When to Repot a Houseplant & How to Do It

House plants are a great way to add life and beauty to any indoor space. However, in order to thrive, they need adequate space for their roots to grow and access to fresh soil and nutrients. This is where repotting comes in. In this article, we’ll discuss when and how to repot your house plant properly.

As a general rule, house plants should be repotted when the roots outgrow the pot or the soil becomes depleted. Signs of this include roots growing out of drainage holes, leaves wilting, or slowed growth. To repot, gently remove the plant from its current pot, trim the roots, add fresh soil, and water.

When to Repot a Houseplant

There are a few signs that indicate when a houseplant needs to be repotted. The most obvious sign is when the roots have outgrown the pot and are growing out of the drainage holes. Another sign is when the soil has become depleted and is unable to hold water or provide nutrients to the plant. Other signs include slow growth, and wilted or yellowing leaves. If this is not addressed for an extended period, it can turn into a bigger problem and your plant can begin to die.

To determine if your houseplant needs to be repotted, gently remove it from its current pot and inspect the roots. If the roots are densely packed and coiled around in the shape of the pot, its time to repot.

How to Repot your Houseplant

Before you start, make sure you have the right tools and materials. You’ll need a pot that’s one size larger than the current pot, fresh soil, a shovel or mini rake, pruning sheers/scissors, and a watering jug. Here are the steps to repotting your houseplant:

  1. Water the plant a day or two before repotting. This will make it easier to remove the plant from the pot and limit potential of damaging the roots.
  2. Gently remove the plant from its current pot. If the plant is stuck, tap the pot on a hard surface or gently loosen the soil around the top with the mini rake.
  3. Carefully remove any loose soil and dead roots. If the roots are densely packed, you can use a knife, mine rake, or pruning shears to trim the roots back.
  4. Place a layer of fresh soil in the bottom of the new pot, so the top of the root ball is slightly below the top of the new pot.
  5. Position the plant in the center of the new pot and add soil around the sides, making sure to cover the roots.
  6. Firmly press the soil down around the plant root ball, making sure there are no air pockets.
  7. Water the plant thoroughly, making sure the water drains out of the bottom of the pot.
  8. Enjoy your plant and be sure your plant becomes established in its new pot over the coming weeks.

Tips for Repotting your Houseplant

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re repotting your houseplant:

  • Choose a pot that’s only one or two sizes larger than the current pot. If you choose a pot that’s too large, it can lead to over watering and eventually root rot.
  • Use a high-quality potting mix that’s specifically formulated for the type of plant you’re repotting.
  • If the plant is root pot-bound, you can gently loosen the roots with your fingers or tools such as the mini rake. You can use anything really, the goal is to just loosen the root system.
  • Be gentle when handling the plants and its roots. Try to minimize damage to the roots as much as possible.
  • Do not fertilize your plant until it becomes established in the new pot. This typically takes a few weeks.
  • Water the plant after repotting and monitor it closely for the first few days and week to ensure it’s adjusting well.

Caring for Your Freshly Repotted Houseplant

After repotting, your houseplant will need some time adjusting to its new environment. Here are some tips to help it thrive:

  • Place the plant in a spot that receives the right amount of light for the type of plant. Most house plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid over watering, which can lead to root rot. BEWARE.
  • Fertilize the plant according to its specific needs. Most houseplants benefit from a slow-release fertilizer applied every few months.
  • Monitor the plant for signs of stress, such as wilted leaves.


Congratulations! You now know how to properly repot your houseplant. As you monitor your freshly potted plant over the coming days, don’t be alarmed by wilted/droopy leaves. This is normal as your plant may be shocked from being repotted. Happy gardening!

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