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How to Repot Houseplants? (A Step By Step Visual Guide)

How to Repot Houseplants?

Repot is an inseparable part and one of the things you should do during the care of your houseplant. During the maintenance of some plants this will be done annually and in some every few years. Therefore, learning how to repot houseplants is one of the basic tasks in growing and caring for houseplants. For this purpose, we have prepared for you how to repot a houseplant in a step-by-step visual guide. If you would like to repot your houseplants yourself from now on, follow this article in TooPlant.

What you will read in this article:

Why you should repot your houseplants?

Organic matter in the soil has a limited source for the survival of plant life. Plants collect these nutrients and feed on them while watering the plant causes these substances to go to the bottom of the pot and in a way causes these nutrients to be washed away and lost. Repot re-stores these reserves of organic matter to feed the plants and create enough space for them to grow.

The soil and pot of the plant should be changed when the roots are completely spread in the soil and leave no empty space. When the plant is moved to a larger container, we will have more empty space in the soil and the nutrients needed by the plant can be placed in these empty spaces. As a result, we will see the growth of the upper part of the plant, including flowers and leaves. In this condition, the plant will look healthier and bigger.

Another advantage is that the plant will need less water. When the roots are spread in all the empty space under the soil, there is no place left to store water and it leaves the bottom part of the pot sooner. If the empty space in the soil is increased with repot, the water will remain in the soil for a longer time and will feed the plant.

Why you should repot your houseplants?What happens if you don’t repot houseplants?

Most of the care needs of houseplants are different from each other. But repotting houseplants at the right time is a common care principle among all houseplants that will help the plant to grow better. Plants grow like any living thing and grow their roots in the soil for their durability and resistance. The growth of plant roots has caused the roots to intertwine or stretch towards the walls of the pot. After some time, the roots get damaged due to not receiving enough materials which eventually lead to the withering of the plant.

Most types of houseplants last for years in the same pot, without the need to change the pot or its soil, but eventually, the roots grow so much and take up space that we will eventually see the roots tangled. At this time, to save the plant, its pot and soil should be changed and the plant should be moved to a larger container. Do you want to know exactly how to repot a houseplant so that the plant is not damaged and its freshness is preserved? Stay with us in the following article to find the answer to this question.

When should I repot my houseplants? [10 Reasons why you should]

When it’s time to repot your houseplants, there will be signs that all indicate that the plant is tired and needs to be repotted, these signs are generally as follows:

1. Soil drying out quickly

When the roots of the plant occupy all the empty space in the soil, the soil will dry sooner and it should be watered more. This problem can be solved by enlarging the plant pot.

2. Destabilization of the plant in the pot or bending it around

If the pot is too small for the plant, the top may lose its previous stability and tilt around.

3. Extruding the roots of the plant from the end of the pot

If the roots of the plant protrude from the holes at the bottom of the pot, it means that they need more space.

The roots of the plant are visible from the soil surface of the pot or the roots are gathered at the end of the pot near the hole at the bottom of the pot and can be seen from under the pot.

4. Stop plant growth

If the plant has not grown for a long time despite all your efforts, it is probably because the pot is too small.

Also, newly grown leaves are smaller in size than older leaves.

5. Damage to the pot

The pot may be damaged due to old age or a special event. In this situation, it should be changed.

6. Decomposition of pot soil

If the soil in the pot becomes moldy, the salt in it is too much, or if it emits a bad smell, the pot should be changed along with the soil so that the plant is not damaged and can continue to grow.

7. Yellowing of leaves

The leaves turn yellow, withered and shriveled at regular intervals.

8. Remaining water on the surface of the pot

When watering, the water is placed in the upper part of the pot and is not absorbed by the plant.

9. Root entanglement

If you remove the plant from the pot and see that there is no trace of soil and the roots have occupied the entire space, it is time to change the pot. You can see such a plant in the picture below.

10. It’s been a long time since you changed the plant pot.

4 Signs To Tell Your Houseplants Don’t Needs Repotting

There are signs that tell you it is not time to change the pot. These signs are as follows:

1. If the plant is flowering

Houseplants usually start to flower when they are in perfect conditions. Now, if you take the plant out of the pot and turn it upside down and shake it, you may completely stop the flowering process. In this situation, the plant is so-called shocked, for example, if you shake the plant during flowering, you may cause its blossoms to fall, which happens a lot to one type of cactus called the Christmas cactus (See here for complete information on: How to care for Christmas Cactus?).

2. If the plant is very large

In this situation, you may damage the plant and yourself. Instead, it is better to remove about 2.5 cm of the soil on the pot and replace it with suitable fertilizer and fresh compost. In this way, sufficient nutrients will be provided to the plant and the water absorption capacity of the pot will increase.

