How Often to Repot Houseplants: The Complete Guide

How ofter to repot houseplants

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There is no definitive answer to this question. Some plants may only need to be repotted every few years, while others may need to be repotted every six months depending on how fast they grow and how big their pot is to start with.

How Often to Repot Houseplants

The best way to determine when a plant needs to be repotted is to check the soil moisture levels. The plant needs to be repotted if the soil is dry and hard, with roots and no growing space.

What is potting up and repotting plants?

Potting up plants is a process in which a plant growing too large for its current pot is transplanted into a bigger one with fresh soil. Repotting plants is simply refreshing the soil but keeping the plant in the same pot.

Why should I pot up plants?

While not necessary for all houseplants, potting and repotting plants is a popular method of forcing them to grow into more robust, healthier specimens by giving them room to expand their roots.

Many plants don't like crowded roots, and the potting process is an excellent way to provide them with more breathing room.

Root Bound Plant

When do you need to give your houseplants this sort of makeover? There are no hard-and-fast rules, but here are a few good reasons to consider:

1. If the plant is rootbound – if it's grown so much that its roots have filled up the container and begun poking through the drainage holes.

2. If the plant has put out new growth buds, they've been stunted because the space in its pot isn't adequate to support them.

3. If you're repotting a plant that's been growing well, especially one that is flowering or producing fruit, and you want to give it a fresh start with new soil.

4. If your plant has been in the same pot for a while and its roots have grown, or if it doesn't look as pretty as it used to or the leaves turn yellow, it might be time to repot your plant.

How often should I pot up plants?

It's important to note that how often you pot up your plants depends on many factors, including:

– How quickly your plant is growing

– The type of plant and size of the pot. For example, you will need to repot more frequently than once every 2/3 years if your plant proliferates in a small container. At the same time, you can pot up your plant more than once every 3 to 4 years if it grows slowly but needs a soil refresh.

How to repot a plant:

  1. Place some newspaper or mat on a firm surface as the soil will get everywhere 🙂
  2. Gentle squeeze the plant to help remove it from the pot.
  3. If roots are poking out of the bottom of the plant pot, gently untangle them; if any break, don't worry. Occasionally, I have had to use cut my pot to free all the roots entwined.
  4. If you are using a new pot, make sure you wash your pot thoroughly before adding fresh soil. If you are repotting your plant into the same pot, you can skip this step unless it is repotted due to pest infestation.
  5. Place in some new soil so that your plant can rest on some fresh soil.
  6. Gently loosen up the root ball with your hands and tease out its sides, if too hard you can soak the root ball for 10/15 minutes to help loosen it up.
  7. Add the plant to the pot, then add more soil, packing it loosely around the plant's root system, and gently tamp it down, so you don't compact the roots.
  8. Leave an inch of space between the rim of your pot and the finished level of soil
  9. Water thoroughly to settle in the new soil.

This is an excellent time to take a picture and post it on Instagram tag me at @Houseplant.Crazy. I always love to see your plant pictures :).

Good Growing

What kind of container is best for your plant?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer as to which type of pot you should use because the size and condition of your plant will determine which container you should use. For example, if your plant is large, you will need a large pot. If your plant is small, then you can use a small pot.

Plastic pots

Plastic pots are inexpensive and easy to clean, and they help insulate root systems from rapid fluctuations in temperature. They also come in various shapes, such as square or rectangular containers that fit into tight spaces.

Plastic pots are an excellent choice for plants with fleshy root systems, but they can keep the soil too wet for more delicate plants, leading to root rot if you don't have soil that allows good drainage.

If you don't like the look of plastic nursery pots, you can easily hide them in decorative cover pots, which is what I do with all my plants.

Plastic Nursery Pots

Clay / Terracotta pots

Clay / Terracotta pots are porous, allowing the drainage of excess water from the soil, making them a popular choice for preventing root rot from overwatering. They also leach away damaging salts from the compost.

Terracotta Pots

Ceramic pots

Ceramic pots are beautiful, but they can be pricey and heavy, especially for larger plants. Ceramic pots are best used to exhibit the beauty of your plants.

Self-watering planters

Self-watering planters are the best option for plants, especially if you forget to water your plants or have lots of plants in your collection.

They allow you to water your plant less, which is better for the plant's health, and they also help provide moisture into the soil mix at all times.

Pots with drainage holes

The best pots have several drainage holes to let the excess water drain away from the roots and prevent root rot. Make sure to put a saucer underneath your pot to catch excess water.

If you don't have a pot with drainage holes, there are ways you can create drainage by inserting gravel or small pebbles into the bottom of the pot.

Related Post: 7 Popular House Plants to Brighten Up Your Home

What to do after repotting a plant?

Once you have repotted your plant, it is essential to give it some TLC (tender, loving care) to ensure that it recovers successfully. Here are some tips to help your plant recover after repotting:

Give your plant time to adjust.

It's essential to give your plant some time to adjust to its new pot. Don't expect it to look perfect right away.

Don't overwater

It's easy to overwater a plant that's just been repotted, so resist the urge and water only when the soil is dry.

