Do you know when or how to properly repot a plant? Keeping plants alive is one thing, but knowing exactly when (and more importantly how) to repot a plant requires a whole new level of indoor gardening know-how.
Many of us wait until it is bursting out of its pot, pull it out, put it in a new pot, add some soil and hope it grows.
Make sure your new pot has drainage holes. If you have a cache pot (a decorative pot without holes) put your plant into a plastic pot and place that pot inside the cache pot. In general, it’s best to choose a new pot that is 1”-2” larger than the current pot.
If you would like to repot your rootbound plant back into the same pot (or one that is the same size) and you don’t want it to grow much larger, you can root prune your plant. To root prune, cut off up to about 1/3 of the roots at the bottom
The right gardening tools are required
- 1 pot (preferably one that’s approximately 2″ larger than the pot you’re currently using)
- Sharp scissors or pruning shears
- Fresh potting soil
- 1 old sheet
How do I know if I need to re-pot?
You’ll know it’s time for repotting when you notice roots creeping up along the top of the soil, or are seeing roots growing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. This is a sign that your plant is root-bound and is in need of more space.
Another indication of when it’s time to re-pot is water rushing through the pot and out the drainage hole during waterings. This shows the roots are taking up too much room in the current pot, and there is not enough soil to root in the current planter.
How to Repot a Plant
Gently hold the stems of your plant and slide it out from its current planter. If you have trouble getting it out, you can lightly tap the bottom of the pot or shake the plant gingerly to free the roots.
Loosen the roots with your hand, pruning any roots that are excessively long or look discolored or mushy. Be sure to clean your shears with rubbing alcohol before you start and between cuts to keep your plant healthy!
Put a layer of fresh potting soil into the new planter of your choice—just make sure that it has appropriate drainage at the bottom, preferably an actual drainage hole and a saucer.
Set your plant on top of the new soil, in the center of the pot, and pack fresh potting soil around it until it’s even and the plant is supported and can stay upright on its own. Make sure you leave a little bit of space—around an inch—between the top of the soil and the top of the pot, so liquid doesn’t spill over the edge when you water your plant.
Water your plant thoroughly and let it finish draining from the bottom of the planter. Congratulations, you just successfully repotted your plant!
You might notice that your plant needs watering less often in the first few weeks after transplanting. That’s because it has more soil around it that can absorb water. As it grows roots to fill the soil, it will need watering more often.
Keep away from full sunlight as it will be more sensitive during this period and hold off on fertilizing for about a month.