Philodendron is a gorgeous house plant of the Araceae family. It grows fast and doesn’t require much care. That’s why it’s one of the most popular beginner-friendly plants.
Due to its fast growth rate, philodendron requires regular repotting. This brings up the question, when to repot philodendron, exactly?
There are a few telltale signs that your philodendron is ready for repotting, including the roots poking through the soil or sticking out of the drainage holes. On top of that, if you notice that your philodendron is turning yellow or losing many leaves, then it’s probably time for a repot.
Stick around to learn more about philodendrons and when they need repotting. We’ll also show you how to do it and what the pot specifications need to be.
Philodendrons are fast-growing plants. That’s why they may need repotting more frequently than other houseplants.
It’s important to pay attention to what your philodendron is trying to tell you, as there are quite a few signs that display the plant’s need to move to a bigger container.
The most obvious signs include the following:
- Plant’s roots growing through the pot’s drainage holes
- Plant’s roots poking through the soil’s surface
- Leaf tips starting to brown
- Leaves turning yellow
- Plant losing many leaves
- The plant hasn’t been repotted for a long time
If you see any of these signs, chances are your plant is ready for repotting.
When it comes to philodendron repotting, it’s not a question of “how often” as much as it is a question of “when” to repot. This is because, under certain conditions, some houseplants grow faster than others.
However, even when you don’t notice any signs that your philodendron needs repotting, you should do it once every 2-3 years.
Repotting ensures that your plant gets access to higher-quality soil so that it remains healthy and thriving.
No, philodendrons don’t like to be root-bound. It restricts their freedom to grow and causes their leaves to droop.
This is because the plant becomes unable to get the needed nutrients and water from the soil when it’s root-bound, which increases the chances of fungal infections and root rot.
If you’d like to keep the plant inside the same pot, you may want to prune the roots and foliage so as to fit the size of the pot.
Nevertheless, if you want your philodendron to grow bigger, you definitely have to move it to a bigger pot.
Aside from growing bigger than its pot size and being root-bound, philodendrons need repotting to avoid the acidity levels increasing inside the soil.
Philodendrons like acidic soil (preferably a pH between 5.0 and 6.0). However, over time, when you don’t repot your philodendron, the soil becomes more acidic.
High acidity levels increase the soil’s toxicity, and therefore, it becomes unable to provide nutrients to the plant.
Additionally, watering wipes away most of the soil’s nutrients. It’s natural and inevitable. Consequently, the only solution for this issue is repotting.
A fresh potting mix gives your philodendron a healthy boost, which strengthens and rejuvenates it.
Yes, it does. Proper drainage is essential for philodendrons. Although they prefer moist soil, it shouldn’t be too wet.
If your philodendron’s pot doesn’t have drainage holes, the excess water won’t be able to escape. As a result, the soil becomes soggy, and the roots get damaged.
That’s why, before potting your philodendron, it’s highly recommended to ensure that the pot has suitable drainage holes. If not, you can even poke holes at the pot’s base yourself.
Whatever the reason behind your decision to repot your philodendron is, it’s always a good idea to do it in early spring through mid-summer.
That’s when the plant is actively growing, and it can make the best use of the additional space and nutrients in the soil.
Additionally, watering your philodendron a night before repotting and letting it soak makes the process easier for you as well as your plant.
Here’s what you need to do:
Due to the philodendron’s toxic nature, you need to wear a pair of gardening gloves when handling the plant. Direct contact with philodendrons may cause skin irritations.
Aside from that, you need to have pruning shears or a sharp knife, and of course, a new bigger pot.
Choosing the right pot size to repot your philodendron is essential because going too big might cause problems with watering the plant.
You need to get a pot that’s only 1-2 inches bigger than the older one. Additionally, make sure that it has proper drainage holes.
If you intend on using an old pot you have, make sure that it’s completely clean so as not to transfer any diseases to your philodendron.
As for the material, plastic or clay are just fine, though you should know that plants in clay pots might require watering more frequently than those in plastic pots.
Additionally, clay pots are usually harder to get the plants out of. They may even require breaking at some point to release the plant.
Watering the plant the night before and letting it soak makes the plant easier to loosen out of the pot and prepares the plant to deal with the stress of repotting.
Philodendrons prefer loose, rich soil that’s well-drained and somewhat chunky. To achieve those properties, mix half the potting soil with half of coco coir.
Alternatively, you can switch the coco coir with orchid bark. They both have the same draining qualities, and their larger size bits create air pockets for better aeration.
Another good option for philodendron potting mix is 3-quarters of part potting mix and a quarter of part perlite, which is also excellent for drainage.
If the plant is in a plastic pot, squeezing the sides a bit helps loosen up the soil. Then, gently turn the philodendron on its side.
Put one hand over the soil’s surface, flip the plant upside down, and with the other hand, slide the pot away.
If the plant is a bit large, in a clay pot, or has been inside its container for a long time, you might need to break or cut the old pot.
Now that you have your philodendron in hand, it’s time to check its roots for any pests, damage, or diseases.
Gently loosen the soil at the roots, shake the plant to get rid of excess soil, and look for any alarming signs.
Healthy roots should be white or tan in color. Otherwise, you should trim off any soft, brittle, discolored, or diseased roots.
If the roots are tightly clumped together, you might need to make a few vertical incisions to encourage new root growth.
Spread a 1-inch-thick layer of the fresh potting mix at the bottom of the new pot as evenly as possible. Then, place the philodendron inside.
Fill the pot around it with the fresh potting mix, tap it frequently, and press firmly to make sure there are no air pockets.
Finish up by removing any dead leaves and tidying up your plant.
Water your philodendron until the pot starts leaking out of the drainage holes. At this point, the soil level may decrease. So, you might want to add some more potting mix to make it up.
To avoid transfer shock, keep your philodendron in the same place it’s used to with the same temperature and light levels.
Repotting your plant is rather essential, and there are many signs that indicate that the plant is ready for repotting. So, you should pay attention to your plant in order to know when to repot it.
Usually, your philodendron needs repotting every 2-3 years. That said, you might need to repot if the roots start to come out of the drainage holes.
Yellowing leaves, a droopy plant, and loss of foliage are also signs that your philodendron needs to move to a bigger pot.
Just make sure to pick the right container and follow the steps carefully to ensure a successful repotting process.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.