Planting Instructions for Potted Plants


One thing you can count on when growing plants in pots: Eventually you will need to repot them. If your potted plant requires more water and needs it more often than it used to, it should be repotted. If new growth is small and spindly and you have not recently relocated it to different growing conditions, the plant needs to be repotted. Finally, plants need to be repotted if roots grow out of the drainage holes or appear on the surface of the soil.

Step 1

Choose a pot slightly larger than the pot in which the plant is currently growing. It should be approximately 2 to 3 inches larger.

Step 2

Place an inch of gravel in the bottom of the new pot if it is a plastic or ceramic pot. For a terracotta clay pot, place a piece of broken clay pot over the drainage hole so that water can drain, but the soil does not wash out.

Step 3

Add 2 to 3 inches of good quality potting soil to the bottom of the pot.

Step 4

Tip the plant on its side, in its current pot, and gently rap the side on the tabletop. The root ball should slide out of the pot with most or all of the soil still attached.

Step 5

Grasp the root ball gently with your hands, trying not to break it apart. Place the root ball on top of the soil in the new pot. The top of the soil should not come above the top of the pot. If it does, remove the root ball and remove some of the soil from the bottom of the pot to lower the level of the root ball and replace it.

Step 6

Add potting soil to the space between the root ball and the sides of the pot. Gently tamp it down with the end of a small dowel until the top reaches the same level as the top of the soil around the root ball.

Step 7

Rap the bottom of the pot against the tabletop to settle the soil.

Step 8

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

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant a potted plant in a pot much larger than the one in which it is currently growing, because it will be more susceptible to root rot because the soil will remain moist much longer than that of a smaller pot.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant pot
  • Gravel
  • Indoor potting soil
  • Small dowel
  • Watering can


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Potting Houseplants
  • University of Illinois Extension: Repotting Houseplants
Keywords: planting potted plants, repot container plant, transplant potted plant

About this Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a freelance writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.