How to Transfer a Plant From a Small Container to a Large Container


Plants typically require repotting in the spring when a new flush of growth appears. Some vigorous growers require frequent potting, while some prefer to remain in the same pot for several years. Spider plants fail to produce new plantlets until they become rootbound. Peace lily and Christmas cactus do not bloom until under stress caused by being rootbound. Before attempting to repot plants, check the specific growing needs of your plant.

Step 1

Fill a new pot 3/4 full with fresh potting medium designed for the kind of plant you are growing. Cactus and succulents require a different mixture than tropical plants and African violets. Choose the proper soil to promote healthy growth. The new pot should be 2 to 3 inches larger than the current pot.

Step 2

Water the plant before removing from the original pot. This reduces stress and makes soil easy to handle.

Step 3

Hold the pot in one hand. Place your free hand over the top of the pot so your palm rests on the soil and the stem of the plant rests between your fingers. Turn the pot over, supporting the plant with your palm. Tap the bottom to slide the plant free of the pot.

Step 4

Cut tightly coiled roots by slicing from the bottom of the root ball upward, using a sharp knife. Make the cut 1/3 of the way into the root ball. Cuts should be no longer that 1/4 to 1/3 the height of the root ball.

Step 5

Trim away any dead or discolored roots with the knife. Healthy young roots are white or tan. Remove dark, brittle or mushy roots.

Step 6

Place the plant in the new pot. Loosen roots with your fingers and spread out over the soil. Fill in around roots with fresh soil. Position the plant to its original planting depth.

Step 7

Water thoroughly and place in the appropriate lighting for the plant. Resume routine plant care.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting medium
  • Sharp knife


  • University of Illinois Extension: Repotting Houseplants
  • Texas A&M University: Houseplants
  • University of Missouri Extension: Care of Flowering Potted Plants
Keywords: repot plants, potted plants, transplant plants

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.