A Basic Guide To Repotting Houseplants

First, congratulations are in order! You’ve hit the 12 or 18 month mark because it’s finally time to repot your houseplant. By now, you know what your plant needs and what it can do without. To help it thrive further, you can follow our basic guide for repotting houseplants!

Before we get started, it is important to note that repotting does not always mean transferring your plant into a new pot or planter. Sometimes, repotting means giving your plant fresh nutrients by changing its potting mix! This is good news if you like your current planter.

So how do you know it’s time to repot your plant? Here are some of the tell-tale signs.

  1. An overgrowth of roots - If you notice roots growing out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, or if your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole and you notice that the roots are pushing the plant upward and out of the planter, then it’s definitely time to repot your plant.
  2. Slower growth - If your plant is growing slower than its normal rate, it might be time to change your soil and give your plant new nutrients.
  3. Imbalance - If the top part of your plant becomes too lush and heavy, the entire plant might start to tip or fall over. This is a clear sign that you need to move to a new pot. Another way to check is if the top part of your plant is up to three times bigger than the bottom part.
  4. Dries faster - If you’ve been watering your plant more often, it means that the soil is getting dry more quickly. Get your plant fresh nutrients by repotting!
  5. Salt and mineral build-up - If you notice white, powdery residue on your plant or pot, this means that you already need to repot your plant.

Now that you know when to repot, and if you’ve decided to change your planter, how do you know what size to get for your plant?

The size of your planter is crucial to your plant’s growth. When we move plants to a bigger pot, this usually means more soil, which means more exposure to water and moisture. A small plant in a big pot can lead to frustrating results because of accidental overwatering. So make sure to size up no more than 1-2 inches in diameter at a time for tabletop plants and no more than 4 inches in diameter for floor plants.

Repotting: A step-by-step guide

Prepare the following beforehand so you have everything within your proximity:

  • Your plant
  • The planter you’re potting into
  • The potting mix
  • Lava rocks or similar (especially if your planter does not have a drainage hole)

Step 1: Remove your plant from its previous planter.
Gently turn your plant sideways and hold your plant by the stem or leaves. Tap the bottom of the planter until the hold of the soil loosens and you are able to slide the plant slowly. If the plant does not slide out completely, you can tug ever so gently at the base of the stem.

Step 2: Loosen the roots with your hands.
You can think of this as slowly combing out the roots. Remove any extra long roots and keep the thickest roots in the middle or at the base.

Step 3: Remove ⅓ of the old potting mix.
You don’t have to throw away the entirety of the old potting mix. Just make sure to give your plant fresh nutrients with a new mix!

Step 4: Pour in your new potting mix.
Add a layer of your new potting mix into the planter and pat it down with your hands to remove air pockets. If your planter does not have a drainage hole, add lava rocks to the bottom before you pour in the new potting mix.

Step 5: It’s time to add your plant.
Keep your plant centered and slowly fill in with potting mix until your plant is upright and secure.

Don’t overpack the soil because the roots need room to breathe!

Step 6: Water your plant.
Even out the top of the soil and water your plant. You can skip adding fertilizer because your potting mix is new and full of nutrients.

And there you have it! Remember that practice makes perfect so the more you repot, the better you’ll be at it. If you have questions about repotting, the kind of planter to use, or perhaps where to get the best potting mix for your houseplant, you can send us a message or leave a comment below.