Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
Searcy, Ark. –
Houseplants periodically require repotting to keep them healthy and growing. But few
houseplants will need repotting more frequently than once a year, and most will only
need repotting once every three to five years.
The use of some mineral soil in the potting helps reduce the need for frequent repotting.
Houseplants will tell you when repotting is needed.
Look for these things:
Repotting almost always encourages new growth, so it is best to repot in late winter
just as the natural light level is increasing and the plants are awakening from their
winter doldrums. Most plants grow as large as their root system will allow. So, as
a rule, the larger the pot, the larger the root mass and the larger the plant. But
keep in mind that large plants require a lot more room inside the home and are more
difficult to move outside during the summer.
Frequently, it is better to be a bit stingy when it comes to repotting plants. Keeping
them a bit rootbound keeps them smaller and easier to manage. Pot size is usually
increased incrementally; begin with small pots and gradually increase pot size as
the plant grows.
Yes. When repotting, cut any circling roots you find. If dead, sloughing roots are
present, be sure to remove these.
Replace as much of the old soil as possible without overly disturbing the roots. When
you replant, make sure the top of the root ball is at the same position as in the
original pot. Don’t plant it deeper.
About anything – plastic, clay, ceramic, metal, or wood – can be used for plant containers.
However, one requirement is critical. The container must have a drainage hole at the
bottom of the pot. If the container does not have a drainage hole in the bottom, it is almost impossible
to water the plant without either over or under watering.
The decorative containers you find in all of the shops that lack drainage holes are
intended as sleeves for a regular pot, not as a planting container. If you tend to
over water, you may have better luck with clay pots because plant roots stay drier.
If you consistently find yourself under watering, plastic or ceramic pots may be the
best choice because they lose less water than clay pots.
The plants are completely at your mercy, and if they survive or die depends on the
care you give them. Because water needs are immediate and ongoing, proper watering
will be your first test. People seem about equally divided between those prone to
over water or under water.
The kind of plant, the time of year, the size of the plant, weather conditions, light
levels, the amount of air movement, the relative humidity and a host of other large
and small factors all influence water uptake. Your goal is to interpret these conditions
and get it just right – neither over or under doing the job. The appearance of the
plant and your finger are the best guides to water needs.
Most plants do best when the soil dries slightly between waterings but not to the
point that the plant wilts. An occasional wilting will not hurt most plants, but some
plants, such as schefflera, croton and aphelandrea, begin dropping lower leaves if
this happens too often. Dracaenas and wandering Jews often have burned leaf tips if
allowed to get too dry.
Plants that are continually maintained on the too dry side usually have little new
growth and often have dull, unhealthy looking foliage. If plants are kept too wet,
root growth will be reduced, and many of the same symptoms mentioned above occur.
For example, wilting and leaf drop are often the first signs of extreme over watering.
Stick your finger in the soil before watering, and only water when it is dry to the
touch. Both wintertime heating and summertime air conditioning dehumidify the atmosphere,
so plants may need more water during the heating and cooling seasons than the rest
of the year. Your finger is the best method of determining water needs, not the day
of the week. Water gadgets that measure soil moisture are available, but they are
of little practical value and are no better than your finger.
When you water, apply enough so that about 10 percent of the water given to the pot
runs out the drainage hole in the bottom of the container. If the soil has become
really dry since the last watering, apply half the normal amount of water, and let
that soak in. Then, come back in a few minutes and water a second or third time to
make sure the soil ball is completely wetted.
One of the common causes of plant death occurs when the flowerpot is inserted inside
a decorative container. These are handy for keeping down spills and protecting the
floor and carpet, but they can be a death trap for the plant. Any water that runs
through the pot begins to accumulate in the bottom of the decorative container. After
a few waterings, the plant will be in water and the soil ball will be completely saturated.
Anaerobic rot sets in, and before long the roots will become a stinking mass of organic
To avoid this scenario, pour any excess water out of the pot soon after watering.
If the pot is too large and this is not possible, put a layer of gravel or stones
at the bottom of the pot to elevate the pot off the bottom of the container. Then,
stick a bamboo pole beside the pot to the bottom of the decorative container to use
as a dipstick to test the depth of the water level. If too much water is found, delay
Water quality sometimes becomes an issue with houseplants. Municipal water supplies
are always acceptable for watering houseplants. Chlorine added to the water during
purification has no adverse effects on plants.
Some well water sources around Arkansas may have high salt content, have high carbonate
levels or be very hard. Because the salt residue remains behind (and builds up) as
the plant loses water through evaporation, high salt content water is a problem for
houseplants. Plants grown using water with high salt levels show a white, crusty scale
at the top of the soil and eventually stop growing as the level becomes too high.
Hard water and water with high carbonate levels also lead to salt deposits on the
soil surface. Watering with rainwater or some surface water source should solve the
If a salt-based water softener is used in the home, water for houseplants should be
collected before it enters the water softener unit.
Houseplants are not heavy feeders and do not require a lot of fertilizer for maintenance.
However, they are grown in artificial potting mixes that have almost no nutrients.
So if you expect to see them continue to grow, they must receive occasional fertilization.
Keep in mind that poor growth can be caused by a number of factors – low light, wrong
temperature, wrong watering regime, etc. – and adding extra fertilizer in an attempt
to force the plant to grow will be completely ineffective if the cause of poor growth
is not a lack of nutrition.
Most new plants have sufficient nutrients from the greenhouse where they were grown
to sustain them for two to three months. When the nutrients are depleted, the plant
will only grow if fertilized. Plants respond best to fertilization in late winter
and spring as growing conditions are improving.
During the fall and winter when light is low and conditions are less ideal, reduce
or withhold fertilization completely to force the plant into a kind of rest period
For convenience sake, most prefer to use one of the many kinds of fertilizer products
designed specifically for houseplants. These come in several different analyses, with
the most common types having a 1:1:1 ratio of nitrogen to phosphate to potassium.
A commonly available analysis is one containing 20-20-20. Some products are still
seen with the 1:2:1 ratio, with analyses such as 15:30:15 being fairly common. Most
current data suggests that the extra phosphorus is not needed and may actually encourage
stem stretching and weak growth.
Some of these products are supplemented with trace minerals, which can be important
if a plant is grown long term in a completely artificial potting mix. If some soil
has been added to the potting mix, the presence of trace minerals is not important.
Highly soluble fertilizer salts that are dissolved in water are the easiest fertilizers
to use. These are convenient, easy to use and give good results, provided they are
applied according to recommendations.
Most manufacturers recommend fertilizing once every two weeks, but monthly feeding
is usually adequate. In the wintertime, fertilization should be curtailed.
Several types of slow-release fertilizer products are available for houseplants as
well as various kinds of slowly available organic fertilizers. These products provide
the convenience of continual feeding for three or four months without the hassle of
measuring and mixing. However, they tend to produce less dramatic results than liquid
fertilization. A good strategy might be to use the water-soluble fertilizer during
the brighter days of summer and the slow-release products during the darker days of
By Sherri Sanders White County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of AgricultureWhite County Cooperative Extension Service2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143 (501) 268-5394 firstname.lastname@example.org