probably time to add new soil to the houseplant.
  2. You should also consider changing the soil if it hasn’t been changed in more than three or four years, even if the soil is in good condition.
  3. If the foliage is dull and the houseplant needs a general refresh, you should add a fresh batch of soil to the pot.

Replacing soil and repotting houseplants are two different things and should be considered separately, but the two can be combined to create the best possible environment for your houseplants.

References

How Often Should I Change Soil In Potted Plants? (2021, October 18). Gardening Mentor. https://gardeningmentor.com/how-often-should-i-change-soil-in-potted-plants/

Mattia, N. (2019, October 23). How Often Should You Change the Soil in Your Houseplants? Martha Stewart. https://www.marthastewart.com/2139972/how-often-change-soil-houseplants

O. (2021, October 1). How Often To Change Soil In Indoor Plants? 3 Mistakes To Avoid. HouseplantsCorner – The Houseplants Experts. https://houseplantscorner.com/houseplants-care/change-soil-in-indoor-plants/#:%7E:text=Usually%2C%20you%20need%20to%20change,often%20than%20once%20a%20year.

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