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How to Repot a Plant: Step-By-Step Guide and FAQs

Potting succulents

Many homeowners take great pride in the houseplants’ appearance and spend significant time taking care of them. If your houseplants are sagging or look tired, you may need to repot them with new soil. 

Today, the team at Farrell’s Lawn & Garden Center is here with this guide on how to repot a plant. We will talk about how to choose the right pots and soil and how to keep your plants looking healthy for longer.

How Do I Know My Plants Need Repotting?

The first question you should ask is: How do you know your plants need repotting? Plant soil contains nutrients for plant growth, but, over time, the soil quality falls off. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it might be time to repot your houseplants.

  • Roots do not have much space at the bottom of the pot
  • Soil dries out too quickly and does not retain moisture
  • The plant is top-heavy and leans over
  • Brown sagging leaves
  • Brittle and hard plant stalks

Generally, your plants will need repotting because the roots are growing too large for the pot, or the soil has lost its nutrient quality. In other cases, you may need to repot your plant to stave off plant disease and plant fungi.

How Do I Know My Plants Need Repotting?

Below is an in-depth guide on how to repot a plant correctly and change its solid.

1. Pick A Replacement Pot

First things first: You need to choose a replacement pot for your house plants. The new pot needs to be large enough to fit the root system without crowding. It also needs to have drainage holes at the bottom for watering.

Pot size also depends on the kind of plant. If it is a fast-growing plant like bamboo or small trees, then you want to choose a larger pot that it can grow into. Materials like ceramic and terracotta are great options because they are porous, durable, and resistant to sun and heat damage.

2. Remove The Plant From The Old Pot

Next, remove the plant from the existing pot. Make sure to water the plant a few days before removing it to lessen the shock from transferring it to a new pot. Grab the plant near the base of the stalks and slowly but firmly pull it out of the soil. You don’t want to rip off any leaves or stems accidentally.

3. Remove Old Soil From Roots

Next, gently scrape the old soil off the roots of the plant. You want to remove as much old dirt as possible to open up the roots so they can absorb nutrients in the new soil. You can remove the soil with a garden knife, or you can use your hands. You can also gently shake the plant to remove the last bit of soil from the roots.

4. Cut Excess Root Growth

If your plant was too large for the old pot, you might have to trim the root system to fit the new pot without crowding. Root crowding is bad because it prevents nutrient absorption and can stunt your plant’s growth

You want to remove any dead parts of the roots and split existing roots. Splitting existing roots maximizes root surface area, so it can absorb more water efficiently. Look for natural divides in the roots and make small incisions with garden shears or a gardening knife.

5. Repot The Plant With New Soil


Now it’s time to actually repot the plant. When it comes to soil, we recommend using potting soil over gardening soil. Potting soil retains moisture better due to the presence of bark and moss, so it’s better for potted plants not directly in the ground.

Add fresh potting soil about halfway up the pot, place the plant, then fill in the soil to the top of the pot. Afterward, tap the bottom of the planter a few times to make sure the soil settles.

6. Thoroughly Water The Plant

After placing the new soil, it’s time to water your plant. Watering your plant right after repotting helps the soil cling to the roots and transfer nutrients more efficiently. Add enough water until the soil is thoroughly wet, but not so much that you can see standing pools of water. If your plant has a saucer at the bottom, water the plant until you see it collecting at the bottom.

For plants like succulents or cacti, add a handful of sand to the soil mixture to improve water drainage. If your new soil does not drain water well enough, you could waterlog your plants. If your plant leaves start to turn yellow after a day or two, you have added too much water.

Plant Repotting FAQ

It depends on the type and size of the plant, but most plants need repotting at least once every 12 to 18 months. Some slow-growing plants like cacti or succulents may not need repotting and just need periodic soil replacement.
You can reuse potting soil, but we would not recommend it. Old potting soil might contain fungi or bacteria that can infect new plants. Also, old soil loses most of its nutrients, so your plants won’t grow as well. You can mix some old potting soil with new potting soil if you are running low.

It depends on your needs and budget, but materials like fiberglass, ceramic, clay, and wood are popular options for plant pots.Plants with wood pots

Hire An Expert With A Green Thumb Today!

Taking care of plants is a great time, but you need to work on your green thumb for them to succeed. If you have any questions about how to repot a plant or landscaping work in Fremont, Archibold, or Defiance, contact Farrell’s Lawn & Garden Center online at our contact page!