Partial soil replacement for indoor plants
Transplanting sooner or later is necessary for all indoor plants. But in the case of giants, large-sized room-makers, it is not carried out until it is possible, since the task is not easy. Yes and rarely, what kind of adult plants need an annual transplant, not having time to master all the soil in pots. In years when a transplant is not performed, it is almost always recommended to perform the mandatory procedure - partial soil replacement. The topsoil is replaced both for hygiene and to maintain a normal substrate.
Partial soil replacement is a simple procedure that does not require any special skills or knowledge to replace the top layer of the substrate in pots with indoor plants.
Partial soil replacement is needed in several cases:
- when the plant is replanted not annually, but with a frequency of 1 time in 2-3 years or less, instead of replanting, the contaminated topsoil is replaced at the optimum time;
- for large-sized plants that are grown in concrete or stone flower beds, as well as containers that are too heavy to transport or move, replacing the transplant itself with this procedure;
- if the soil acidifies, becomes dirty, becomes moldy, it is too often compacted and the top layer must be replaced to ensure normal air and water permeability;
- if the plant is infected with pests or diseases, the lesions are serious, it lost leaves, after treatment with fungicides or insecticides, replacing the upper level of the substrate reduces the risk of the problem reoccurring, allows you to remove contaminants and disease sources from the substrate;
- if the plant’s roots extend over the top of the pot, but the plant hasn’t yet filled the substrate and there is no need (or there is no possibility to transplant it), they partially remove the contaminated soil and add a higher layer of the earth covering the roots.
The replacement of the upper layer of the substrate is traditionally recommended to be carried out at the same time as the plant transplant, but early spring or late winter are not the only dates for such a procedure. In fact, partial soil replacement can be carried out at any time when it is needed. If a transplant replaces it, then it is true from the end of February to May. But if replacement is needed to urgently improve the condition of the substrate, is associated with hygienic, preventive purposes, then it can be carried out at any time, except for winter, and preferably in the stage of active plant growth.
The classical approach to replacing the soil instead of replanting has caused yet another misconception, according to which partial replacement is carried out only once a year, like the transplant itself, for young or actively growing crops. For most medium-sized plants, this is indeed the best option. But if we are talking about indoor giants that are difficult or impossible to transplant at all, then the soil must be replaced at least 2 times a year. After all, the soil for these plants is not completely changed, and in order for the procedure to have even a minimal effect, it will be necessary to change the topsoil in the pot once every six months. In this case, the replacement is carried out in the spring and autumn. When replacing the top layer for hygienic or preventive purposes, it is carried out as many times as needed, but not more than 1 time in 3 months.
How much soil can be removed and replaced, always determined individually. The maximum amount of removed substrate that can be removed from the pots is a quarter of the total soil. But it is always better to focus on a particular plant. The golden rule for replacing the topsoil in pots with indoor plants is that only the contaminated soil can be removed before the roots of the plant begin to fall. Since contacts with the rhizome must be avoided (even the slightest), sometimes we are talking about a very thin layer of soil.
The procedure can only be carried out on a dry substrate. For plants that prefer stable humidity, let the top 3-4 cm of soil dry. But in any case, removing the wet substrate is undesirable and after watering several days should pass.
In the process of replacing the top layer of the substrate there is nothing complicated. But you should be very careful and attentive, be careful to eliminate the risk of grazing the roots.
The procedure for changing the top layer of potted soil consists of several steps:
- The container with the plant is transferred to a flat, smooth surface, covered with an insulating film on top, or a tub, container, flower girl is surrounded by film and paper so as to avoid contamination of the floor surface.
- Dry leaves are removed from the culture, the crown is inspected, if necessary, sanitary cleaning is carried out, cutting off dry and damaged shoots.
- Clean the leaves from dust and dirt with a soft sponge or textile towel (if possible).
- If the soil is compacted, a crust has formed on it, water permeability is broken, with a fork or any convenient tool for working with indoor plants, the soil is slightly loosened without touching the roots.
- First, the soil is carefully scooped out along the edge of the pot or container, carefully removing several centimeters of soil around the circumference or perimeter of the container.
- Having removed the substrate from the edge, they gently advance to the shoots of the plant, deep into the pot. First, all visible contaminated areas are removed, and then all available soil that can be removed without touching the roots is removed.
- After removing all the soil, a fresh substrate suitable for the given plant is poured on top. The soil level in the pots and containers is left unchanged, except when the plant has exposed roots on top: for this procedure, the roots are covered with a substrate so that at least 5 mm of the soil layer forms on top (optimally - 1-1.5 cm).
- Gently cleaning the container, removing impurities, the plants are rearranged on pallets and watered. If the soil sags heavily, it is slightly replenished.
Plants for which they have changed the topsoil, resume normal care immediately. Unlike transplanting, there is no need to adapt or reduce watering, there is no need to limit feeding (of course, if such measures are not caused by the health of the green pet). For plants that are so compensated for by the lack of transplantation, stopping top dressing can lead to a lack of nutrients. Mandatory, regular top dressing can compensate for the insufficient fertility of the rest of the substrate. If the transplant has not been carried out for a very long time, it is advisable to increase the concentration of fertilizers or add long-acting fertilizers to the freshly created layer.