Repotting Your Houseplant

How do you determine when your houseplant is ready for repotting? There are a few signs - if the roots are growing out of the drainage holes at the bottom, or if water drains right through the pot it is time for an overhaul! The frequency with which you should repot your plants depends on the species of plant. Snake plants for example do just fine in cramped conditions whereas fast growers like pothos need to be tended to more often. There are several methods for repotting your plants.


If you have a new houseplant and want to transfer it to a ceramic pot, this process is simple! Choose out a pot that is an inch or two wider than the grower pot to leave room for the plant to grow. The day before you plan on repotting, it is helpful to water your plant so that the soil will hold together better during the process of transferring it. In the ceramic pot, add a layer of soil at the bottom. When you are ready to add the new houseplant, rotate and squeeze the plastic grower pot to release the soil from the pot. If it is sticking, run a knife along the edge to dislodge the root ball. Gripping at the base of the plant, tug gently until it releases from the plastic and place into the new pot. Fill in the gaps along the edges with more soil, and then give it a light watering. Your new houseplant is ready to keep on growing!


If your plant is outgrowing its current home and you want to move it up to a larger pot to continue its growth, the process is essentially the same. It can be a little more difficult because you can not squeeze the pot to help dislodge the plant, but if you run a knife along the edge this is usually enough to loosen it up. If the roots have grown out of the drainage holes, you may also need to trim these back to release the plant. Tilt the pot to the side and grip the plant at its base, tugging gently until the plant comes out. Loosen up the roots with your fingers so they are not too cramped, and place into the larger pot. Fill the gaps at the edges with more soil, water, and you are done!


If you have limited space and don’t want your houseplant to continue growing, you can repot your plant back into its original pot. To do this, run a knife along the edge of soil to loosen it from the pot. It is good to do this outdoors, or set up an area where you can make a bit of a mess. Grip the plant at its base, and gently tug it out of the pot. You will then need the knife again, because you are going to shave off about ⅓ of the root ball from the bottom. This does not damage the plant, and it should have no problem re-growing these roots. Add a layer of soil back to the bottom of the pot to account for what you cut from the root ball, and place your houseplant back in its pot. If there are gaps at the edges, fill them with more soil and water your plant. Your houseplant should be ready to continue growing in a less cramped environment!