Don't fertilise

Fertilising a plant that's just been repotted can actually do more harm than good, so wait a few weeks before fertilising.

Keep an eye on your plant.

Monitor your plant closely in the days and weeks following repotting to ensure it's recovering well.

Repotting time of year

One of the most important things to consider when repotting your plants is the time of year. Repotting a plant at the wrong time of year can actually do more harm than good, so it's important to know when the best time to repot your plants is.

The best time of year to repot plants is typically in the spring when the weather is starting to warm up and new growth is beginning to appear. This is the time of year when most plants are starting to wake up and start growing again.

You should also replant your plants now because they will have new growth. This will let the plant spread its roots into fresh soil and boost it.

Repotting plants in the winter is not recommended because of the extreme temperatures and lack of sunlight, making it hard to recover.

But, if you need to repot your plant in winter, make sure to provide it with bright light. You can do this by using a grow light. Make sure to only water the plant when the soil is dry. This is because winter is the dormant period for most plants, and root rot can set in.

What are the best potting soil types for indoor plants?

When it comes to potting soil for indoor plants, you need to keep a few different things in mind. Not all potting soils are created equal, and not all plants will thrive in the same soil type. That being said, there are a few types of potting soil that are generally considered to be the best for indoor plants.

Here are a few of them:

Coco coir (coconut fibre)

Like perlite and vermiculite, coco coir is a great way to aerate the soil mix. It's made out of coconut husks, naturally full of air pockets that help promote drainage in the pot. It expands four times in size when mixed with water, making it a great soil additive to help aerate the mix.

This type of potting soil is typically best for orchids and succulents because it helps promote drainage. It's also straightforward to use! All you have to do is add water to expand it, which makes coco coir one of the most straightforward types of potting soil to use.

Cactus and succulent mix 

Succulents and cacti need light, well-draining soil full of air pockets for proper drainage. This type of potting mix uses ingredients such as pumice, perlite and peat moss, which will help ensure that your plant has the correct kind of mix.

This type of mix is just as effective for orchids and succulents as it is for cacti if you're looking to grow those types of plants.

Aerated potting mix

This is an excellent option for any type of plant, especially epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads. It's light enough to easily allow drainage through the bottom of the pot but not so light that it won't hold in water. It's also full of nutrients that will help promote growth.

Soil mix for seedlings

If you're just looking for a potting soil mix that's good for young plants, this is the way to go. This

Why you shouldn't use topsoil

If you're looking to repot, using topsoil is not the way to go. It may seem like a cheaper option because you get more for your money, but it's not worth it when your plant will probably be damaged in the process. 

Topsoil has a lot of unnecessary chemicals and fungicides in it that can actually really damage your plant, so it's best to avoid it altogether.

The best thing you can do is use a potting mix designed explicitly for houseplants, like coco coir or aerated potting mix. These will give your plant everything they need without any extra chemicals that can damage them over time.

Where to buy potting soil

Now that you know about the types of potting soil you should use, where do you find them? You can usually find a variety of readymade potting mixes in your local garden centre or nursery.

Soil Ninja does a great mix of premium soil blends for different plants, so you don't need to worry about mixing your own soil. 

If you aren't sure what your plant needs, they have a handy dandy list of plants and soil mix they recommend.

When repotting isn't always necessary.

If the plant is growing well and doesn't show any signs of wilting or distress, then there's no need to repot it. Some plants like to be root bound, so repotting isn't always necessary. Here are some houseplants that like to be root bound:

  • Peace Lily
  • Boston Fern
  • Jade Plant
  • African Violets
  • Spider Plants

The following are some reasons why certain houseplants perform better as root-bound plants.

In some situations, like with the Peace lily or Christmas cactus, root-bound houseplants will not blossom unless they are under duress. As a result, while the plant will produce many leaves, it will never produce the flowers that the plant is loved for.

In other cases, such as Boston fern or African violets, transferring a root-bound houseplant is more likely to kill it than help it.


Is it wrong to repot plants often?

It isn't wrong to repot plants often, but it's best to avoid doing so with succulents and epiphytes because their soil needs different things, and they like to be root bound.

Also, depending on the type of pot you use, you may want to do this less frequently since some pots don't let water through the bottom as quickly as others.

Should you repot plants as soon as you buy them?

You can, but it isn't necessary to do so right away. Plants that are root bound will continue to grow just fine even if they're kept in the same pot for a while.

Plus, the plant may need time to acclimatise to its new surroundings, such as light, temperature and humidity.

How long can plants stay in nursery pots?

As long as the soil in the pot is moist and composted, they can stay in these pots for years. However, the downside to this is that you'll have less growing space.

Final Thoughts:

Houseplants can be a great way to add life and colour to your home. However, deciding when it's time for them to be repotted can pose a challenge. Luckily we've compiled all the information you need on how often you pot houseplants in this post! 

Whether they're succulents or epiphytes, our guide will help you know what type of soil mix is best suited for your plant, as well as whether or not they like being root-bound. If something seems unclear still, don't hesitate to contact me at any point along the process with questions.

Please see all the houseplant supplies I love and use.

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