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The Surprising Benefits of Growing Houseplants in Small Pots

14 Jun 2024
The Surprising Benefits of Growing Houseplants in Small Pots

Here's why we plant houseplants snug in small pots, while outdoors they thrive in vast amounts of soil effortlessly.

You’ve probably been cautioned not to ‘pot up’ too big or too many sizes at once. Or you might have been told that your plant is in a pot too big causing it to struggle.

But then you ask yourself; why is it better for my houseplant to be in a small planter when the same plant can grow in the ground happily.

Here's why...

First thing to remember; plant care inside vs outside is completely different! Plants growing in their natural habitat have everything they need at the levels they need, including light, fertiliser, pH levels, water etc. When we remove these plants from their ideal conditions we're also changing the care they require. 

The main reason for keeping plants in smaller pots is to ensure their roots can get the moisture they need and use up water & nutrients they require without the risk of root-free zones keeping the potting mix wet for too long and causing low oxygen levels and root rot.      

Plants planted in oversized pots can lead to uneven moisture levels in the soil, causing some roots to dry out while others remain waterlogged. That’s due to the combination of the pot retaining water and the soil holding extra moisture. A small plant in a large pot results in increased moisture around the roots while to top may dry out faster.

Too much water for too long means not enough air, and that puts the welcome mat out for root rot causing bacteria and fungi that love wet conditions with low-oxygen.

Another issue with oversized pots is that if you switch to a significantly larger size all at once, it may temporarily impede your plant's growth. While your plant is actively expanding its root system below the soil, there may not be visible growth above ground. If you've heard of plants going 'dormant' for weeks after repotting, that's a common reason why.

So, how big should you go when re planting your houseplants?

Rule of thumb is usually about 2 inches of space between the main root ball and the edge of the pot. Keep in mind you also need to think about what the plant is you're re planting, how fast does it grow? What type of roots does it have? when was it last re potted? How healthy are the roots? What do you want out of the plant vs the location you have it placed

You should ask yourself these questions and adjust as needed.

Happy Planting!

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