A Step-by-Step Guide to Potting A Plant
Correctly potting a plant may seem obvious and simple, but there are important factors to consider. These include;
- The potting mix should be slightly moist but never wet, i.e. it should not be dripping water, when potting a plant.
- Try to keep the potting mix level with the crown of the plant (where the stem meets the roots). Avoid planting the crown too low in the mix (which can stunt growth) or too high which can leave the roots exposed to air and accelerate the drying out of the roots.
- Ensure there's space between the top of the potting mix and the pot's lip for watering (and fertilizer application). Every potting mix settles a bit differently so you might have to adjust the height after the first watering, and adding more potting mix if there’s too much space or removing a bit of mix if there isn’t enough space. The larger the pot the more space you will need to provide to allow for proper watering.
- To pot the plant, fill the container about a third from the bottom, and avoid compacting the mix. Let it settle naturally by tapping or shaking the pot a bit. Place the plant in the pot and cover the plant until the crown with more potting mix. Water thoroughly and adjust the fill height if needed at that point.
- If the plant isn’t stable in the mix and requires extra support, use a plant stake or two to stabilize it. Avoid compressing the mix to stabilize the plant since this will compact the mix and restrict air flow to the root system.
- When watering the mix, make sure the water pools on top and distributes evenly into the mix. Water will often find a narrow channel or two through the mix which means some areas will hydrate while others won’t. If that happens, gently roll the mix around to move the water to different parts of the pot, or consider bottom-watering the plant by placing the pot in a small bowl or saucer with an inch or two of water and letting the plant and potting mix absorb the water from the bottom, usually for 30-45 minutes.
💚 Pro-tip - bottom watering is a great way to fully rehydrate any potting mix and can be done anytime the mix seems overly-dry or unable to evenly absorb water when watering.