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Repotting plants: a guide

Low-maintenance plants still need proper care. Learn here how to repot succulents, cactus and orchids so that your greenery may live a happily ever after.


how to repot a plant

Key steps

  • Choose the correct size and type of pot for your plant

  • Choose the correct soil mixture

  • Cut off the dead or brown roots

  • Don’t overwater your plant

Ever wondered why your succulents keep dying, no matter how much water or sun they receive? Well, the problem could be down to the roots, the soil, and the pot.

Just like us, plants need to have their nutrient source replenished, otherwise they, well, die. When the soil isn’t replaced, the plants can soon develop diseases. The purpose of repotting plants is, therefore, to a) give them more space for growth, and b) replace the nutrient-ridden soil.

If you are a newbie to plant care at home or gardening in general, don’t worry. We’ll will show you exactly how to repot a plant properly so that your beloved greenery can have a long and healthy life!

Always get the correct soil mixture for your plant as every plant is different.

Repotting orchids

Who doesn’t love an orchid? Orchids are a great example of how repotting plants is crucial to keep them alive. These plants can develop long roots rather quickly, and it is most likely that when you bought your orchid, its roots were small enough to fit the pot it came in.

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You will need the following for repotting orchids

  • A larger pot

  • Orchid potting mixture

  • A sieve for draining

How to repot an orchid

  1. If your orchid’s roots are coming out of its pot, then it is definitely time to repot and here’s a quick guide to how it’s done:

  2. Find a pot that’s larger than the previous one by about two inches. Ideally, the pot should have holes in to allow for air circulation.

  3. Pour the orchid potting mixture into a bowl and cover it with boiling water. When it cools down, drain the potting mixture.

  4. Pull the orchid away, wash its roots and cut off the brown/rotting roots.

  5. Make sure the plant is in the centre of the pot.

  6. Fill around the roots and make sure every bit has access to soil and ta-da! Job done.

How to repot a cactus

Allegedly a “die-hard” and low-maintenance plant, a cactus still needs care and attention. Cacti in fact need repotting every three to four years. If the roots are reaching the side of the pot, then it’s time to repot.

Repotting cactuses: what you need

  • Sheets of newspaper

  • A larger pot — terracotta is an ideal material as its porous surface allows for better air and water circulation

  • Cactus compost and fine gravel

  • Fork

Repotting cactuses: method

  1. Using the folded newspaper sheets, wrap the body of your cactus so that you are not stung by its spines when you pull it from its pot.

  2. Add cactus compost to the new pot until half of it is covered.

  3. Check the roots of the cactus with the fork, look for pests, mould or disease — cut any roots affected and loosen any roots that have been squished.

  4. Place the cactus into the pot, again using the newspaper sheets.

  5. Add more compost until the root ball is covered.

  6. Finish off with gravel.

  7. Water your cactus.

Repotting succulents

Succulents need repotting every two years.

What you need for repotting succulents

  • A new, larger pot

  • Small rocks

  • Soil mixture

How to repot succulents

  1. Remove the succulent from its pot and loosen up the squished roots.

  2. Cover the new pot with a couple of rocks to help with drainage.

  3. Fill the pot with soil mixture (ideally, one-third sand and two-thirds soil) halfway up.

  4. Add the succulent and cover its roots with more soil mixture.

  5. Press the soil down, carefully, to make sure that everything is compact.

  6. Wait a week before watering it.

As you can see, every different plant requires distinct and special care. So, always make sure to get the correct soil mixture to supply your house plant with the exact nutrients it needs. Also, make sure you are not under/overwatering your plant — there is such a thing as too much water!

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Originally published