How to Repot a Houseplant?

How to Repot a Houseplant
Photo by DomPixabay

If you’re starting plant care, the thought of how to repot a houseplant could make you nervous. Even though several durable houseplants are available, such as air plants, Yuca plants, spider plants, and aloe, a new planter or pot will likely be required. 

We’re giving you this simple, comprehensive guide on repotting your plants. Over time, some houseplants just outgrow their containers. Usually, you should repot your plants every 12-18 months. 

However, if your plant life is slow-growing, like cacti, you may only need to do it every few years. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process and show you the best practices of how to repot a houseplant.

What is Houseplant Repotting?

Houseplant repotting is a type of routine care required for the continued health of the plant. This activity allows you to upgrade a plant’s pot size, replace the potting soil, or both. 

The regularity of repotting depends on how quickly the plant develops and how quickly the pot or soil mixture deteriorates. The roots of a plant cannot effectively absorb water and nutrients when it outgrows its existing pot. 

A plant will stop growing, and its leaves may even start to rot. You may swap the pot for a bigger one to accommodate a growing plant. 

It’s crucial to replace the soil every year, even if a plant hasn’t outgrown its pot, because as a plant grows, its roots deplete the potting soil of nutrients.

All You Need to Know About Potting Containers

There are a lot of options when it comes to potting containers. Clay or plastic? Is there a drainage hole or not? Shallow or deep? Large or small? Your plant needs, tastes, and gardening techniques ultimately determine how to repot a houseplant.

Plants that prefer dry conditions are frequently grown in clay or terracotta pots because they quickly absorb excess moisture in the soil.

On the other side, plastic pots don’t have any advantages for controlling moisture; hence they are typically chosen for plants that like moist environments. 

Remember that terracotta pots require much more frequent watering than plastic for plants that prefer dry conditions. Also, plastic will probably need less frequent watering than terracotta or clay for plants that prefer moist conditions.

To avoid waterlogging and root rot, most gardeners often choose pots with drainage holes for their plants. However, that doesn’t mean you must ignore those adorable ornamental pots without drainage holes. 

By placing your potted plant inside to cover the plastic or terracotta pot your plant is housed in, you can easily use these beautiful pots as pot covers. 

Some plants require more space than others when picking the right pot size. However, as a general rule, you should aim to use a potting container at least one to two inches larger than its previous pot.

How to Repot a Houseplant?

How to repot a houseplant may be a simple procedure if you have the appropriate equipment. Cover your table with old newspaper or repot outside to prevent a mess inside your home. To repot your plant, follow these steps:

Prepare the New Pot

Add a layer of fresh potting soil to the pot’s bottom. Select the proper soil for your plants, such as general potting soil for common houseplants or cactus potting soil for succulents.

Remove the Plant From the Old Pot

Avoid damaging too many roots while removing the plant from its previous place. If the plant is in a plastic container, you may use a gentle push to assist the plant slip out. 

You may use a small trowel or shovel to remove the dirt around the edges of the plant’s huge terra-cotta container.

When you’re ready, gently remove the whole plant from its present container by grasping the main stem around the base of the plant. 

You should note that as an alternative, you may cut through the plastic of a root-bound plant in a plastic pot with a pair of scissors to minimize root damage.

Loosen Compressed Roots

Loosening compressed roots is one of the amazing procedures on how to repot a houseplant. Shake off some old soil around the roots, then place the plant on a table or other level surface. If you see that the roots are compressed, gently detangle as much of the root ball as you can. 

Use pruning shears to remove the spindly root system ends or any roots that are rotting or otherwise seem unhealthy if you have a root-bound plant with long, thin roots.

Transfer the Plant to the New Pot

With one hand supporting the plant, lower the roots into the new pot until their tops flush with the pot’s lip. Use the fresh potting soil to fill in the gaps around the plant’s roots; gently pack it down. 

Avoid compacting the soil too firmly around the roots since this can deprive the plant of the oxygen it needs to grow. Keep filling in around the plant until the earth is even with the top of the roots. 

A few gentle taps on the bottom of the pot on the ground will help the soil settle even further. If additional soil is required, add it.

Water the Plant

Water the soil until it drains completely through the bottom drainage holes after repotting your plant. The soil’s top layer should be damp but not soaked. 

Add extra potting soil and water it again for severely depleted soil watering. Don’t drown the plant or allow it to sit in a puddle of water.

Reasons to Repot Houseplants

Nutrient Boost

Most of your houseplant’s nutrition will come from the soil. With continued use, the soil’s fertility gradually declines.

If your plant has been doing well for a while, you may see signs of distress, such as tiny, oddly colored leaves or overall unhappiness, after a few seasons of growth. 

You may give your plant a nutritional boost by re-potting (or potting up) with fresh soil, even if you’ve been fertilizing it frequently.

Better Watering

Have you ever noticed that water seeps out of the bottom of a pot almost instantly after being poured in? If the roots of your plant are clinging desperately to the sides of the container, the plant is root bound. 

This makes it easier to irrigate a root-bound plant by creating channels for the water to go through. You can assist your plant to acquire the water it needs to satisfy its thirst and leaves lush by repotting it.

Room to breath

Houseplants share the human need for personal space. Freeing plants from root confinement might also encourage new growth. 

Re-potting allows plants to flourish and grow to their full potential. Your plant will be happier and more productive if its root system is healthy and expanding.

Disease Prevention

Disease prevention is one of the procedures on how to repot a houseplant. Have you ever drowned a plant? Have no fear.

Sure, that’s something that happens. It’s a problem called “root rot,” which manifests as dark brown or even black roots due to overwatering. 

At this stage, not only are they unable to absorb water, but they are also susceptible to disease). Roots damaged by overwatering may be helped back to health by being clipped. This is also the first line of defense against fungal and bacterial diseases.

Divide and Conquer

When plant populations become unmanageable, many may be split to create new plants and make more room. When it’s time to re-pot your plants, you may use this as an opportunity to separate suckers and pups into their own or potted plants.

How to Tell If Your Houseplant Needs Repotting

Are you unsure about when to repot your plants? If your plant is starting to show signs of being pot-bound or root-bound, it is because it is struggling to grow in its current container.

When the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container, it is time to repot. 

Another sign that it’s time to repot is when water runs straight through the pot instead of being absorbed. To examine the roots, you should turn the pot on its side, gently press or tap the outside of the container to release the root ball, and then slip the whole plant out. 

If the roots are tightly intertwined, you have a root-bound plant, and there is very little space between them.

Another sign is if the plant has gotten too top-heavy for its container and topples easily; the plant wilts shortly after watering; the plant produces new leaves in diminishing sizes, or the plant’s bottom leaves have turned yellow. 

Infested plants may benefit from being repotted. Potting soil is a hiding place for insects like fungus gnats, so turning it over regularly might help keep them away.


Although it may be daunting to repot your plants even after knowing how to repot a houseplant, doing so is essential to their long-term health.

Remember these expert tricks when your plant outgrows its current space and watch it flourish in its new surroundings.

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