Do you know when or how to properly repot a plant? Many of us wait until it is bursting out of its pot, pull it out, put it in a new pot, add some soil and hope it grows.
Here are a few signs that your plant needs a new home:
- The plant simply looks like it is too big for its pot
- The roots are growing out of the drainage holes
- Water is sitting on the top and not absorbing
- The soil is dried out or looks like it is disintegrating
- It’s been years since you repotted it
Whether you are transitioning to a new pot because your flowers are flourishing in the springtime weather or you just want to freshen up your decor, we want to give your house plants the best shot at survival in their new home. Follow the seven simple steps and you will be admiring the handiwork of your green thumb in no time.
Before you get to work, let’s make sure you have all the supplies you need.
- New pot – Be sure to pick a new pot that is slightly larger and has drainage holes.
- Porous material – You will need these to cover the drainage holes in your new pot, coffee filters work great.
- Potting mix – You will need extra soil when repotting and the added nutrients will help your plant grow.
- Trowel – A trowel looks like a mini shovel and comes in handy when trying to remove the plant.
- Gloves – While these aren’t necessary, gardening gloves will keep the dirt from getting under your nails.
- Scissors or a sharp knife – You might need to cut off excess roots so keep a sharp knife or scissors handy.
- Watering can – While this isn’t necessary, a watering can will make watering the plant easier on you.
How to Repot a Plant
Step 1: Choose a larger pot.
The main reason for repotting is because the plant has begun to outgrow its current home. You will want to give the roots plenty of room so they can support the beautiful part of the plant you get to enjoy. Make sure the new pot is not only wider, but also deeper. We recommend giving the plant at least an extra inch, depending on size.
Pro tip: Make sure your new pot has drainage holes. Otherwise your plant might be sitting in water and rotting.
Step 2: Cover the drainage holes with a porous material like a coffee filter.
This prevents soil from falling out but still allows water to pass through.
Pro tip: If you opt for a terra cotta pot, soak it ahead of time. Terra cotta absorbs moisture, and you don’t want it to dry out the plant.
Step 3: Layer soil in the new pot.
Before you place the new plant inside, add a base layer of soil so the roots have new space to grow. Add enough so that your plant has room without spilling over the top.
Step 4: Water the plant.
Before you repot it, water it thoroughly. This will help keep the plant healthy and keeps the rootball together.
Step 5: Remove the plant from it’s old pot.
Rather than pulling the plant out, turn it upside down while placing your hand over the top of the pot. Rotate the plant a few inches in both directions to loosen it up and allow it to fall out. You can use a knife to help separate the plant and the pot.
Step 6: Prune the rootball and untangle old roots.
Pruning older roots will help the plant flourish in its new pot. Remove roots that are growing out of the core rootball. Now that you only have the new, healthy roots to deal with, untangle them so they grow outward instead of internally.
Step 7: Place the plant in it’s new pot.
Make sure the plant is centered and upright then press it firmly into it’s new home and add soil. Once you have patted it down, water it to help settle the soil.
Step 8: Add a decorative touch.
Don’t forget to place your plant in a decorative basket of your choosing! Perfect for holidays, festivities or as a decorative touch for just about any space.
Now that your plant is potted, make sure you continue to care for it properly. We listed a few tips below for the first few weeks after repotting. Once you get past this period, return to caring for them as you did before.
- Water frequently. Your plant will need a little extra water as it adjusts. The roots may begin to grow and will need the extra moisture.
- Keep away from full sunlight as it will be more sensitive during this period.
- Hold off on fertilizing for about a month.
You can find our complete guide to repotting a plant with the step-by-step instructions below—print it out, share it with friends or save it for a later project. Give your plants the best shot at survival and rest assured you’re repotting correctly. Happy gardening!