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How to Easily and Carefully Repot a Pot Houseplant


If your fiddle leaf fig has outgrown its pot (lucky you!) you may be wondering how to repot a houseplant without disturbing its growth. First, don’t be too worried about hurting your plants: they’re stronger than you think! Second, if you don’t repot your plants as they require, it can actually stunt their growth as their roots become too tightly bound. To successfully repot a houseplant, follow our simple how-to guide and be prepared to get your hands dirty!

How to Tell if Your Plants Need Repotting

Your plant needs a new pot if it wilts quickly or has yellowing leaves. Also, look out for roots that poke out of the soil or top heavy plants that look like they’re about to topple over — that’s a tell-tale sign that it’s time for an upgrade!

To Repot a Plant You Will Need:

  • Plant pots (slightly larger than the one in use)
  • Bristle brush
  • Gloves
  • Towel
  • Bleach (optional)
  • Good-quality potting mix
  • Slow release fertilizer (optional)
  • Mulch

Tip: Repurpose an old mesh ironing board into a potting bench — its height adjustable, light, and portable. Also, water and potting mix can fall through the holes for quick clean ups.

How to Repot a Houseplant

  • Set up workspace outside as your potting bench. If using old pots, clean thoroughly with a bristle brush to minimize chances of cross contamination. If you’ve had any serious plant problems, wipe pots out with bleach to kill off pathogens.
  • When repotting, always upsize before your plants become pot-bound (matted, circling roots). The soil should still be able to just fall away slightly when you remove the pot.
  • Remove the plant from its existing pot, pull out weeds, and check the root system is in good condition: if necessary, trim off twisted or broken roots. If the potting mix is dry, dunk the plant into a bucket of water before replanting.
  • Your new pot should only be one size larger than the original. Partly fill pot with potting mix and carefully set the plant in its new container, making sure it’s straight and centered. Do not plant deeper than it was in the original pot. Fill sides of plant with more mix and press down with your fingers.
  • Water thoroughly to help the plant settle. If fertilizer isn’t already added to the potting mix, sprinkle controlled-release fertilizer over the surface. (Water before feeding with chemical fertilizers to minimize chance of root burn.)
  • Add a layer of mulch on top and leave to drain and dry.


Position heavy pots in their final location before filling them with potting mix. Slightly elevate the pots using plant riser pads (Buy on Amazon, $11.99) to help with drainage. Check that the drainage holes are in good shape and cover holes with a mesh material to stop soil leakage.

Watch the video by Washington Post gardening columnist Adrian Higgins for more repotting tips and to see how easy it is to keep your houseplants healthy and thriving!

This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.

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