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How to Repot Plants

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

With some simple tips and tricks, potting your houseplants is easy. If you want to switch up the decor or your plant is overgrown, proper potting is key to set your plant up for success. Let's take a look at what to know before you pot.

Repotting your plants can sound tricky, but we have a few tips to make it a success.

First things first: repotting does not necessarily mean changing a plant’s current planter, but rather, changing its soil or potting mix. Fresh soil means new nutrients. This is great news if you love your current planter, but if you’re looking to purchase a new one that’s fine, too. If you are changing planters, try to keep the size no more than 2" larger in diameter for tabletop planters, and no more than 4" larger in diameter for floor planters.

If you're repotting a very small plant, your new planter might only need to be an inch larger! The size is important here because typically when we move our plants to a larger pot with more soil, we will be inclined to water more often. A small plant + an oversized planter + lots of soil + lots of water = accidentally killing with kindness. You do not want your plant to be swimming in soil, but rather, have a little extra room to grow into for the year ahead.

Plants typically need to be repotted every 12 to 18 months, depending on how actively they are growing. Some slow growers can call the same pot home for years, but will just require a soil replenishment. Spring, before the start of the growth season, is usually the best time to re-pot your houseplants.

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 winter dormancy)

  • Plant is extremely top heavy, and falls over easily

  • Plant dries out more quickly than usual, requiring more frequent waterings

  • Aboveground parts of plant take up more than three times the pot space

  • Noticeable salt and mineral build up on the plant or planter

Here's what you'll want handy:

  • Your new houseplant, of course

  • The planter you're potting into

  • Fresh potting mix

  • Lava rocks or similar (if your planter does not have a drainage hole)

Steps to Repot