How Often to Repot Plants - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How Often to Repot Plants

Repotting your plant gives it adequate room to grow and fresh soil, which in turn allows the plant to grow fuller and larger and even bloom. How often you should repot your plants depends on several factors, including the age of the plant, how long it has lived in its current pot, and if it shows any signs that it has outgrown its pot.

If you’re not sure when you should be repotting your plants, we’re here to help. Below, discover reasons to repot, as well as the things you’ll need to consider to determine whether or not it’s time to repot.

Reasons for Repotting

Spring Houseplant Care, repotting houseplants. Waking Up Indoor Plants for Spring. Woman is transplanting plant into new pot at home. Gardener transplant plant Spathiphyllum
Image credits: Iryna Imago via Shutterstock

The first reason for repotting your plant is perhaps the most obvious: it gives the plant room to grow. If the roots have overgrown the container with no room to expand, it won’t be able to continue growing or producing new leaves. It could also cause the plant to suffer from getting too little water, and it may begin to drop leaves.

Refreshing the soil is one of the most important reasons to repot your plants. There are several ways to tell if your soil is bad, including how it affects your plant. Plants require nutrients to grow, and if they are in old soil devoided of nutrients and perhaps riddled with pests and mold, they may drop leaves or die.

When to Repot

Annual Repotting

Image credits: mixetto via Canva

If your plant is a rapid grower, it will likely require repotting every 12 months. Vining plants, such as pothos and philodendron, will require repotting more often. Houseplants, such as cacti and succulents, on the other hand, will need repotting every 18 to 24 months. With that in mind, even if they are not root-bound, they will need to be potted in fresh soil annually.

Check for Signs it Needs Repotting

Parsley plant outside of its pot, large roots
Image credits: Alicia Fdez via Canva

If timeframes don’t give you the clarity you need when it comes to repotting your houseplants, you’ll be happy to hear that the plant will speak for itself. There will be numerous signs that your plants need repotting, whether that’s because they need fresh soil or require a larger pot. Check out some of the main signs below.

1. Roots growing through the drainage hole.

If you notice roots growing through the drainage hole or around the pot, there’s a good chance your plant is root-bound.

2. The plant is growing slower.

Once your plant begins to slow in growth (especially during the growing season), it may need fresh soil or a larger pot as it may be lacking nutrients and water.

3. Leaves are dropping. 

If the leaves of your plant begin dropping, the plant could either be root-bound or the soil may be too old. Otherwise, consider your houseplant care methods and what you may need to change to help it grow.

4. Accumulation of minerals on top of the soil. 

If you notice a white layer of nutrients and minerals on the top crust of your soil, water and nutrients cannot penetrate the soil and reach the roots. This means that the soil needs changing.

Changing the Soil vs Changing the Pot

Parsley plant outside of its pot, large roots
Image credits: Alicia Fdez via Canva

While you should change the soil every time you repot your plant, you don’t always have to put it in a new pot. You can determine whether a plant needs replanting in a larger pot once you remove it from its original pot. If the plant is root bound, it’s time to upsize. Otherwise, you can replace the old soil with fresh, high-quality soil.

Refreshing the soil is an incredibly easy process. Remove your plant from its pot using your hands or a trowel. Then, brush away the soil from the roots. You can also rinse the roots to ensure there’s no build-up leftover. Then, fill your pot with fresh soil, add the plant, and top it off with more soil. Pat the soil down to ensure the plant is snug in its new home.

Time to Repot!

In general, plants benefit from repotting every 12 to 18 months. And if your plant isn’t ready to find a new home in a larger pot, it will still require fresh soil. There are plenty of ways to determine if your plant needs repotting, from its age, to how long it has been in the pot, to any signs that it needs repotting.

With all these tips in mind, all that’s left to do is repot your plant! Thankfully, the process is an easy one, whether you repotting orchids or your favorite houseplants. And if your plant isn’t ready for repotting but is struggling, consider other reasons your plant may be dying.