Repotting your houseplants

Repotting houseplants is an essential part of plant care, helping to ensure they have enough space, fresh soil, and nutrients to thrive. Here’s how:

Choose the right time

The best time to repot most houseplants is during their active growing season, typically spring or early summer.

Choose the right pot

Choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. Ensure it has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

Prepare the plant

Water the plant a day before repotting. This helps to loosen the roots and makes the process easier.

Remove the plant from its current pot

Gently turn the pot sideways and tap the bottom to release the plant. You may need to squeeze the pot slightly if it’s made of plastic. If the plant is root-bound (roots circling the pot), you might have to carefully cut the pot away.

Examine and trim the roots

Inspect the roots for any signs of rot or disease. Healthy roots are usually white or light brown. Trim away any dead or unhealthy roots using clean scissors or pruning shears.

Loosen the rootball

Gently tease apart the roots, especially if they are circling tightly. This encourages them to spread out into the new soil.

Prepare the new pot

Add a layer of fresh potting soil to the bottom of the new pot. This provides a base for the plant.

Place the plant in its new pot

Position the plant in the centre of the new pot. Ensure the top of the root ball is about an inch below the rim of the pot.

Add fresh soil

Fill in around the plant with fresh potting soil, pressing it down gently to eliminate air pockets. Make sure the plant is standing upright and at the same soil level as it was in the old pot.

Water it

Water the plant thoroughly to help settle the soil. Ensure water drains out of the bottom to confirm proper drainage. If the soil settles significantly after watering, add a bit more soil to top it off, but avoid covering the plant’s stem.

After repotting

Place the plant in a suitable location with the right amount of light. Avoid direct sunlight for a few days to reduce stress. Continue with your regular watering and care routine, but be mindful not to overwater immediately after repotting.

Top Tips

  • Use quality potting mix: Different plants may require specific types of soil (e.g., cactus mix for succulents, orchid bark for orchids).
  • Handle with care – Be gentle with the roots and foliage to avoid damaging the plant.
  • Clean tools and pots – Sterilize tools and clean pots before use to prevent disease.
  • Repotting can be a bit messy, so it’s a good idea to do it outside or cover your work area with newspapers or a plastic sheet.

Then watch your plant bloom in its new home!