How to Pot a House Plant


Whether you are re-potting a houseplant that has outgrown its container or potting up a new one that you've just brought home, giving a plant a new home will invigorate it. Choose a sterile potting mix appropriate for the type of plant you are potting. Agents with the University of Illinois Extension caution against using garden soil as it can contain pests and diseases.

Step 1

Choose a pot for the plant that is one size larger than the current pot.

Step 2

Pour the potting mix into a plastic dish pan or other container and slowly add lukewarm water, stirring to ensure that the soil is consistently moist.

Step 3

Spoon the potting mix into the new pot until it is half full.

Step 4

Remove the plant from its current pot by tipping it on its side and gently sliding it out. Inspect the roots. Gently loosen any outside roots that are tightly wound around the rootball. Scrape away any salt buildup (white residue).

Step 5

Place the plant in the new pot. It should sit at the same depth as it did in the old pot. You may need to add or remove soil to ensure that it is planted at the proper depth.

Step 6

Finish filling the pot with soil, to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Gently press the soil around the base of the plant to remove any air pockets in the soil and to ensure that the roots are in contact with the soil.

Step 7

Water the soil in the new pot until it drains from the bottom. Allow the pot to drain completely and place the plant back in its permanent location.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting pot with holes in the bottom for drainage
  • Planting mix
  • Plastic dish pan
  • Trowel or large spoon


  • University of Illinois Extension: Caring For Houseplants
  • "Foliage Houseplants"; James Underwood Crockett; 2001
Keywords: repot a houseplant, plant a houseplant, pot up houseplant

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, specializing in gardening-related topics and the real estate industry. She is a former broadcaster and real estate agent who has provided audio and written services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.