How to repot your plants

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.

Before we jump into the steps of how to repot a plant, here are a few signs that your plant needs a new home:

  • The plant simply looks like it is too big for its pot
  • The roots are growing out of the drainage holes
  • Water is sitting on the top and not absorbing
  • The soil is dried out or looks like it is disintegrating
  • It’s been years since you repotted it

Just prior to the new growing season, late winter or early spring is the time of the year to repot a plant. The general rule is that young and fast-growing plants will need to be repotted every six months to a year, and older plants need to be repotted every few years. Follow the next steps when you want to repot your plant(s):

1. Remove plant from current pot

When you’re repotting your plant, you don’t necessarily need to move it to a bigger one. Sometimes your plant’s potting mix just needs to be refreshed to provide it with new nutrients. But if your plant is getting too big for its pot, choose a new one that’s only a little bigger.

Turn your new plant sideways, hold it gently by the stems or leaves, and tap the bottom of its current pot until the plant slides out. You might need to give it a bit of help with a couple gentle tugs on the base of the stems.

2. Loosen the roots

Loosen the plant’s roots gently with your hands. You can prune off any threadlike roots that are extra long, just make sure to leave the thicker roots at the base of the foliage. If your plant is root bound – the roots are growing in very tight circles around the base of the plant – untangle the roots as best you can and give them a trim so they grow outward instead of internally.

3. Remove old potting mix and add new soil

Remove about one third or more of the potting mix surrounding the plant. As it grew, your plant removed some of the nutrients in the current mix, so you’ll want to give it fresh mix if you’re potting it anyway!

Pour a layer of fresh potting soil into the new planter and pack it down, removing any air pockets. If your new planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, layer the bottom with stones before adding the potting mix. The goal is to create crevices for the extra water to pool into, away from your plant’s roots.

4. Add your plant

Set your plant that you removed from the grow pot on top of the fresh layer of mix in the new planter, making sure it’s centered, then add potting mix around the plant until it is secure. Be sure not to pack too much soil into the planter, as you want the roots to breathe.

5. Water and enjoy

Even out the potting soil on top and water well! Don’t water it again for at least a week to give it time to adjust.

Voilà! You have a repotted plant!