How to repot a plant without killing it

But like all good things, plants require work, patience and attention.

One of the secrets to transforming your space into a lush greenhouse starts with knowing basic plant care like repotting. Repotting is an easy way to refresh your plants by giving them some more room to grow. How to repot a plant without killing it ?

The idea of repotting your favorite plants might make you anxious. While you know your green friend would be happier in a bigger home, you’re afraid moving it will kill it. But learning how to repot a plant is easier than you think, and helping it make the move is often better than keeping it as-is and hoping for the best.

Why the Need to Repot Plants?

Repotting plants when needed allows them to maximize their growth. It gives them room to breathe and grow much faster. Moreover, transferring them to bigger or other containers prevents diseases and makes way for nutrient boost. When you add the right soil as you repot them, these plants become stronger and more resilient.

Another reason why you must consider repotting plants is to make way for better watering. A tell-tale sign that you need to move your plants to another pot is when the water seeps out of the drainage too fast. This means your plants have become root-bound, which is a condition wherein the roots wrap themselves in and around the outside of a pot.

Determine when to Repot

Early spring is the best time to repot as your plants come out of their winter hibernation and into their growing season. Here’s how to do it.

What Are the Signs That Plants Need Repotting?

Besides aesthetic reasons, consider repotting your indoor and outdoor plants if:

  • The roots start outgrowing the pot.
  • The potting soil looks dusty and dry.
  • Your plants have outgrown their planter and look unstable.
  • If it has relatively long since you repotted the plants.
  • When your potted plants are unhealthy and have signs of stress.
  • Tip: Always be clear on why you are repotting your plants so you can address the concern at hand.
how to repot a plant without killing it

how to repot a plant without killing it

What kind of pot should you transfer to?

Consider the size, material, and drainage in your new pot. A too-big pot will make it so that water drains without reaching the plant’s roots. It’s best to gradually increase the pot size by 1 or two inches for smaller plants and 3 or 4 inches for larger floor plants. If your plant requires lots of water, pick a pot that traps moisture like plastic or ceramic. If your plant requires less water, a terra cotta pot pulls moisture away from the soil. Select a pot with drainage holes or use rocks at the bottom of the pot to help with drainage.

how to repot a plant without killing it

how to repot a plant without killing it

Invest In The Right Soil

When it comes to selecting the right soil, it is recommended you opt for one that consists of coarse-fibered peat moss (70%) combined with a high percentage of perlite (30%). You can easily buy bags of soil online or visit your local home supply store and ask for help if needed.

how to repot a plant without killing it

how to repot a plant without killing it

10 Simple Steps to Repot

1. Gather all of your potting materials

Repotting Toolbox:

  1. Your houseplant, of course!
  2. Newspaper for easy cleanup
  3. Fresh potting mix
  4. A watering can, spray bottle, or water bottle
  5. Scissors or pruners
  6. Your planter, new or old

2. Pour and pack your potting mix

Pour a layer of fresh, pre-moistened mix in the planter you’re potting into, and pack it down.

3. Remove the plant from the current pot

A person carefully pouring potting mix into an empty flower pot.

Now take your plant, turn it sideways, holding it gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of its current container until the plant slides out. You can give it a bit of help with a couple of gentle tugs on the base of the stems.

4. Loosen and prune the roots

A person removing a plant from a small pot and transfering to a larger one.

With your hands, loosen the roots and prune any that are dead or extra-long.

5. Gently unbind any loose roots

A person unbinding tight roots at the base of a potted plant.

If your plant is root-bound — with roots growing in tight circles around the base of the plant — unbind them as best you can and give them a little trim. You may find yourself tearing them a little if you cannot finesse them apart. Be as gentle as possible.

6. Remove about ⅓ of the old potting mix

Remove about 1/3 of the old potting mix from around the plant’s roots.

7. Set plant in new planter

A plant being repotted into a larger pot to grow.

Set plant on top of the fresh layer of mix in the planter.

8. Add mix

A person adding potting mix to a recently repotted plant.

Add new potting mix around the plant until it is secure (sitting upright). Be sure not to pack too much soil into the planter, as you want the roots to breathe. Leave some space below the lip of the planter, about an inch or so for larger planters. Avoid piling soil all the way up to the top of the pot. You will not be able to water it properly, as water will rush off the sides of the pot without ever soaking in.

how to repot a plant without killing it

how to repot a plant without killing it

9. Even it out

A person evening out soil around a newly potted plant.

Even out the potting soil on top, making sure to leave the soil line an inch or so from the top. Water well and let it drain.

The dos & don’ts of repotting

DO be gentle

Repotting is stressful to your plant at the best of times. You chucking it about won’t help at all.

DON’T just use any soil you have lying around

Take the time to research your plant’s needs with regards to drainage. It’ll save you money (on new plants) in the long run

DON’T reuse soil

It could be harbouring pests and diseases. If you don’t like the wastage and can’t compost it, then you can bake it in the oven to remove nasties.

DO wear gloves

You think it’s a two minute job, so why bother? Because you’ll be scrubbing your nails for months.

DO wait until a few plants need repotting

You might be able to save on pots by just buying one big pot and moving everyone up a size. Then you have a free pot! Go and buy another little plant!

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