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How to repot a houseplant (and clean up afterwards)

Find out how to repot a houseplant plus tips to tidy and clean your home afterwards.


By Cleanipedia Team

repotting a houseplant
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Key steps

  • Always pull the pot away, not the plant.

  • Cut away dead roots.

  • Use appropriate soil for your plant.

  • Use a clean pot.

  • Make sure your plant is centred and straight.

  • Prune your plant. 

  • Water your plant and give it plenty of light.

  • Use Cif Spray to clean up any mess.

Potted houseplants are a tidy and easy way to create a little indoor garden, especially if you don't have outdoor space at home. As they grow, you often find yourself repotting plants to ensure they continue to remain healthy. Here you’ll find a simple step-by-step guide on how to repot a plant in a larger pot with minimal mess, as well as tips on how to clear up any potting soil spills afterwards.

Once you have swept up any large dirt and soil particles, use a good quality cleaner like Cif spray, to clean up any leftover mess and leave your home sparkling.

When should you start repotting plants?


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Before we show you how to pot a plantthat needs to be moved to a new pot, it is important you understand when you would need to do so. Here are a few signs your plants might need repotting:

1.    Your houseplant stops growing as it should.

2.    The leaves become straggly or pale.

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3.    Water doesn’t soak into the soil.

4.    Your plant keeps falling over because it is top-heavy.

5.    The pot has no drainage.

6.    You notice roots poking out of the soil.

What do you need to repot your houseplants?

There are a few supplies you will need to pick up before you get started with repotting your houseplants. These include:

  • Trowel

  • Gloves

  • Scissors or a sharp knife

  • Potting soil – ensure it is designed for your plant (for example, special mix for cacti, or all-purpose mix for foliage plants)

  • New pot: Ensure it has drainage holes and is approximately two inches larger than the current pot. Any bigger and your plant could drown in the extra soil.

How to pot indoor plants: 6 easy steps to repot your favourite houseplant

Here is our easy guide to how to repot a plant:

1.    Water your plant first, to help the soil come away from the pot easily.

2.    Turn your plant on its side, supporting the main stem. Gently tap the pot on your work surface to loosen it and pull the pot away (not the plant!)

3.    If the soil is in good condition, avoid disturbing it as removing soil can cause stress to your plant. However, If the soil looks rotten or mouldy, you will need to gently shake it to remove the excess.

4.    Use the scissors or sharp knife to cut away rotten or dead roots.

5.    Make sure the new pot is clean, using hot soapy water.

6.    Add a small mound of soil for your plant to sit on, ensuring the top of the roots will sit at least ½ inch below the rim of the pot.

7.    Put your plant into the centre of the pot. Ensure it is in the middle and standing straight.

8.    Fill the pot with more potting soil, pressing the soil down to ensure it is firm.

9.    Water your plant well until water runs out the bottom. If you notice the soil becomes low, add a little more.

10. Cut off dead or broken stems and leaves to encourage it to branch, grow and remain healthy in its new pot.

Houseplant care: How to keep your newly repotted plants alive

After repotting plants, there are three important steps you need to take to ensure that your houseplants thrive in their new pots:

1.    Regularly water the soil. Make sure it remains damp but not waterlogged.

2.    Avoid using fertiliser. As it has been moved, the roots of your plant will be sensitive and could be burnt by fertiliser use.

3.    Give your plant plenty of light but keep it out of direct sunlight.

Originally published