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How To Re-Pot Your House Plants

updated May 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

It’s only February in New England and I am having Spring fever. I want to be outside digging in the dirt and planting things. Since I can’t do that, I have decided to pay special attention to my houseplants. For this “How To” I show you how to easily re-pot your plants which you should do every year or two to keep them vibrant and growing.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What You Need

Materials: Fresh potting soil; a bigger, clean planter; scissors (to cut plastic planter if needed); spray bottle filled with room temperature water and a few drops of plant food; waste basket.

Equipment: I prefer re-potting plants in my kitchen sink. Be very careful not to allow a lot of potting soil to go down your drain. Potting soil is easily cleaned up when dry but not as easily when wet.


1. In this example the roots have grown out past the pot and the plant is “pot-bound.” The first step is to carefully cut off the old plastic pot without damaging the roots. Cutting down the side of the plastic planter works well. If the pot is not plastic, turn the plant upside down and very carefully and slowly jiggle the roots out.

2. Once the plastic side is off, tackle the bottom. Use scissors to snip through the plastic in many places until you can easily remove it.

3. Make sure the new, larger pot is clean by using a touch of bleach in water so you do not transfer any plant diseases. Rinse very well. Also, it is important that the new pot not be too much bigger. A planter that is too big can hold too much water causing root rot or can inhibit the top of the plant to grow until the roots have filled the pot. Always choose a pot with drainage holes.

4. With your new clean pot, place new potting soil in the bottom. For this particular plant I am using a couple of handfuls.

5. Moisten the soil with the water and plant food solution.

6. Insert the plant holding it straight up. It is best to have just a bit of space around the sides and several inches at the top.

7. Loosely pack in the new soil around the plant making sure that the plant is standing upright. If you put the soil in when the plant is leaning to one side or another, it will stay that way. Be sure to keep adding small amounts and tucking it down with your fingers.

8. Top off the plant with new soil being careful not to overflow the pot. You do not want to add water and have the soil dripping down the sides.

9. Add the water/ plant food solution so that the plant is moist and voila! Your plant will be much happier.

Additional Notes: It is best to re-pot your plants it the Spring just before their growing season. Once re-potted, your plant will need time to adjust. To make the transition easier, keep all of the other factors the same, ie location, temperature, amount of sunlight.

Images: Tanya Lacourse

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