How to Repot Houseplants - Backyard Boss
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How to Repot Houseplants

When you first bring your new houseplant home, it may seem like there’s no need to repot it – after all, that tiny pot seems to be working just fine, right? Unfortunately, many of these plants need to be repotted as soon as they get home. The good news is that repotting your houseplants is an easy process and one that will help your plant continue to thrive long into the future.

In this article, we will share with you how to repot houseplants!

Select the Right Pot

repot houseplants
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The first step in repotting a houseplant is to select the right pot. The pot should be clean, have drainage holes, and be big enough to accommodate the roots of the plant. If the plant has outgrown its current pot, it’s time for a new one. Don’t use an old container with cracks or missing pieces, as this can lead to disease.

A good choice for most plants is terra cotta pots because they are porous, lightweight, and affordable. Clay pots are also another option, but these can be heavy if used outdoors or on stairs without some kind of support beneath them. Clay pots are best suited for heavy-blooming plants like African violets and pelargoniums that need more humidity than terra cotta pots provide. These containers are better at holding moisture, so they’re ideal for succulents and other drought-tolerant plants.

Of course, some people prefer decorative ceramic containers over clay pots because they offer an attractive alternative to plastic.

Plastic containers can leach chemicals into the soil when heated by direct sunlight. It’s best not to let any pots sit in the sun too long since heat can cause burns and make it harder for water to evaporate from the soil below ground level.

Choose the Best Potting Soil

potting soil
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When it comes to potting soil, you have many options, but not all of them are created equally. You want a potting mix that is light and airy yet still has good drainage. Peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite are all good choices. You can also add in some compost for extra nutrients. 

As a rule of thumb, the best potting soil is one-third sand or grit, one-third peat moss or other organic material like bark chips or coconut coir fiber (coconut fiber has a higher water holding capacity), and one-third compost. The resulting mixture should be about as moist as a wrung-out cloth. 

The goal is to create an environment where roots grow well without drying out too quickly. And to maintain that level of moisture, add enough organic matter, so the potting soil never dries out. Achieving these goals takes some experimentation with different mixes. 

It’s always easier if you know what type of plant you’re repotting because different plants have different needs. But, with a little trial and error, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to finding the perfect potting soil recipe for your plants!

Pick Your Plant Carefully

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When you’re looking for a new houseplant, it’s important to think about how much time and effort you’re willing to put into caring for it. Some plants are high-maintenance and require a lot of water and attention, while others are more low-key and can survive on neglect. 

Consider your lifestyle and choose a plant that will fit into your schedule. If you have no problem spending an hour per day watering plants, then ferns are a great option to consider. On the other hand, if allocating an hour per week is more realistic, you might want to try a succulent or cactus instead.

Follow These Steps When Transplanting

Home gardening woman planting new succulent hawthoria plant in apartment indoor garden planter. Repotting rootbound plants in potting soil.
Image credit: Maridav via Shutterstock
  1. Assess the plant and its pot.
  2.  Choose a new pot that’s only slightly larger than the current one.
  3.  Gather your tools: fresh potting mix, a trowel, and something to catch excess water drainage (some like using an old saucer). 
  4.  Water the plant well before starting to repot it.
  5.  Use your trowel to loosen the root ball from the current pot. 
  6.  Carefully transfer the plant to its new home, making sure not to damage any roots in the process. 
  7.  Fill in around the root ball with fresh potting mix, and give your plant a good drink of water. You can now decorate the area with some organic fertilizer or decorative rocks if you’d like. 

Extra Tip: Consider Adding Lava Rock to the Bottom of the Pot

Lava Rocks Background - Small
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As a pro tip, consider adding lava rock! It’s an excellent drainage material and also one of the most affordable options, making it a great choice, especially for those on a budget. Simply add a layer of lava rock to the bottom of your pot before adding in your soil. It will help ensure that your plant has proper drainage and avoid root rot. 

You can also consider adding drainage materials to the top of the pot. Sometimes you may find yourself in need of more drainage at the top of your pot rather than at the bottom. In this case, you’ll want to place gravel or rocks on top of your potting mix near the top edge so water can easily drain out without having to get past several inches worth of soil first. 

Keep in Mind

  • Avoid over-watering after transplanting. 
  • Give plants adequate time to acclimate to their new environment. Usually, about two weeks is enough time to adjust and re-establish their root system. 
  • Be mindful of how much light they get during this adjustment period. Water regularly, but don’t be too aggressive with the watering. For example, when first transplanted into a sunny window sill, water in the morning so the plant can adsorb everything before the heat of the sun gets to it first. Water once every three days instead of every day will allow them more time to get used to the changes being made to their environments.
  • You’ll also want to give your newly repotted houseplants plenty of air circulation and sun exposure. Remember that houseplants need variety just as we do.

Repotting houseplants can be a fun and exciting hobby that will have your home looking more natural and aesthetically appealing. If any of these tips helped you, let us know in the comments below!

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