3. If a plant needs root entanglement for its growth

Some types of houseplants, such as bird of paradise or peace lily  (Read the rest: How to care for Peace lily), can only focus on flowering when the root growth in them has stopped; Therefore, transferring them to a bigger pot will prevent them from flowering and they should be kept in a relatively smaller container.

4. If you don’t want your plant to grow bigger than it is

Usually, after transferring to a pot with more space, the plant will gradually grow and become bigger. If you don’t want this to happen, you shouldn’t change the pot.

How to Repot Houseplants?

Before starting to repot of your plant, you need a new pot, you should choose a new pot that is one to two sizes bigger than the previous one.

Steps for Repotting a Houseplant

The steps of repotting a houseplant are as follows:

First step; Provide a suitable pot and start working

One of the most important aspects of changing a pot is choosing the right pot. A pot that is too small or too big will damage the plant. Very small pots do not provide enough space for the roots to grow. On the other hand, if the pot is too big, it will cause the plant not to receive enough water. Therefore, while changing the pot, it is necessary to consider the growth of the plant and choose a pot that allows the plant to continue its healthy growth. For this purpose, the pot should be a few centimeters larger than the size of the plant in terms of depth and width. Remember that if the plant is still growing and will get bigger in the future, you may have to repot after a while.

In relation to the material of the pot, you should know whether to choose clay or plastic, each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Plastic pots are light and cheap and look more economical and easier to move. One of the disadvantages of plastic pots is that over time, the sun weakens the plastic and may cause it to crack or break. Another problem of the plastic pot is the lack of permeability in its texture, which can affect the plant’s root system. Clay pots help plant roots to grow properly. Undoubtedly, clay vases are more beautiful than plastic ones, but they are more expensive and break if they fall on the ground or are hit by another object.

After choosing a pot, place a suitable net on the bottom of the pot so that it covers the hole in the bottom of the pot. This is done to keep the soil in the pot stable and does not allow the soil to be easily removed from the bottom of the pot with each watering.

The second step; Adding soil suitable for your plant to the pot

After you cover the bottom of the pot with a net, it’s time to add the right soil for your plant to the pot. Remember to use new soil to change the pot and do not reuse the old soil, because the old soil lacked nutrients or the nutrients in them are very little. Before changing the potting soil, add some soil to the bottom of your new pot so that the plant is slightly away from the bottom of the pot. so that the root does not reach the bottom of the pot directly.

Third step; Taking the plant out of the pot (Loosening the roots of the plant to transfer to a new pot)

In the following steps, slowly remove the desired plant from the previous pot. Then gently remove the soil around the roots so that the roots are freer. For this, you can slightly tilt the pot so that the plant can be removed from the pot more easily. For this purpose, tilt the pot a little, you can also gently tap it so that it comes out more easily. Then hold the stem of the plant with the other hand so that it does not fall to the ground if the plant is removed.

Removing the plant from the pot to change the place of residence is the most sensitive part of this process. Especially if you want to take the plant out of a pot and plant it in a new pot, its sensitivity will increase. The plant should be removed from the pot with great care and precision so that the collar of the plant, which is the place where the plant connects to the soil, does not fall apart. If this happens, the plant adapts to the new environment with more difficult conditions.

Watering is another important part of repotting. When the soil is moist, tap the pot to loosen the soil from the pot. Finally, carefully take the plant out of the pot using the stem or trunk.

Taking the plant out of the pot, if its roots are spread in all the empty spaces in the soil, it will not be possible without struggling and it can be a difficult task. When the old pot is filled with roots, its normal shape will change a little.

In addition, the roots may protrude from the bottom of the pot, as you can see in the image below, making it much more difficult to remove the plant. Pulling out just one or two roots will keep the plant firmly in the pot.

Any of these can be a challenge in getting the plant out of the current pot. But do not rush. Patience is the most important thing in this situation. If you try to grab the plant by the stem and pull it out, it will only spoil it.

The roots of the plant must have received enough water for 1 to 2 days before repotting. If the roots are dry and dehydrated when repotting, they may be shocked and damaged. Be sure to water your plant in the mentioned period and then change the pot and soil.

Use the following ideas to remove a stubborn plant firmly rooted in the soil of the pot:

First idea: pressing around the pot

(If the plant in a pot made of clay or other compounds is hard and strong and cannot be pressed, go to the next idea).

Press around the pot by turning it between your hands. You usually have to repeat this several times. You will gradually notice that the plant is freeing itself from the pot and if all goes well, a piece will come out along with the root.

Second idea: cutting the roots coming out from the end of the pot

The root protruding from the end of the pot plays the role of a hook that causes the plant to get stuck in the pot. You can solve this problem by cutting the protruding roots.

The third idea: pressure from below

 If you have used the previous two ideas and no result is obtained, take a pencil and insert it from the end that is flat into the hole under the vase. Apply pressure to the soil and roots with a pencil and in this way, try to push the plant out of the pot.

