How to Know When to Repot Houseplants

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Houseplants are plants raised indoors in spaces like homes, classroom environments, and offices, particularly for beautification and decoration. Ordinary houseplants are generally tropical or semi-tropical epiphytes, cacti, or succulents. They need the correct light levels, soil mixture, moisture, humidity, and temperature to survive easily. To thrive, houseplants need correct-sized pots, proper fertilizer, and the caretaker to know when to repot a houseplant. The most well-known indoor houseplants are exotic plants local to warm, ice-free areas of the planet that can be grown indoors in colder environments in miniature nurseries or portable pots.

Although one can raise many plants successfully indoors, specific groups are generally considered the best houseplants because of their relative simplicity of maintenance and attractiveness. More demanding plants to raise are mainly African Violets, Gardenias, Camellias, Orchids, and Geraniums (Pelargonium species).

When to Repot Houseplants

When to Repot Houseplants

Houseplants should regularly be repotted every 12 to 18 months, depending on how effectively they develop. Some slow growers can stay in the same pot home for a long time without repotting but will need the soil refilled periodically in the pot. This is important for making the houseplants healthy for an extended period. Before the beginning of the growing season, yet after drastically cold weather, ideally, the onset of Spring is the perfect time to repot.

Knowing when to repot houseplants is easy when the plant gives one or more of the signs listed below:

  • Roots begin to grow through the drainage spots at the bottom of the container or become pot bound. This indicates that the roots do not have space in the pot and desire a bigger space.
  • Roots become thick inside the pot and push the plant up out of the planter.
  • The plant is growing more slowly than usual or has stopped growing altogether.
  • The plant has gotten top-heavy and falls over without any stress.
  • The plant dries out more rapidly than expected and requires more frequent watering.
  • Noticeable soil shrinking inside the pot
  • Aboveground portions of the plant occupy more than three times the pot space.
  • Noticeable salt or minerals are building upon the pot or the plants.

Materials Required to Repot Houseplants

Before tackling repotting an indoor plant, it is best to have all necessary materials handy for a quick, smooth transition for you and the plant. Before starting, have, a knife, and a new pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the old pot ready. You’ll also need potting mix, water, and newspaper, cardboard, or other materials to keep the environment neat, if the repotting is taking place indoors.

How and When to Repot Houseplants

How and When to Repot Houseplants

When an indoor houseplant grows more prominent, the roots will begin to develop through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. That’s how we know when to repot houseplants.

Steps to repot houseplants are explained below:

1. Water and carefully remove the plant from the old pot.

Water and carefully remove the plant from the old pot

Water the plant to be repotted a few hours before the beginning of the process to be confident it is slightly moist. This requires a little work and a good deal of patience, particularly if the plant is pot-bound. Check for damaged roots and remove them with sheers if necessary.

2. Loosen the roots of the plant.

Loosen the roots of the plant

Loosen the plant’s roots carefully immediately after removing them from the old pot. Thinning long roots can be removed and leave the thicker roots at the bottom of the foliage. If the plant is root-bound – the roots are developing in very tight circles around the base of the plant – losing the plant’s roots and giving them a trim is the best option.

3. Remove old potting mix.

Remove old potting mix

Eliminate about one-third or half of the potting mix surrounding the plant. As it developed, the plant eliminated nutrients from the current mix, so it needs fresh soil to continue growing and thriving.

4. Add a new potting mix.

Add a new potting mix

Using garden soil in indoor pots for houseplants could prompt pest problems and disease. Instead, A layer of fresh potting mix or potting soil especially prepared for potted plants into the new planter and packed it down, eliminating any air pockets. These could include a peat combination or composted soil with fertilizers to supply supplements. Peat-based potting mix has a lesser weight than the soil-based mix; it is harder to wet when it dries out. Wet the potting mix before repotting to make sure the potting mix will absorb water equitably.

5. Add the plant.

Add the plant

After adding the new potting mix, put the plant on top of the new layer of mixture in the new planter, and make sure it is placed at the center of the pot to ensure the plant is stable and safe. Be certain not to pack excess soil into the planter, as the roots need a bit of room to breathe.

