Repotting your plants can be tricky, but we have a few tips to make it a success. Proper repotting is key to avoid stressing out your plants. If your plant is overgrown or you want to switch up the decor, we feel that. Let’s take a look at what to know before you repot.
If you see one or a combination of these signs, you’ll know it’s time to repot:
- Roots are growing through the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter.
- Roots are pushing the plant up, out of the planter.
- Plant is growing slower than normal (different than dormant).
- Plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily.
- Plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings.
- Noticeable salt and mineral build up on the plant or planter.
What You Need for repotting
- Your houseplant
- Newspaper (for easy clean up)
- Potting mix according to the type of plant you are going to repot.
- A watering can or spray bottle
- Scissors or pruners
Prepare your plant for repotting
- Water your plant thoroughly a day or two before you plan to repot.
- Pre-moisten the new potting soil if it feels dry (optional).
- Turn your plant sideways, hold it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of its current container until the plant slides out (you can give it a bit of help with a couple gentle tugs on the base of the stems).
How to Repot a Plant
1. Choose a slightly larger pot.
- If you’re repotting your plant into a new pot, choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and 1 to 2 inches deeper than the plant’s current pot.
- If you choose a pot that has dimensions larger than this, the roots will need to grow into the pot before the plant itself can begin to grow.
2. Choose a pot with drainage holes.
- When you’re selecting a new pot, make sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain. Even if you select a pot that is the correct size, you still don’t want water sitting in the bottom of it and causing root rot.
3. Soak the new pot.
- If you decide to use a terra cotta pot for repotting, make sure you soak the pot in water for a few hours before you begin the repotting process. Terra cotta is pretty porous, which means it soaks up water easily. You don’t want your pot stealing your plant’s water.
4. Cover the drainage holes.
- It’s important to have a pot with drainage holes, but you also want to make sure soil can’t escape through them. Cover the drainage holes with something that will allow water to pass through, like paper towel or small-sized stone.
5. Put a few inches of soil in the new pot.
- You’ll need a base of soil under the plant so the roots have something to grow into.
- Don’t overfill the pot before you put the new plant in – the roots need something to grow into, but you also want them to be down far enough into the pot that they don’t stick out of the top.
6. Remove the plant from its current pot.
- Place your hand over the top of the pot, and place your thumb and index finger around the plant’s stem. Then turn the pot on its side and gently work the plant back and forth until it comes out.
- If the plant won’t come out after several tries, you can use a knife to cut around the edge of the soil and try again.
7. Prune the rootball.
- To make sure your plant takes to its new pot, you’ll want to remove some of the old rootball to expose fresher roots to the new soil in the new pot.
8. Place plant in new pot.
- As you place the plant into its new pot, center it by looking down on it from above and making sure it’s not closer to any one side of the pot than the others.
- You also want to make sure it’s sitting upright. While looking at the plant from the side, spin the pot and make sure the plant isn’t tilted in any one direction.
9. Fill the pot with soil.
- Once you’ve placed the plant in the new pot, you’ll want to put soil into the pot around the rootball. Don’t overfill the pot – the soil line should be about 1” below the top of the pot.
10. Water the plant.
- Once your plant is in its new pot and you’ve filled the pot with soil, water the plant. It will help the plant’s roots soak up the nutrients from the soil and ensure that the plant takes to the new pot.