5 Steps to repot a plant without killing it [Easy Guide]

repot a plant

Hi, before we learn how to repot a plant let’s learn the three basics of containers first, that’s material, size, and drainage. Containers or pots are made up of different kinds of materials.

Pots are made from clay, stone, or concrete, or porous. While glazed, ceramics, plastics, metals, and glass they’re non-porous and porous just means having minute spaces or tiny holes through which liquid or air may pass.

Different types of pots

So in the case of clay pots, this material allows air to pass through the sides to reach the dirt and the roof. It also allows water or moisture to the fuse through the container and both these mechanisms allow for faster evaporation, which makes clay pots an excellent choice for beginners.

If you’re gonna go for a wood container make sure to use a liner because over time it’s just going to deteriorate the wood.

Keep metal and stone containers away from heat sources or direct sunlight. These two materials have a tendency to absorb a lot more heat and will cook your soil and your roots, but to fix that just add a buffer like plastic.

Now for the size this one is simple the large of the pot the longer it’s going to take to dry.

lastly drainage holes. No drainage holes? no problem you have three choices

  1. Use a plastic liner.
  2. Drill your own.
  3. Pot up directly.

So now we can talk about repotting. Repotting is simply placing your plant into a new container and/or soil. And we do this for a number of reasons.

Reasons to switch containers:

  1. To size up
  2. Found nicer container
main reason to size up is because the plant became pot bound

The main reason to size up is because the plant became pot bound. There are varying degrees of pot boundedness, like the spider plant who’s only slightly pot-bound versus fittonia which is moderately pot bound up to this philodendron selloum which is highly pot bound.

So here are some signs that your plant may be pot bound:

some signs that your plant may be pot bound
  1. If you find that your soil is drying out way too fast even after a good soaking because there are more roots and dirt in the pot.
  2. Another sign is where there was once fast growth that has been replaced with slowed growth even though all the other conditions stayed the same and are ideal.
  3. Some visual signs include roots coming out through the drainage hole.
  4. Your plant that’s pushing itself up and out of the pot.

Reasons to switch soils

  1. One reason to change the soil is to change its composition to something better or something more suitable.
  2. Another reason is you want to discard a bit entirely because of pest infestation.

When to repot a plant?

The best time to repot a plant is when light is abundant and temperature and humidity are high. For those of you who live closer to the equator or tropical or warmer regions yeah that’s gonna be like all year, for those of us who live farther from the equator or live in colder regions then they’ll be during the spring and summer months.

But of course, these conditions can be achieved through artificial means too.

So now let’s get to why you clicked this article in the first place. Let’s learn how to repot.

5 easy steps to repot a plant

Step 1: Remove it from the container.

Step 1 to repot a plant: Remove it from the container.

You could water your plant a few days or hours prior or just remove it while it’s drying. Either can work and it’s just a matter of preference. Massage decides to loosen the soil from the side of the container. If you’re having trouble just scrape the sides instead.

Grab the base of the plant while holding the container down and gently pull. I find turning it on its side makes this step a little bit easier.

Basically, your goal is to keep most of the roots intact, but it’s all right a few severed some already we were gonna do that anyway.

Step 2: Tease the roots

Step 2: Tease the roots

Once it’s removed from the container you may either have an intact root ball or just some dangling roots. Both of these are fine.

If you have a root ball with roots spiraling then yeah you’re gonna need to tease and teasing just means severing some roots to promote new root growth.

If you have the dangling roots you can just skip this step.

Step 3: Place it into the new container

Step 3: Place it into the new container

Some people recommend lining the bottom of your pot with rocks or stone or broken pieces of clay to prevent clogging but between you and me rocks, clay, nothing yeah! Your pot will still have a tendency to clog sometimes.

If that happens just take something skinny and just put it up the drainage hole and they’ll flow out, some soil will flow out too but at least your plant isn’t sitting in the water. So whatever you choose place a layer of soil at the bottom, next measure out where you want your plant to be. Making sure that the soil level is where it was originally.

Also, make sure to leave enough space between the lip of the container and the soil. This is to prevent water, just spilling off the side when you go to water your plant.

Now add or remove as much soil elision need to get the plant to stand freely on its own.

Here are some helpful tips: shake the pot, shake the plant, shake both at the same time, you know up and downside to side. This will help the soil particles get into those empty spaces.

Step 4: Give the plant a thorough shower

Step 4: Give the plant a thorough shower

This will eliminate even more air pockets and ensure the soil particles are close as possible to the roots.

Step 5: Cutting Back (Last step when you repot a plant)

Step 5: Cutting Back (Last step when you repot a plant)

If possible if you have enough, remove some foliage to help your plant to wake more energy to root development.


To repot a plant is very easy and it’s necessary for the health of your planet. Imagine being the one stuck inside the same container day in and day out. Those days turn into months which turn into years.

You circle the pot again and again until you forget what it was like to actually grow free. You see other containers and want to make a change but you’re afraid. You’re comfortable where you are, it’s safe here, you don’t want to suffer any of this because there’s no guarantee that you’ll even make it right but could you imagine the heights that you reach if you do.

All right I hope you enjoyed that and if you want me to keep writing more articles please leave a comment. Alright cool, thanks. Happy Gardening!

I am Fenil Kalal. Professionally I have done Engineering in Information and Technology. Gardening is my passion/love/favorite hobby and I have 5+ years of experience in Gardening.

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