Everything You Need to Know About Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants at Home
Is your heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) looking a little worse for wear? Are the roots starting to stick out from the bottom of the pot? Maybe it’s not growing anymore or looking a bit limp? These all signal that it’s time to repot your heartleaf philodendron.
- Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron – The Essentials
- Why Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants Is Necessary
- How Often Do Heartleaf Philodendron Plants Need Repotting?
- Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting
- The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants
- What Tools Will I Need When Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants
- Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
- How to Repot Your Heartleaf Philodendron Plant
- Post Repotting Care
- Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants FAQs
- Wrapping Up
Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron – The Essentials
Heartleaf Philodendron plants are fast growers, requiring repotting every two years. When roots begin to grow through the drainage holes, or when the soil breaks down, repot into a container one or two sizes up from the original. Repot in spring to take advantage of the growing season using a soil mix that matches the one from the original pot.
Why Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants Is Necessary
Every long-living Heartleaf Philodendron will need repotting at some point. There are several reasons why each contributes to plant health or growth.
The first reason to repot, which most houseplant parents are concerned with, is growth. Heartleaf Philodendron plants may grow slower indoors than outdoors, but they will eventually take up all the available space in the pot.
Once the roots start circling the bottom of the pot, popping out above the soil line, or creeping through drainage holes, you’ll know the plant is rootbound. If the roots don’t have space to grow, the top half of the plant can’t grow either.
Giving the plant more space by repotting will do wonders for growth. It also gives you the chance to untangle roots that may constrict each other, limiting water and nutrient uptake problems.
Extremely slow-growing plants will be happy in the same pot for several years without outgrowing the space. However, that doesn’t mean the soil they’re sitting in will still be suitable for solid growth.
Over time, soil begins to degrade in the same pot. The structure slowly breaks down, compacting in places and holding far less water in others.
Nutrients also wash out of the soil as you water over time. Even if you add additional fertilizer, degraded soil cannot hold onto the nutrients, simply washing them out through the drainage holes rather than delivering them to the roots where needed.
After 3-4 years (2-3 years for smaller pots), the plant will need new soil to keep the roots happy. Depending on the plant, you may even be able to use the same pot, simply cleaning the old soil off the roots and repotting it into the new soil.
Pests & Diseases
Although you try your best to keep our houseplants pest and disease-free, you will likely encounter some insidious problem at some point.
Repotting is an essential part of resolving the problem if that problem is soil-borne or spread – as is the case with fungus gnats, mold, or root rot.
Pests and diseases often reside in the soil, enjoying the darkness and moist conditions. Although there are some fungicides and insecticides that may help, they also have the potential to harm your plants in the process. Repotting is a far safer control method.
In the case of root rot, repotting also lets you get a closer look at the roots to remove any damage. The problem will continue without cutting off spreading to other roots until the plant is completely dead.
Repotting lets you completely replace the soil, clean off the roots, and eliminate the problem for good.
A less ‘necessary’ reason to repot, depending on the plant, is propagating. However, it is a fascinating gardening activity, allowing you to grow even more of your favorite plants at no cost.
Most gardeners choose to propagate by cuttings when it comes to the Heartleaf Philodendron. But, if your plant is bushy and lush, you can also propagate by division.
Simply remove the plant from its original pot, pull apart the roots, gather the stems into smaller clumps, and repot into as many pots as required. It’s quite literally getting two plants for the price of one.
How Often Do Heartleaf Philodendron Plants Need Repotting?
Heartleaf Philodendron plants typically need repotting every two to three years.
Pay attention to your plant to determine when to move it to a larger container. You may need to repot more often if you notice the following:
- Roots pushing up through the surface of the soil
- Roots protruding from the drainage holes in the container
- Roots become tightly meshed or form a dense mat
- Slower than normal growth (not due to environmental conditions)
- Problems such as root rot, fungus gnats, or mold
Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting
Repotting can stress your Heartleaf Philodendron and cause transplant shock. For the plant to bounce back quickly, it’s best to repot during the peak growing season. This will allow the plant to recover and ensure the roots grow and establish themselves in the new soil as fast as possible.
Repot your Heartleaf Philodendron from early spring once the weather warms through to mid-summer. Avoid repotting when temperatures are high, as the plants will stop growing in temperatures above 90F.
If you live in a warmer region or have a suitable warm room in your home, you can repot in late winter too. The root growth should kick in just in time for spring.
For more, see our in-depth guide to Heartleaf Philodendron temperature and humidity tolerances.
The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants
Heartleaf philodendron plants prefer a light, chunky potting mix that includes peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite and has a neutral to slightly acidic pH range from 6 to 7. Most pre-mixed potting soils will suffice if they include a rich nutrient source.
You can make your own heartleaf philodendron potting mix at home. To create a light, well-draining heartleaf philodendron potting mix, combine two parts peat moss and one part each of perlite and vermiculite. Add a few handfuls of used coffee grounds or slow-release fertilizer pellets to improve the mix’s richness.
