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How to Repot Your Houseplant

How do I repot a houseplant? 

You will need to re-pot your plant once its current pot fills up with roots. Different plants will need to be repotted at different times, depending on how quickly it grows. 

  1. Select your new pot and potting soil. Your new pot should be no more than 2 inches larger in diameter than the old pot. Make sure it has a drainage hole. 
  2. Sterilize your new pot. Scrub out any soluble salts and wash the pot in a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
  3. Remove your plant from its old pot. You may need to knock the lip of the container against a solid surface to loosen the plant from its old container. If your plant is root bound, you will need to unwind any roots that encircle the plant. 
  4. Place your plant into its new pot. Set the rootball in the middle of the new soil. Fill soil around the sides between the rootball and pot. Do not add soil above the original level on the rootball, unless the roots are exposed.
  5. Water your plant. This helps get it settled into its new home.


What container should I use? 

A good container should be large enough to provide room for soil and roots, have sufficient head room for proper watering, and have a drainage hole. 

Clay and Ceramic Containers

Clay and ceramic pots are considered to be the healthiest type of container for a plant. This is because play pots stabilize the plant and dry out sooner than plastic pots. They provide excellent aeration for plant roots and help protect your plant from rapid temperature changes. 

Plastic and Fiberglass Containers 

Plastic and fiberglass containers are light, inexpensive, come in lots of shapes and colors, and are easy to handle. Plastic pots are easy to clean for reuse, need less frequent watering and tend to accumulate fewer salts. 


What kind of potting soil do I need? 

For healthy plants, make sure you use good, quality potting soil. Quality potting soil is porous enough to give your plant's roots room to grow and aerate, but can also keep water and nutrients in the pot.

Some commercial potting soils lack the nutrients needed for healthy plants. Because of this, it is best to mix your own potting soil if you can.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is an inexpensive material that you can find in any home gardening store. It is available baled or bagged, and is a recommended addition to potted plants. Peat moss helps prevent root rot, loosen soil, and improve aeration. 


Vermiculite is a sterile, light-weight soil additive. Vermiculite improves soil aeration, along with water and nutrient retention.  Vermiculite is available under a variety of trade names and comes in several different sizes. 


Perlite improves soil aeration, but does not hold water and nutrients as well as vermiculite. Be warned: perlite can cause fluoride burn on some foliage plants and this damage can be seen on the tips of the plants.

DIY Potting Soil Formula 

  • 1 part sterilized garden soil. This can be found at a local garden store. 
  • 1 part peat moss. 
  • 1 part vermiculite or perlite. 

Mix all three ingredients thoroughly. 

Learn more about homemade potting soil.