How To Repot a Houseplant
Updated: Aug 14, 2019
How do I Repot a Houseplant? In this short tutorial, we will be teaching you the do's and dont's of houseplant repotting. We will be covering why you should repot, when you should repot, and how to actually repot a houseplant!
When Should You Repot A Houseplant?
Knowing when to repot your houseplant can be a pain... But with these few quick prompts and tips, you will know exactly what to look for in your plants to know that it's time to get repotting.
There are a few things that you should know before thinking about repotting which are very useful to know, and can save you a lot of time, effort and potential plant lives! When choosing a plant pot to repot in, make sure that it has a drainage hole in the bottom for any excess water to come out of (the lack of drainage hole, and overwatering is usually what kills the. majority of indoor plants). So definitely make sure that you have a drainage hole, as well as a saucer for the excess water to flow on to.
Another thing to consider is the repotting may not be only changing the planter, but it may also include changing the soil which your plant has been in. Changing the soil every so often in your plants is a very good way to replenish your plant with new nutrients which the soil provides. Over time, your plant will drain and suck up all of the good bits from the soil which helps with the growth and health of the plant, so it is important to keep this In mind!
And one last thing to keep in mind, is that you should try not to buy a pot which is too much larger than your original pot. We would recommend that the pot should be 4/5 inches bigger either side of the plant pot, however this may differ depending on if its a larger floor plant, or a smaller desk plant for example. But just be sensible about it and use your common sense!
It wouldn't be wise to place a fist sized cactus in a pot the size of a kitchen sink! I say this as usually the bigger the pot, generally the more inclined you feel to water the plant, which could potentially lead to its death.
What Are The Visual Signs That Your Plant Needs Repotting?
Consider repotting if any, or a combination of these signs are evident within your houseplant!
• If the plant keeps falling over, and is very top heavy
• If the roots are bursting out of the drainage hole of the pot
• If the soil is very dry and requires watering more frequently
• If the plant seems to be taking over the soil and pot space
• If the roots of the plant are coiling and cramming the pot
• If the plant is growing noticeably slower than usual
The general rule of thumb is that you should try repot your houseplant every 12 to 18 months, and this goes for the majority of indoor plants. However, for some slower growing plants such as cactus, this may be a little longer as they grow more slowly over the years, and tend to take a lot longer before they require repotting. So some research should be done to find out what is the best for your specific plant!
For some budget plant pot inspiration, we suggest checking out our Top 10 list of the best Indoor plant pots under £10!
Check out our Article Here: Top 10 list of the best Indoor plant pots under £10!
How To Repot a Houseplant Step By Step
Now that the basics are out of the way, lets actually find out how to repot your houseplant, Here is what you are going to need...
• A Trowel
• An Old Newspaper (To help with the clean up)
• Scissors or Pruners
• A Thick Pair of Gardening Gloves (If Repotting Prickly Plants)
• And Most Importantly, Your Houseplant!
Step 1: Water Plant
Watering your plant before repotting allows the soil and roots of the plant to come out of the pot a lot easier, we would recommend watering the pot a day before repotting!
Step 2: Preparation
Place a few sheets of newspaper over a table or flat surface, and gather all of the necessary items and pieces of equipment (potting mix, trowel etc...)
Step 3: Carefully Remove Plant
Very gently tip the plant over on its side holding the base of the plant in one hand, and the pot in the other. Be very careful not to break the stem or any of the branches of the plant in this step! Carefully try to ease the plant from the pot (It may be necessary to tap the pot or run a trowel around the inside of the pot to loosen up the roots).
Step 4: Pruning the Roots
When the plant is out of the pot, loosen up the soil and roots of the plant being careful not to snap off any large areas of root (its not the end of the world if smaller pieces of root break off). During this step, try to analyse the health and wellbeing of the roots and soil of the plant. If the roots are tightly coiled and packed together, try to loosen them up either by hand, or with a knife if necessary. If the soil is rotten or looking unhealthy, try shaking the bad areas off.
Step 5: Prepare the Pot
Whether you are repotting your plant back in the same pot, or into a new pot, it is important that you clean and prepare it. If you are using the same pot, try washing it in hot soapy water and use a scrubbing brush to remove any debris that may carry disease or microorganisms.
Step 6: Positioning the Plant
Add a handful of soil to the bottom of the plant pot to create a base for your plant to sit on. Then place your plant inside the pot to get a gauge of how tall the pot is in comparison to the top soil level of your plant (add more soil to the bottom of your pot if your plant sits quite low) But make sure that the pot is big enough to hold the majority of the root ball comfortably.
Step 7: Adding Soil
When you are happy with where your plant sits within the pot, add your potting mix around the outside of the plant to help secure it in place, compacting lightly with your fingers as you go (being careful not to compact the soil too much to allow the plant to breathe. Repeat this process until you are happy with the level of soil in the pot. Just make sure that the soil does not go too far over the stem of your plant.
Step 8: Final Touches
Make sure that you are happy with how the plant sits in the pot, and that it is upright and won't fall over. You can now water the plant lightly, and trim off any dead stems or leaves to help with the recovery and growth of the plant. It may be necessary to add more potting soil if it requires it, but make sure that it is of a high quality to see the best results!