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Newbie looking to re-pot some old and new houseplants

11 years ago

Hi all,

I'm pretty new to these forums (discovered GardenWeb recently while looking for laundry machine reviews, of all things!), but I'm just starting to get more into container gardening and I'm really excited at finding so much great information. I've always had a few houseplants around, but I recently moved into an apartment that get direct sunlight(!) and am feeling inspired.

I've been reading some of the epic threads on container gardening here and I'm totally sold on changing to a non-organic well draining "soil" like Al's gritty or 5-1-1 mix but... I've never root-pruned before! I'm very nervous about this. I'm thinking to start with one of my spider plant babies, but I also have a larger spider plant (4+ years old), a ficus tree (5ft, 2 gallon pot), a miniature rose, and newly bought calamondin and meyer lemon trees in 1 gallon pots, all of which should probably be re-potted and maybe pruned at the same time.

The steps as I understand it are:
Remove plant from pot
Remove as much of old dirt as possible
Cut off dead roots, roots growing in a circle around the pot
Cut wedges out of the root ball (this is the one that makes me really nervous)
Add gritty or 5-1-1 mix to new similar-sized new pot, or well-cleaned old pot
Settle plant in new pot, water thoroughly
Do not fertilize for awhile (not sure how long)

Did I miss anything? Should I prune an equivalent proportion of foliage? Should I leave the citrus completely alone, given that they're currently blooming (a little) and I just got them 2 weeks ago? Is this an ok time of year for re-potting?

Can someone reassure me that I'm not going to kill my plants from the shock of chopping off roots and changing the soil completely?

I know that's a lot of questions, thank you for any advice!

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