How to Re-Pot Your Houseplant
A simple and easy weekend project that will keep your plants happy and healthy
If you’re an experienced plant daddy or plant mama, you know the importance of re-potting your lovely green houseplants so they can grow, thrive, and continue to look fabulous on Instagram. For a new generation of houseplant lovers who have embraced plants but have not created an urban jungle in their home to share on social media, re-potting their green friends may be a new part to learn in caring for their green friends. How to Re-Pot Your Houseplant is the focus of this article. Our goal is to ensure that you have the information you need to grow happy, healthy houseplants. It's up to you to decide if you want to share your hard work plant like a proud parent on social media.
When is the right time of year to re-pot your plant?
Most plants hibernate, like bears, during the winter months setting the stage for a growth spurt in spring. As a result, early spring is the best time to re-pot your plants.
Depending on the size, health, and time your houseplant has been in its current container, it may just be time to give your baby some nutrient-rich organic soil, and more container space, to stretch its roots. Plants usually need repotting annually for small and medium-sized plants. Larger specimens generally need repotting every two years.
What are the signs you need to re-pot your plant?
Before you decide to get started on re-potting your plant or plants, make sure you are proceeding with the appropriate care. If your plant is thriving, you can safely assume it is happy in its current container, and thus your need to re-pot should be put off. If your plant is a recent arrival to your home or office, give it a few weeks to acclimate to its new surroundings before re-potting it. Plants need time to adjust to the new light, temperature, and humidity after being moved to a new location. If you have questions or don’t know for sure, we can help. Just bring in your plant, give us a call, or send us an email and we will help.
"If you want your plant to get bigger, put it in a larger pot,” says Carlos Franco, owner of Green Fresh Florals + Plants. “I tell everyone that your plant will only grow to the size of the pot it is in. Just like people, plants need room to grow.”
There are a variety of ways to tell if your houseplant needs more space to grow. If one of the following things are happening with your plant, it’s time to follow these instructions.
Answer these questions to see if your plant needs repotted
- Is your plant growing slower than usual?
- is it hard to keep the soil in your pot moist?
- Do you see roots growing through the bottom drainage hole?
- Do you notice any salt or mineral deposit building up on the inside of the container?
- Is your plant and pot top heavy and hard to keep upright?
All of these are signs that your plant needs some additional attention and a new container to spread its roots.
Tip: Never fertilize a newly re-potted plant. You might burn the trimmed roots that are vulnerable after you prune them back. Instead, wait for the root system to become more established before fertilizing.
If you choose not to get your hands dirty re-potting your plants yourself, bring your green rootbound Instagram star into our Hillcrest flower and plant shop, and we will get our hands dirty re-potting your plant with tender, loving care. But if you choose to proceed on your own, here are the things you’ll need to get started.
Here is what you will need
Re-potting a plant is a straightforward project, but it does require some tools, so all goes smoothly. Here is a list of what you will need:
- Identify a location that provides adequate room and a work area that has a flat surface. If you have a patio, garage, or outdoor space, this may be the best option. If you are working indoors, pick a location where spilled dirt or water can be cleaned without causing damage.
- Identify a new pot with room for your plant to grow, preferably no more than 2” larger in pot size than the current container. We highly highly recommendMake sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom to ensure proper drainage after watering.
- Your houseplant in need of more room
- Fresh, organic all-purpose potting mix
- Water and a plant mister
- Plant scissors or pruning shears
- Newspaper to expedite the cleanup
Tip: Save time and limit your clean-up by re-potting several plants at the same time.
“Re-potting is a good time to slow down and connect with your plants - look at the roots, feel the soil, really see how they’re doing, said Victor Terry, Green's in-house plant guru, and plant re-potting specialist. "Plants will tell you what they need, and re-potting is the perfect opportunity to learn how to listen."
Before you begin re-potting your plant:Water your plant thoroughly a day or two before you start. Doing so will make it easier for you to remove your plant and re-pot it in a new container.
Rotate your plant into its side, holding it where the base meets the soil. Gently, but firmly, tap around the container to loosen the dirt, rotating it a full 360 degrees. You can also slide a knife or trowel inside the pot but be careful not to damage the root ball. Once you have loosened the soil and created a gap between the roots and the container, slowly pull the plant out of the pot with your grip on the base of the plant.
Using your fingers, remove dried clumps of soil, separating the roots and using the pruning shears or gardening scissors, cut the extra-long roots. If your plant is root-bound (tight circular root formations) use your hands to untangle the roots and trim them back several inches, depending on their length. Doing so will stimulate new growth and help your plant become established in its new container.
Remove approximately 1/3 of the old dirt and potting mix from the roots. In your new container, pour a layer of fresh, organic soil mix in the planter and compact the mix.
Place your plant, with its newly free root system, directly on top of the new bed of organic potting soil mix. Arrange the plant in the pot, so it sits in the center or near the center of the new container.
Using your hands, place additional soil along the sides of the root ball, filling the gap between the roots and the wall of the new container until the plant is securely anchored. Even out the potting soil on top, leaving approximately an inch of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container, and more for larger planters to allow for proper watering and absorption.
Water well and let it drain. Place your re-potted plant in a room with high humidity, like a bathroom, to help it adjust to it's new container.
Finally, never fertilize your plant after you immediately re-pot it because you risk burning the roots. Instead, wait several months for your plants root system to become established. Click on the image below to explore options for plant food or visit our collection online.
That's a wrap!
That’s it, easy and straightforward. But if re-potting your plant is not on the top of your list of how you want to spend part of your Saturday, let us help you. We are proud to offer our high-quality plant care services to ensure your favorite plant continues to shine bright on Instagram and in your home.
Be sure to tag us if you share a picture of your repotted plant on Instagram.