My Large Plant Is Dying After Repotting

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Moving from one home to another can be hard on plants. Though most container plants need repotting from time to time to allow for expanding roots, transplant can stress the plant. It happens often enough that there is a name for it: transplant shock.


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Transplant shock can cause a decline in a large plant, but it isn't necessarily lethal. The more you learn about this issue, the easier it is to restore the health of your potted plant today and avoid it in the future.

Repot Carefully and Correctly

When you move a big plant into a larger container, it's important to know what you are doing. Generally, it is best to repot plants in the spring when they are coming out of winter slowdown. The plant is getting ready to grow, and the new pot should give it more room to expand.


When it comes time to repot, gather your materials: a new pot and new soil. Don't make the mistake of moving a plant from a tiny pot to a huge one. The new pot should be no more than an inch or two bigger than the last. Be sure it has proper drainage holes and fill it with soil that is appropriate for the plant.


Coax the plant from its old pot, trying hard not to damage the roots. Clip off any that look mushy and untangle wrapped roots. Wet the new soil before using it and then water the plant well when the repotting is finished.

Understand Transplant Shock

Transplant shock in plants usually occurs when the repotting is not done carefully. If the roots are damaged or stems are broken during the transplant, the plant will lack the energy it needs to get going again. This will more often be the case with big plants than with small.


If the new container is too big, the plant must fight to get established. The plant roots are surrounded by a sea of wet soil and can't pull the water from it very quickly. That means that the roots stay in wet soil too long and may rot. If the plant doesn't get enough water, it will suffer water stress and start shutting down.


Treat Transplant Shock

If you see your plant suffering after transplant, you can usually help the plant make it through. Water the plant regularly and be sure that the drainage holes remain open to eliminate the excess water. Situate the plant in its old, familiar location so that it gets the same lighting and temperature conditions it previously experienced. If necessary, trim back the plant with clean, sharp pruners so that it can focus on regrowing its roots instead of feeding its leaves. Be patient. It may take your plant a few weeks to get established.