Learn when, why, and how to repot plants! Today I’m sharing some of my research into keeping healthy plants in the home and my top tips for repotting houseplants. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
We moved into our new home a little over a week ago (you may have seen some sneaky peeks of the new place if you caught some of my recent instagram stories), and with most of our mini-renovation construction done and the flooring finished, I am ready to start decorating! I am so excited to really make this place ours and have been working on nailing down a specific vision for the house. A big part of that vision is plants – lots of beautiful plants. I want our home to be filled with greenery and life!
Unfortunately, I don’t have the best track record with keeping my houseplants happy and healthy – you could say my thumb is a bit more black than green – BUT I am trying to turn things around! I have been doing a lot of reading about how to care for houseplants to try to determine what has gone wrong in the past. Recently, I my dear fiddle leaf fig bit the dust, and after doing some research I have determined that poor Jasper needed to be repotted.
Today, I wanted to share all that I have learned about repotting houseplants and tell you guys about a new product I’m trying out.
When Should Your Repot?
- Any time a plant’s roots are crowded in it’s container, it needs to be repotted. You can tell that the roots are crowded if they are sticking out of drain holes or if you remove the plant from the pot and see tight, coiled roots and little soil. When this happens the plant is root bound and should generally be repotted. (Note – I was surprised to read that some plants can actually benefit from being root bound as it. You can read more about that here.)
- Plants that are actively growing should generally be repotted in a slightly larger pot about once a year (usually in the Spring or before the plant’s most active growing season). Large plants may only need to be moved to a bigger container once every two years.
- Even repotting a plant in the same container can benefit the plant. I was surprised to learn that even if a plant has not outgrown it’s current container, removing a plant from it’s pot, loosening and/or pruning the roots, and adding fresh soil about once a year can breath fresh life into a plant. I think this was the case with my fiddle leaf fig, Jasper, he wasn’t root bound, but the soil had become dry and hard so that when I watered the plant, it ran straight through. I think repotting may have helped with this issue.
- Wait before repotting brand new plants. Your new plant needs some time to adjust to it’s new home. Waiting a week or two before moving it into a new pot will cut down on shock to the plant.
Tips for Repotting Houseplants
Before You Repot
- Water your plants a day or two before repotting. This will help keep the plant healthy and make it easier to work with.
- Gather supplies. You will need soil, a new pot, gloves, and a trowel. When choosing a pot, be sure to pick a pot only 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than the plant’s current home. Expanding too quickly can send plants into shock. Also be sure to think about drainage! Pick a pot with drainage holes and place a tray under it to catch excess water. You can place a plain pot with drainage holes and tray inside a larger decorative pot or basket (which is my favorite look).
- Soak Terracotta Pots. If you are using a terracotta pot, you need to soak it for a few hours before planting to prevent it from sucking water out of the soil.
Miracle-Gro reached out to me to see if I would like to try out their new Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix, and I was happy to give it a try. The thing that sets this soil apart from other mixes is that expands when mixed with water, which makes it lightweight enough to be shipped through the mail, in fact it is only available through Amazon, which I kind of love because I am all about that Amazon Prime life. If you have hauled around big bags of soil in the past, you know how heavy that stuff can be! This stuff, on the other hand, is an easy one-handed pickup, and I was still able to repot several of my plants with just one bag. I’m using it for my houseplants, but it can also be used in outdoor gardens, raised beds, you name it. Here’s how it works, you scoop some of the coil into your pot, pour in some water, stir, stir, stir, and repeat until the soil fluffs up – about 3 times its original volume. Once it is expanded, you are ready to plant and it is ready to keep your plants healthy as it holds 50% more water than ordinary potting mix, can grow larger plants, and feeds plants for up to six months. I am really excited to see how my plants do in this new soil over the next few weeks!
How to Repot
- Fill the bottom of the new pot with soil. Remember not to use a pot more than 1-2 inches larger than the previous pot. If you are using the Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro be sure to mix it with water and let it expand before placing the plant!
- Remove the plant from the previous pot. Holding the top of the soil with one hand, tip the pot to the side and tap the bottom of the pot to ease the plant out. If the pot is flexible, you can try squeezing the sides. If the plant is stuck, you may need to use a butter knife or trowel to gently separate it from the sides of the pot. Don’t forget to wear your gloves to keep your hands clean and protected!
- Place the plant into the center of the pot. Leave space between the top of the pot and the top of the soil so you can add some new soil.
- Fill in sides and cover top with new soil. Pat down to fill the pot and water so the soil is most.
And that’s it for repotting houseplants! I am hoping my plants will all adjust well to their new homes and continue to thrive and flourish.
I have a fun little planter DIY coming up in a couple of weeks, and I will update you on my plants’ progress then. 🙂
Until then, Happy Planting and Happy Making!
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Comments + Project Love
Monika Sas says
I, too, have struggled to keep houseplants alive; but after years of artificial plants, I’m trying to give it a go. For that reason, I found your tips very helpful. I never knew that one should wait before repotting a new plant or that the pot should not be larger than 1-2 inches. In retrospect, I’m guilty of both. By the way, are the basket planters in the photos your own? If so, would you mind sharing where you purchased them? I simply adore the larger basket with the handles. Thanks again!
Thanks, Monika! I love keeping my plants in baskets. I got that particular basket at Home Goods a couple of years ago I think. I often find great baskets there. 🙂
Nina Paul says
Thanks for sharing this, it will definitely help me in managing my plants.