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To repot a Swiss cheese plant (Monstera) isn’t really any different from repotting other house plants. The keys are to choose a pot that’s large enough and has plenty of drainage holes; to use the right potting mix, and to not pack everything in too tightly. Here’s my step-by-step guide to doing all this to get the most out of your Monstera plant.
I have personally done this to plants up to 6ft, so I have experience with both repotting smaller and larger specimen plants.
When to repot a Swiss cheese plant
You should repot a Monstera plant when:
- You bring it home from the nursery or garden centre
- Every two years, maybe once a year for the first couple of years
- It’s become root-bound, although you can just top-dress the plant for a year or two
The best time of year for this repotting task is in the spring before the plant has its growth spurt.
Choose the right pot for repotting your Monstera swiss cheese plant
The new pot should be several inches wider than the existing one. It should also be three or so inches deeper to allow for the growth of the root system. Making sure that there are plenty of drainage holes in the base of the pot is the main concern. Choose a plate or another container to hold this pot, so it doesn’t leak all over your floor.
If you plan on growing your cheese plant as a climbing plant, chose a pot that’s taller than it is wide. If you want your plant as a hanging plant, look for a shallower pot. I personally grow them into large specimen plant.
Choose the best potting soil
Monsteras grow best in moist but well-drained soils. Potting soil mixed with peat is good for this plant. Don’t choose a mix that has bark or compost in it, as these soils can become too dense and water-logged, leading to root rot or what I often refer to as sweating leaves.
Get the new pot ready
If you’re concerned about your new pot tipping over with the height and weight of your cheese plant, place a few large stones in the base of the pot. But be careful not to cover the drainage holes. I actually like to put a thin layer of gravel as this both adds weight and helps stop the holes from getting blocked up.
Fill the new pot about one-quarter full of the new potting soil. If you’re growing your plant upright, add a pole in the pot for the plant to grow up. Mix the potting mix up with your hand to ensure that it’s all loose and light.
Prepare the plant
Remove the plant from the old pot to sheets of newspaper on the floor. Don’t pull on the plant to get it out. Turn the old pot over and tap on the pot or jiggle it. Depending on the size of the cheese plant, you may need two people for this.
Shake all the old soil from the plant; get it as clean as possible without harming the root system.
Pot the plant
Place the plant in the new pot around the support pole. Fill any gaps with new potting soil. If the plant is flopping all over the place, attach the stems to the pole with twine or twist ties.
For hanging plants, place the plant in the pot and arrange the stems to fall over the edge.
Tap the potting mix down lightly and add more if necessary to bring it up to just over the root ball. Don’t tamp it down so hard that you compress and compact the soil.
Water the plant well
Take the new pot (with the plant) over to the sink and water it from the top of the soil. Let all the excess water flow out of the pot.
The new potting soil has enough nutrients for the plant for the first few months. Fertilise after this as long as it’s spring or summer. The plant doesn’t need any extra nutrients in its slow seasons of autumn or winter.
Your plant’s growth may seem to slow down, and some bad signs (e.g. yellow leaves) may appear after you repot it. As long as you’ve placed the pot in the best environment for the plant (see How to care for a Swiss cheese plant), this is probably just shock because of the changes to the plant’s environment. Just care for it as normal and give it time to settle down and recover from the changes.