Repot When Soil is Dry or Damp?

Question:  Do you repot when the soil is dry or damp?

Answer:  It is best, and easiest, to repot from moist soil into moist (but not soggy) soil.  “Moist” meaning the plant hasn’t just been watered, nor does it need to be immediately watered–it will need watering in another day or two.  Just-watered plants, or those in wet soil, will be more susceptible to bruising, expecially heavily variegated varieties, if not handled very carefully.  Leaves also will be more rigid and more likely to break.  If the soil is too dry, leaves will be more supple and easier to bend without breaking, but the dry root system is easily damaged.  In either case, your plant is likely to look a bit tired and “beat up” after repotting.

Besides being better for your plant, using mois, or slightly damp, soil will be less messy and easier to use.  Wet soil can create a muddy mess, and very dry soil can be dusty and difficult to manage.  Use soil just moist enough to hold together and “mold” into your pot.  You should be able to make a “ball” with your soil, but this ball should easily crumble when dropped or pressed.  Our rule of thumb is to add water to dry (peat based) soil at a ratio of about 1 to 4.  For example, about 1 quart of water added to 4 quarts of dry soil.  Add the water the night before you need to use your soil and shake or mix the soil container prior to using.

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