How to re-pot a plant - Tips for repotting plants
How to Repot a Plant
Repotting a plant can seem like a difficult task because a lot of things can go wrong – you can damage the plant by removing it incorrectly from its old pot or fail to repot it correctly and therefore cause the plant to die. Knowing how to prepare a new pot, remove the plant from its old pot, and prepare the plant for its new pot can make repotting a plant a lot easier.
Preparing the New Pot
Choose a slightly larger pot.If you’re repotting your plant into a new pot, choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and 1 to 2 inches deeper than the plant’s current pot.
- If you choose a pot that has dimensions larger than this, the roots will need to grow into the pot before the plant itself can begin to grow. In other words, the plant has to grow all the way down before it can grow upward.
Choose a pot with drainage holes.When you’re selecting a new pot, make sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain. Even if you select a pot that is the correct size, you still don’t want water sitting in the bottom of it and causing root rot.
Clean and disinfect the pot.It’s important to disinfect old pots before reusing them, as they can accumulate minerals or other debris that are detrimental to plant growth. Mineral salts, for example, can dehydrate your plant and keep it from flourishing. Other debris can harbor disease-causing organisms.
- To disinfect your pot, soak it in a solution containing one part bleach and nine parts water for at least ten minutes. Place it in a solution of water and dish detergent and then rinse.
- To clean mineral deposits and debris from a steel pot, use steel wool or a wire-bristle brush to scrub them away. Plastic pots only need a scrubbing pad. You can scrape off any remaining deposits with a knife.
- Once you’ve cleaned the pot, rinse it with water and then soak it until ready for use.
Soak the new pot.If you decide to use a terra cotta pot for repotting, make sure you soak the pot in water for a few hours before you begin the repotting process. Terra cotta is pretty porous, which means it soaks up water easily. You don’t want your pot stealing your plant’s water.
Cover the drainage holes.It’s important to have a pot with drainage holes, but you also want to make sure soil can’t escape through them. Cover the drainage holes with something that will allow water to pass through, like paper towel or a coffee filter.
- Using a porous material like paper towel or a coffee filter over the drainage holes will allow water to pass through so your plant doesn't drown, but it slows down the process so the water can actually soak into the soil and help your plant.
Put a few inches of soil in the new pot.You’ll need a base of soil under the plant so the roots have something to grow into.
- Don’t overfill the pot before you put the new plant in – the roots need something to grow into, but you also want them to be down far enough into the pot that they don’t stick out of the top.
Preparing the Plant
Water the plant.Your plant will come out of its old pot more easily if the rootball is moist. You’ll want to water the plant a few hours before you want to repot it. This will help it maintain its health even if it loses a root or two during the repotting.
- The rootball is the part of the plant that extends into the actual pot. It’s made up of roots and soil and often keeps the shape of the pot after it’s removed
Remove the plant from its current pot.Place your hand over the top of the pot, and place your thumb and index finger around the plant’s stem. Then turn the pot on its side and gently work the plant back and forth until it comes out.
- If the plant won’t come out after several tries, you can use a knife to cut around the edge of the soil and try again.
- If you happen to break some of the roots, don't worry, you’ll need to prune the rootball anyway.
Prune the rootball.To make sure your plant takes to its new pot, you’ll want to remove some of the old rootball to expose fresher roots to the new soil in the new pot. Clip off roots that hang below the rootball and make three or four slits in the bottom of the rootball about a third of the way up.
- If the rootball is black or smells, your plant might have some kind of fungal disease. You might not be able to save this plant or repot it.
- You can also shave away roots that seem particularly thick on the sides of the rootball.
Untangle the remaining roots.Once you prune the rootball and have exposed the healthy roots, untangle some of the roots that are left over. This gives the roots more contact with the new soil in the new pot. It encourages the roots to grow outward, instead of around the rootball.
Repotting the Plant
Add some soil.You’ll first want to add some soil to the pot to give your plant a place to sit. Make sure that the top of the plant’s rootball will be no less than one inch below the rim of the pot, so that it won’t overflow when watered. You can even measure, to verify.
Place plant in new pot.As you place the plant into its new pot, center it by looking down on it from above and making sure it’s not closer to any one side of the pot than the others. You also want to make sure it’s sitting upright. While looking at the plant from the side, spin the pot and make sure the plant isn’t tilted in any one direction.
Fill the pot.Once you’ve placed the plant in the new pot, you’ll want to put soil into the pot around the rootball. Don’t overfill the pot - the soil line should be about 1” below the top of the pot.
- You can “stuff” or “fill” when you’re adding new soil. “Filling” just means pouring soil in, around, and on top of the rootball. “Stuffing” means pouring the soil in and then pressing it down. You might want to “stuff” the pot for a top-heavy plant, because it will help you keep the plant steady and even.
Water the plant.Once your plant is in its new pot and you’ve filled the pot with soil, water the plant. It will help the plant’s roots soak up the nutrients from the soil and ensure that the plant takes to the new pot.
- You might need to add more soil to fill in empty spots once you water the new plant and the soil settles.
- It’s also best to keep the plant out of the sun and high humidity after repotting. Don’t fertilize it immediately, either.
