Repotting Your House Plants

Never give up on things that make you smile.


Buy your plant, find a cute pot for it, squeeze it out of the growing pot, pack it into new soil and water, water, water…right? Not completely! Plant keeping is not as easy as second grade makes it sound.

As I began my houseplant journey, I decided to do more research on keeping the plants alive. So as I bought one…okay I bought like four to start with. I not only saved the little tag that comes with each plant, but went on Pinterest and Google (of course) to teach myself more.

Check out these tips and follow-up with “My Experience” below.

Helpful Repotting Tips:

  • Allow the plant to adjust to it’s new environment before repotting; it takes time to “get to know” it’s new lighting and temperature
  • Choose a pot that is no more than 2 inches larger than its current pot (repotting into a larger than that can affect the plants survival).
  • Place your plant into the new post keeping it an inch above your soil; gently pack and water thoroughly (depending on type of plant)
  • You’ll know it’s time to repot when your stem is coming up out of the soil, or the roots become crowded
  • Don’t overwater. Succulents don’t even need much water (if any) when initially repotting. (This will be a blog post of its own!)

Are you a visual person? Here is a quick video.

Maybe you know this, but I did not at first; When you repot a plant, it makes it weaker. (Sounds so obvious reading that). Because the plant is weaker, the initial weeks post re-potting are vital to its stability. I suggest beginning with some hearty houseplants that are difficult to kill and easy to care for.

Things to avoid:

  • Direct sunlight-too much sunlight can kill the plant if it’s not strong enough yet
  • Fertilizer-when roots are weekend the plant can suffer “fertilizer burn” so waiting at least two weeks before fertilizing is a better idea.
  • Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. If leaves are limp, it needs more water, if the leaves begin turning yellow it’s getting too much water.
  • Humidity. Apparently plants like humidity and it can be very helpful when repotting new plants.

My experience:

I started with some house plants at the beginning of spring (which were difficult to find because technically we were “out of season.”). I did manage to find a few succulents and exotic plants at good-ole Walmart when I had the itch to get them.

I kept them in their original pots and placed them inside a bit larger pot for a LONG time. MONTHS, before I decided to repot them into those new pots. I read that repotting during the winter, or non-growing season, can be hard on the plants. In that time I was researching more about caring for my houseplants.

I have yet to try to keep my plants alive this winter. It gets cold near my windows, which is where my house plants currently live for the sunlight; so I am a bit nervous because I have read to keep them away from cold windows/drafts during the winter. I have a succulent garden (that is finally improving) that I have had for a few years now, it was close to death and with a little research I have managed to get it back to life!

One helpful hint though for increasing humidity (especially in winter) is to put some rocks and a little water at the bottom of the pot. I did this with my Peace Lily and I believe it really helped during the early spring months when it took FOREVER for summer to get here!

I have managed to keep most of them alive (all but one). Learning when to water has been extremely helpful too.

Win for me!

I had an aloe plant that was looking pretty deathly. A friend came over and said “it looks like you need to repot it.” The bottom of the plant was rising above the dirt, which is a sign that your plant needs to be repotted apparently. I did repot, and it still didn’t look the best. So, seriously YEARS later, it was barely hanging on, and I decided to repot it, IT IS GETTING HEALTHIER! There is new growth sprouting through the top. It’s taking some time, but now that I know not to overwater, I’ve got this covered! I will keep you updated on this plant in the next year! (see current photo below)

Repotted Aloe plant…kind-of looks like I need to bury it deeper in my soil…oops!

Want to know which plant to start with…get an Aloe plant. Clearly, they are VERY difficult to kill.

There is nothing like helping your plant survive!

I would love to hear your stories about how your plants survived (or didn’t survive) a repotting. What is your personal experience with repotting plants?

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