6. Water the plant.

Water the plant

When first repotting a plant in its happy new home, it must rest for a couple of days before watering. The resting period will give any roots that might have been damaged enough time to recover back to health. The roots that were damaged, if any, are very susceptible to decay and cannot absorb water. Likewise, hold off on fertilizing the plant immediately after repotting since the roots are sensitive and could burn easily. Fertilizing is not necessary typically in the beginning anyway because most potting mixes already have nutrients mixed in.

Benefits of Repotting Houseplants

Knowing when to repot houseplants is essential because it helps keep plants healthy. Doing it with a new medium gives them additional fuel to develop more significantly, often with many more blooms.

Benefits of repotting are:

1. Improving water flow.

Improving water flow

If the water comes out of the drainage holes immediately after watering, it implies the plant is not getting the water. The water is not going into the root system. If the roots coil around one another, the plant becomes rootbound. This makes channels through which water streams and quickly drains from the drainage holes. After repotting, the roots get additional space and coil no more. The water arrives at the whole root system.

2. The plants get new soil and nutrient boost it craves.

The plants get new soil and nutrient boost it craves

The indoor plant takes most of its food through nutrients in the prepared potting soil. But, as time passes by, the nutrients in the soil reduce. With each watering, the supplements get washed away. The soil turns out to be more acidic after some time. Even applying fertilizer regularly won’t increase the nutrients in the soil much. The new soil mix when repotting gives the plant a nutrient boost. This will not only assist the plant in staying healthy but will also allow it to flourish.

3. Room for breathing and growing.

Room for breathing and growing

When the plant becomes more prominent, it will need a bigger pot too so that the plant and the roots can have adequate room to breathe and develop freely. Repotting the plant to a bigger pot will encourage good growth and breathing.

4. Disease Prevention.

Disease Prevention

Pests and diseases are common in all houseplants, and this occurs when more water is added to the plant for a long time. Repotting will keep the plant from pests and disease if done before root decay arrives at its super level. Eliminate the harmed roots and repot the repot in another pot with new soil to help keep the pests and disease away from the plant.

5. Helps in propagation.

Helps in propagation

If more houseplants are needed, propagation is the best time to do that. And this is done in a separate pot and not the same pot. So, while repotting, take advantage and develop more plants. Divide the mother from the babies and plant the babies in another pot. No need to purchase new plants over and over.

When to Repot Houseplants – The Wrap-up

Repotting is crucial for indoor plants because it keeps the plants healthy and promotes growth. Repot right before the active growing season to encourage them to grow optimally.


Yes. Whether potted plants are outdoors or indoors, good drainage is vital to ensure the plant stays healthy. Proper drainage prevents water from pooling at the bottom of the pot, which can cause fungus, bacteria, and root decay.

Roots packed firmly in a pot don’t take up supplements efficiently. Loosen the plant’s roots carefully with your hands immediately after removing them from the old pot, enhancing good nutrient absorption. Thinning long roots can be removed but leave the thicker roots at the bottom of the foliage. If the plant is root-bound – the roots are developing in very tight circles around the base of the plant – lose the plant’s roots as best you can and give them a trim using a sharp knife.

The easiest way to know is when the plant has started showing signs like roots growing out of the pot’s drainage hole. This sign indicates that the roots have no space in the pot, and the plant needs more space. When the plant is slowly pushed upwards out of the container by its roots, it also indicates that it needs more room to develop.

If the plant is growing more slowly than usual or has stopped growing, the plant dries out more rapidly than expected and requires more frequent watering, or if the soil shrinks inside the pot, salt or minerals build upon the plants. These are the signs that show the plant is due for repotting.

It is good to start repotting immediately after getting the new houseplant, meaning never leave them in the small plastic container you purchase them in. From there, is it a good idea to get on a yearly schedule for repotting. A few plants can go a year and a half and others much longer before needing another pot. But if ever in doubt, 12 months is a good rule of thumb.

Before the beginning of the growing season, Spring is typically the perfect time to repot so that roots developing will have sufficient time to develop into a newly added potting mix. There are a few signs that houseplants can display when they are pot-bound.

Published at Mon, 04 Apr 2022 09:37:01 -0700

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