How to Repot a Houseplant

If you own a houseplant, chances are eventually it will need to be repotted. Follow these steps and it will be a quick and easy process. 

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Root Bound

Why do houseplants need to be repotted? The main reason is that they have become root bound and outgrown their container. If your root ball looks like this, it is root bound and needs a larger pot. 

Choosing the Right Pot Size

Choosing the correct pot size is very important. When repotting a plant, you should only move up one pot size. A 4” pot should move to a 6”, a 6” to an 8” and so on. Moving up 2-3 pot sizes can result in root rot and the death of the plant. 

Overgrown Root Ball

If your plant has roots so thick that you cannot tease them loose, cut the bottom of the root ball off. An inch or so is all that should be cut off. If you cut the root ball bottom off, you should also do some trimming on the plant. 

New Root Growth

Slicing through the tangled roots on the sides of the root ball will encourage new root growth. These roots will fill the new soil that has been added to the larger container. 

Moving Houseplants Into a Decorative Container

Another reason to repot your houseplant is that it is still in the plastic nursery pot it came in and you would like it to be in a more decorative container. It may not need to be up-potted at this time, just moved into a nice container the same size as the nursery pot. 

Improving your Houseplants

You can see in this picture that the container the Sansevieria is moving to is not much larger, but much more attractive than the pot it has been grown in. 

Gather the Supplies

Now that you’ve decided to repot your plant, the first thing to do is  gather the supplies needed to repot the plant. Some things to include are appropriate pre-moistened potting media, the plant, its new home, screen, and plant markers. 

Screen the Bottom of the Pot

Why a piece of screen, you ask. This piece of window screen goes over the hole, keeping the soil in and allowing the water to drain freely. No stones or broken pot shards are necessary.    

Screen the Bottom of the Pot

This piece of window screen goes over the hole, keeping the soil in and allowing the water to drain freely.

Mold Potting

An easy way to repot your plant is to use a method called “mold potting.” Mold potting involves setting your houseplant (still in its grow pot) in the new container at the appropriate level, and then filling in around the pot with soil.

Mold Potting

Remove the potted plant and there is a hole the exact size needed for the plant.

Mold Potting

Now take the plant out of its grow pot and place in the hole that was made. 

Water your Houseplant

Do not compact the soil by pressing too hard. Gently tamp the soil down and then water your plant well. Let it drain, leaving no water sitting in the saucer. 

Label your Plant

Make sure to label your plant, including the date you repotted. I also include where it came from and the date I received it on the back side of the label.

Newly Potted Houseplant

Here is the newly potted plant. It is well watered, labeled, and ready to beautify its surroundings. The repotting process isn’t hard and it will have to be done eventually with almost all house plants.