My friend recently sent me a picture of a pink aglaonema she had just purchased for a great price at her local Fresh Thyme. I couldn’t resist. I ran out immediately, bought one for myself (hopefully my husband doesn’t read this) and went back to get one for my daughter. She loves pink plants.
When I bought them, I felt they were a bit over potted, meaning they were in a pot that was too large for the plant. So, how do you know when you should “down-pot” a plant? Here is why I thought it was over potted and what I did to rectify the problem.
Is the plant proportionate to the pot it is in?
First, when I looked at it, I felt the plant was too small for the pot it is in. In other words, the plant is quite disproportionate to the size of the pot. This is a 6″ pot and the plant should be taken down to a 4″ pot, in my opinion.
Check the root ball
I took the plant out of the 6″ pot and as you can see above, there aren’t too many roots showing. In fact, I only see a couple of small roots. And the potting medium was a bit too wet. Read more about aglaonema roots here.
As you can see there isn’t much of a root system even with most of the potting medium removed. It is definitely enough roots to support the plant, but not enough to use all the water that would be contained in the surrounding potting medium. Does that make sense? Too much wet potting medium around the roots leads to root rot and the eventual collapse of the plant.
Check the stems
(I apologize for the pictures. I took them with my phone and didn’t check them until I had already potted the plant.) I noticed that the potting medium was also a bit too high on the stems. Some of the bottom leaves were buried in the medium. (Read more about that problem here.) When I re-potted it, I planted it so that the stems were above the medium line.
I used a new potting medium, which is one that I mix myself. The potting medium above is dry, but I moistened it before planting. It is better to use a moistened medium when potting up plants. If you buy a potting mix that seems like it will be too heavy (retain too much moisture for too long), add some perlite to the mix.
Finding a new pot
So, what is the answer to a plant in a too-large pot? Down-pot the plant. I took it from a 6″ pot to a 4″ pot.
A better fit
The plant from above shows the plant is in a better size pot and the reason I had to run out and buy it. Isn’t that a gorgeous pink plant?!
I also washed the extra soil off the stems and planted it at the right level.
Don’t be afraid to down pot a plant if you feel it has too much soil around the root system. It is better for the plant to be under potted than over potted, for sure. You may have to water more often, but that is better than your plant roots rotting with too much wet potting medium suffocating them. Have you ever down-potted a plant? Or wish you had…..?