The fourth idea: hammering!

Sometimes you have no choice but to cut the plant or completely destroy the old pot. If the normal shape of the pot has completely changed and the plant cannot really be removed from it, it may be necessary to cut the plant with gardening shears and remove it in this way. If the plant is not in a plastic pot, you will have two choices: either to break the plant container with a hammer or to give up on changing the pot altogether.

The fourth step; Transfer the plant to a new pot and soil

In the fourth step of houseplant repotting, gently place the plant in its new pot. Try to keep the plant straight and exactly in the middle of the pot to make your plant more beautiful. Also, if your pot has a specific design and shape, try to place the plant in the pot in such a way that both the plant and the pot can be clearly seen from the front view.

The fifth step; Add soil to the pot

Now that it’s time to change the potting soil, pour enough soil into the pot that the roots of the plant cannot be seen. Then press the soil slowly and very little, and remember that pressing the soil too much will prevent water from escaping. So do not compact the soil too much.

The sixth step; Fertilize the plant

Now, to improve the growth of the plant, you must give it its special food or fertilizer. For this purpose, prepare suitable fertilizer and spread the desired fertilizer slowly on the soil of the pot and around your plant.

4 Suggestions for repot houseplants

1- In summer, you can repot houseplants and then place them outdoors.

2- You can help them grow better by adding special plant food and accelerate the growth cycle of the plant.

3- Be careful that most houseplants need indirect light for their growth, so never expose them to direct sunlight and instead provide them with sufficient but indirect light. For example, you can place the plant near a bright window where the sun does not shine directly on it.

4- After repotting, place the plant in an environment where there is no chance of encountering it in traffic.

Additional tips for repotting houseplants

1. It is not necessary to repot houseplants in a certain season of the year

In most of the guide books and websites, they only mention spring as the best time to change the apartment pot. The reason is that in this season the roots of the plant grow faster and cover the empty spaces; Therefore, in the new pot, the conditions for their growth are provided earlier.

But if you get a little more experience and information about house plants, you will know that for most types of these plants repot time is not important and what is much more important is how to change the pot and soil.

So if you bought a winter plant in the cold season and you want to repot it, don’t be afraid to do this. Just be careful not to water the plant too much and don’t expose it to cold weather too much.

2. Choose the size of the new pot carefully

It is better to choose a new pot that is larger than the previous one to give the roots of the plant enough space to grow. But the empty space should not be so much that the plant gets lost in it. One size larger is the right size.

If your plant is not very big, it will not be a difficult task for you to repot it, but if your plant is a big plant and you are not able to repot it, the best way is to add the soil on the surface of the plant to the required amount (approximately depending on the pot size between 2 and 5 cm) and replace it with new soil.

3. Pay attention to the drainage method of the pot

Let the water out of the pot. Instead of placing the plant directly in a pot that has no holes at the end and water cannot escape, you can place the plant in a pot that does and then place the pot in a nice looking container that has a completely covered bottom and no holes.

Something similar to the container you see in the image below:

4. Be careful in choosing the type of pot

Clay pots have more pores; Therefore, a plant planted in such a pot will need more watering.

5. Observe the cleaning of the pot!

Be sure to clean the new pot you choose completely to prevent the spread of fungus and bacteria and damage to the plant.

6. Use the right fertilizer and nutrients

After repot houseplants, for fertilizing your plant, be careful that each plant needs a specific fertilizer, so pay attention to this point when buying fertilizer and be sure to get the right fertilizer for your plant.

You have a wide variety of choices for fertilizer and nutrients, from regular soil composts or home compost to less common things like hydroponics.

If you don’t have experience on this topic, we suggest you use packaged fertilizers and nutrients that are specific to houseplants (the phrase “for houseplants” must be written on the package) and don’t complicate the issue for yourself.

 The same packaged fertilizers and nutrients can be used for most types of houseplants.

Of course, there are plants that compost for houseplants will quickly cause their death. You can see the names of these plants below. For these plants, it is necessary to read their own guide and choose the right fertilizer and nutrients accordingly:

  • Aerobic plants
  • Orchid
  • Venus flytrap

In the end

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of repotting a  houseplant.

Be careful that with repot houseplants, you will put them under pressure and stress. Therefore, limit doing this only when it is really needed, such as when the plant loses its original vitality or when it clearly does not have enough space to grow and flourish in the current pot.

Knowing enough information and details about how to repot houseplants will make your work easier.

Be sure to read this information carefully and consider everything well before doing the work.

If you have experience on the topic or can tell us about additional tips and information about how to repot houseplants, share them with us and the TooPlant audience in the “Send a Comment” section. Also, if you have any questions, suggestions or criticisms, be sure to raise them.

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