When mixing, it’s best to add a bit of water because the moisture will help hold your new potting mix together.
Just be careful not to create a wet mix that will need to sit and dry out before it’s safe for your moisture-sensitive plant.
For more, see our in-depth guide to watering Heartleaf Philodendrons.
If you want a less messy and hands-on process, you can always plant your heartleaf philodendron in a pre-mixed potting mix that’s ready to use from the bag.
Heartleaf philodendrons do well in most all-purpose, soilless potting mixes. The following are great options:
- Bloomscape Potting Soil
- Dirtco. House & Tropical Plant Potting Soil
- Soil Sunrise 100% All Natural Heart Leaf Plant Potting Mix
- Creative Plant Mama Philodendron Growing Medium
- Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix
If necessary, you can improve drainage by adding additional vermiculite or perlite and adding nutrients with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.
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What Tools Will I Need When Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants
Depending on the size of your Heartleaf Philodendron, repotting can be tricky. Make sure you have these tools prepared before you get started:
- Enough soil mix to fill the entire pot.
- Floor covering to gather the old soil and prevent mess.
- A new pot with plenty of drainage holes.
- A friend to help you lift the tree if it is too large or heavy.
Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
Heartleaf Philodendron are hardy plants that can thrive in a variety of containers, but here are a few guidelines for choosing a new pot:
- Terra cotta: An interior design go-to. Not only do they look great, but they also draw moisture away from the soil, preventing root rot.
- Fabric: Fabric pots are the environmentally friendly favorite. They are also great for drainage but can get messy indoors as water escapes from all sides.
- Ceramic: Another popular design option but can be pricey. Ensure your ceramic pot has enough drainage holes, or plant in a plastic pot and rest it inside the ceramic container as a pot cover.
- Wood: Provides a stunning natural look that suits the cascading vines of the Heartleaf Philodendron. However, they do degrade quickly due to moisture exposure.
- Recycled containers: Almost anything can be a Heartleaf Philodendron pot with a few drainage holes drilled in the bottom.
How to Repot Your Heartleaf Philodendron Plant
Repotting your plant is not a complicated process. Here’s how you do it.
Assemble your tools and new pot
Lightly water the soil a day before repotting to help make the removal a little easier and help prepare the plant to cope with the stress of repotting.
Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the soil and release the plant. This is your opportunity to check the roots for any signs of disease. Trim away any soft or diseased roots.
You may also need to open up any roots that are packed very tightly. Make four vertical incisions to loosen the ball. This will help encourage new root growth.
Place around three inches of potting soil in the bottom of the new pot. Holding it steady and straight up, fill around the gaps with the remaining soil mix. If you want to support any branches with a stake, install it now. Once the plant is in place and topped up with soil, pat down firmly to get rid of any air pockets.
Give your newly potted philodendron a good watering – water until you can see it trickling out the draining holes.
If the soil settles more after watering, add a bit more soil to the pot.
Post Repotting Care
Always water your Heartleaf Philodendron plant immediately after repotting to limit shock and encourage new root growth. Place the plant back in the same spot it was in initially to prevent any further stress due to changes in conditions. Heartleaf Philodendron loves bright, indirect light conditions, so aim for a suitable spot in your home where possible. Somewhere close by to a south or east-facing window protected by sheer curtains would be ideal.
Any signs of stress, such as yellowing or wilting leaves, should fix themselves after a few weeks. Don’t change your care routine during this time, as it will only further the problem. After about a month, if it has not resolved itself, look for the cause and rectify it.
Repotting Heartleaf Philodendron Plants FAQs
Should You Soak Your Heartleaf Philodendron Before Repotting?
No – soaking is not necessary. However, to make repotting easier, give the plant some water the day before you repot.
Should You Water Your Heartleaf Philodendron Immediately After Repotting?
Yes, give the plant a thorough watering after repotting. If the soil settles, add more soil to the new pot.
Do Heartleaf Philodendrons Like Big Pots?
Heartleaf Philodendrons actually prefer smaller pots. Don’t go up any more than two inches when repotting.
Why Is Your Heartleaf Philodendron Limp After Repotting?
Your plant may be suffering from transplant shock. Ensure that you maintain the same conditions as before it was transplanted.
Should You Mist Your Heartleaf Philodendron After Repotting?
While this isn’t one of the essential steps to repotting, a heartleaf philodendron likes to be misted from time to time, so it won’t hurt. Just be careful not to oversaturate the leaves which can lead to unwanted pests and diseases.
Should You Fertilize Your Heartleaf Philodendron After Repotting?
It’s best to hold off fertilizing for at least ten weeks after repotting to allow the plant to establish itself naturally without the added nutrient boost.
You’re not going to need to repot your heartleaf philodendron very often but when you do, follow the steps detailed above to ensure a smooth and shock-free process.