“I repotted my plant and now it’s wilting – did I do something wrong?”

Has your plant started to turn yellow and wilt after you’ve repotted it? Here’s how to save your plant from repotting shock.

Repotting a plant is one of those basic steps every plant owner will have to take at some point, but the prospect of removing your leafy friend from the safety of its pot and carefully moving it to a new home can be daunting – especially if you’ve dealt with repotting or transplant shock in the past.

A term used to describe a state of stress experienced by some plants when they’re moved from one pot to another, repotting shock can kill a plant or stunt its growth if it’s not given plenty of care and attention.  

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As such, it’s important to know what you’re doing when you’re repotting your plants, including being aware of the signs of repotting shock and what you can do to nurse your plant back to health. 

In fact, by taking the proper precautions, you can prevent your plant from experiencing repotting shock altogether – you just need to know where to start.

So, as we head into the summer months and you think about moving your plant to a bigger home, here’s everything you need to know about looking after your plant throughout the repotting process.  

What is repotting shock?

Repotting or transplant shock is a state of stress some plants experience after they’re moved from one pot to another. It can manifest in a number of different ways, but there are a few key signs.

“Signs of stress might include the leaves starting to curl or turn yellow or the plant starting to wilt,” explains Morag Hill, co-founder of the online plant shop The Little Botanical. “These typically occur if some of the plant’s basic needs are not met during the repotting process.” 

How to prevent repotting shock

If you want to prevent your plant from experiencing repotting shock, start by following these three simple steps.

To keep your plant happy and healthy throughout the repotting process, Hill recommends following three basic steps.

Don’t go too big

“Only go up one pot size as jumping to too big a pot can cause stress to your plant,” Hill suggests. If you give the plant too big a reservoir of soil, it can also mean it takes too long to dry out in between watering and this can cause issues with growth and development and can lead to root rot.”

Be gentle

“When you remove the plant from its existing pot, don’t tug it too hard,” Hill says. “Gently remove the plant to ensure you protect the roots.

Use the right materials

“Make sure you use houseplant soil for indoor houseplants,” Hill recommends. 

How to treat repotting shock

If your plant is showing signs of repotting shock once you’ve transplanted it from one pot to another, you’ll need to take action to nurse your plant back to health.

“To tackle this, as with any plant problem, check it over,” Hill says. “Is the soil too damp; is it getting enough light? If the leaves are turning yellow, it’s possible it’s now getting too much water so reduce the frequency of watering now the plant has been transferred to a bigger pot.” 

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Hill continues: “If you spot signs of wilting, make sure you have used the correct soil as different types of soil can hold too much water, which can damage the plant. If growth is stunted, ensure the plant is kept in the same spot and don’t move straight after repotting.

“And finally, don’t forget now is the best time to repot if your plant needs more space. It’s important to repot in spring/summer instead of the winter months as your lovely plants need good light to grow and thrive in their new pot.” 

New to plant parenthood? Check out Stylist’s guide to buying, styling and caring for plants to get started.

You can find out more about the most common houseplant problems by checking out our range of plant care content, too. 

Images: Getty/The Little Botanical

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