QuestionCan you cut roots when repotting?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerWhile it is not advised to cut healthy roots, it is acceptable to prune the rootball of any dead or decaying roots.Thanks!
QuestionHow often do you need to repot a plant?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerDifferent plants need to be repotted at different intervals, however a good rule of thumb is repot when a potted plant seems to be outgrowing its present container.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you transplant a house plant?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerTo transplant a plant to a bigger pot, start by watering the plant to make removal easier. Cover the new pot’s drainage hole and fill it halfway with soil. Then, gently place the plant in the new pot. Once you’ve filled the rest of the pot with soil, water the plant and place it in the sun.Thanks!
QuestionWhat kind of soil are best for a snake plant?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerDraining soil is a must for a snake plant, and additionally, check your local gardening store for a soil designed for succulents or cacti.Thanks!
QuestionWhat does "to water from the bottom" mean?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerThis means to place a plant that has drainage holes into a tray of water so that the plant can absorb the water through its roots. After about twenty minutes, check the soil to see if it has reached the optimal level of moisture.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I deal with a pot that has no drainage?
HorticulturistHorticulturistExpert AnswerUsing a pot that has no drainage mechanisms is not recommended. If the plant is not able to drain, the soil can become over-saturated, eventually killing the plant. Drainage holes are necessary for the drainage of not only water but also of fertilizer. Holes also serve as a way for oxygen to circulate within the pot. One suggestion is to place the plant in a small pot with drainage, then place it all within a larger pot; you can then remove it to water it at your convenience.Thanks!
QuestionIs it useful to put rocks or pebbles at bottom of new pot when repotting?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is some debate about whether you should have a layer of rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the new pot - some research suggests that this will help to prevent water or soil from running out of the drainage holes while the plant gets used to its new home. Other research suggests that if the roots grow into the rocks and pebbles, the plant might die since it can't access the water and soil the pebbles are meant to block. Generally, you probably want to avoid using rocks or pebbles in your pots when you replant.Thanks!
QuestionFor a fast growing plant, is it okay to plant up from a small to a large pot in one stage? Why is it considered necessary to do this in several stages traditionally?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou always pot up in stages, new pot the next larger size up. If the plant is very robust, and fast growing under ideal conditions, you could go up two sizes. If the pot is too big for the plant, the soil that has no roots in it tends to stay too wet for too long, thus increasing the chances of diseases such as root rot.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need new potting soil when repotting a plant?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt would not be a bad idea. Soil becomes depleted of minerals and nutrients over time. Repotting is the best time to switch out old soil for new soil.Thanks!
QuestionI have several plants in one large basket. How do I separate them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst, empty the plants out of the basket by working your hand in among the plants to hold the soil and tipping the whole thing upside down, much as shown above (if it's a large basket, you may want someone to help you). Then separate the different plants. Try to gently disentangle the roots with your fingers, but if they're badly grown together, you can cut them apart with a sharp knife. Once you have them separated, you'll be able to see how big the new pots will need to be (make sure they have drainage holes).Thanks!
Can I keep a Bougainvillea in a large pot to control its size. It is currently in a 10" pot to go into a 16" pot.
What do you do when a plant is (severely) root bound?
To repot a plant, start by filling the new pot with soil. However, take care to leave at least 1 inch between the plant's roots and the rim so there's enough room to water it. Then, water the plant before trying to remove it from its old pot, since the roots will come out easier if they're moist. Once you've removed the plant, prune some of the old roots, then place the plant in the center of the pot. Finally, fill in the edges with soil and water the plant to help the roots take nutrients from the new soil.
- Young plants that are still growing should be repotted once a year to maintain their growth and overall health. Larger plants should be repotted every two years or so.
- You can tell that your plant needs repotting if the roots are growing through the top of the soil or out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If you don't see any roots but your plant seems like it has stopped growing, it's probably root bound, which means it definitely needs repotting to allow the roots more room to grow.
- If you’re repotting in the same pot, make sure you clean the pot with hot soapy water to get rid of any bacteria before you follow the rest of the steps above.
- Don't cut away healthy roots unless you are pruning them so that the plant will remain the same size or be miniaturized (like for Bonsai).
Sources and Citations
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
In other languages:
Español: , Deutsch: , Português: , Italiano: , Русский: , Français: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Nederlands:
Video: INDOOR PLANTS // How To Repot Plants
George Michael believes cannabis use not a problem
Good blogging is simple: Write good posts (and be thankful)
How Doctors Help People With Narcolepsy Treat and Manage Their Symptoms
How to Make a Coffee Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts
The Best New Pieces to Shop atHM
11 Christmas Shopping Tricks to Steal From Moms With Big Families
How to Stay Fit at Home
Bella Hadid Just Revealed Her Diet, and We Have So Many Feelings
8 Anti-Aging Makeup Tricks
Omega Achieves The Worlds First Master Chronometer Title
The Flattering Dress Style Were Buying on Repeat
20 Dairy-Free Frozen Desserts
Is Chipotle Actually Healthy Yes—But Only If You Skip These Foods
Has Jolie gaffe ruined Winslet’s Oscar chances
Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, MPH