How to Re-Pot House Plants


Eventually, every house plant needs to be re-potted. Often, this is because the house plant has outgrown its old pot. When this happens, the plant's roots become bound, the plant will stop producing new growth, the plant will require more water than usual and the roots may even grow out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. But super-sizing the pot is not the answer. Your house plants new pot should only be 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and depth than its original pot.

Step 1

Clean the new pot with a solution of one part bleach to five parts water, and rinse it thoroughly.

Step 2

Use a pot shard to cover the drainage hole at the bottom of the new pot. This way water will be able to drain out, but the new soil will stay put.

Step 3

Fill the bottom of the new pot with a few inches of fresh potting soil.

Step 4

Remove the plant from its original pot. Pat the sides of the pot with an open palm to loosen the soil. Then grab the plant at the base of its foliage and pull gently. If the plant is stubborn, stick a knife between the soil and the side of the pot. Then slide it along the inside of the pot and try again. If the plant still won't come out easily, you may have to break the pot. Don't yank on the plant's foliage, or you may damage it.

Step 5

Examine the plant's roots. White or light-colored roots are healthy roots. Any black or dark-colored roots are rotting and should be pruned away with a pair of sharp pruning shears.

Step 6

Loosen the plant's roots by gently pulling them away from the root ball with your hands. If the plant's roots are badly root bound, first use a sharp knife to vertically score the roots (about 1 inch deep) in several places around the root ball. By loosening the roots in this manner, you will stimulate growth.

Step 7

Place the house plant in its new pot. It should sit in the new pot at the same depth that it sat in the old one. If it is too low or too high, add or remove some of the potting soil.

Step 8

Fill the pot with soil by pouring it around the edges of the plant. Pack the soil tightly, so the root ball fits snugly within the pot. By the end of the process, a 1/2-inch to 1-inch space should remain between the top of the pot and the soil. This "gap" allows for adequate watering.

Step 9

Water the house plant until water comes out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Pot shard
  • Pruning shears
  • Knife
  • Bleach


  • Plant-Care: Repotting House Plant Essentials
  • University of Illinois: Repotting Houseplants
Keywords: re-pot house plant, pot house plant, new pot plant

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.