Repotting Stress: What To Do For Repot Stress Of Container Plants

Wilting Plant In A Pink Container
repot stress
(Image credit: PrairieArtProject)

Every plant eventually needs to be repotted as they grow out of their containers once they get larger. Most plants will thrive in their new homes, but those that are transplanted incorrectly can suffer from repot plant stress. This can cause dropped or yellowing leaves, failure to thrive, or plant wilting. You can cure a plant that's suffering from repotting stress, but it takes care and time for it to heal.

Transplant Shock from Repotting

When a plant suffers from wilted leaves after repotting, along with a host of other symptoms, it's usually caused by the way it was treated during the transplant process. One of the worst culprits is repotting the plant at the wrong time. Plants are especially vulnerable right before they begin to bloom, so always avoid transplanting in the spring. 

Other causes for transplant shock from repotting are using a different type of potting soil than the plant previously lived in, placing the transplanted plant under different lighting conditions after transplant, and even leaving the roots exposed to air for any length of time during the transplant process.

Treating Repot Plant Stress

What to do for repot stress if your plant has already been damaged? The best way to save your plant and help it recover is to give it the ultimate pampering treatment.

  • Make sure the new pot has sufficient drainage holes. If it doesn't, try drilling a hole or two while the plant is still potted to avoid moving the plant unnecessarily.
  • Place the plant in the exact same spot it used to inhabit so that it gets the same temperature and lighting conditions it had before.
  • Give the plant a dose of water-soluble, all-purpose plant food.
  • Finally, nip off all dead leaves and stem ends to make room for new parts to grow.