How To Pot Indoor Plants

How To Pot Indoor Plants

Repotting indoor plants is an important task that ensures their continued growth and well-being. It involves changing the plant’s soil or potting mix, which provides fresh nutrients for the plant. It’s also an opportunity to check if the plant needs a new planter.

When selecting a new planter, it’s important to choose one that is only slightly larger in diameter than the current planter, as oversized planters can lead to overwatering and root rot. Signs that a plant needs to be repotted include roots growing out of the drainage holes, slow growth, top-heaviness, and dry potting mix.

To repot a plant, you’ll need the plant itself, a new planter, fresh potting mix, drainage materials (if necessary), gloves (if handling irritating plants), and water. The process involves removing the plant from its current planter, loosening the roots, removing old potting mix, adding fresh potting mix, placing the plant in the new planter, and watering it thoroughly.

Key Takeaways:

  • Repotting indoor plants ensures their continued growth and health.
  • Signs that a plant needs repotting include roots growing out of the drainage holes, slow growth, and dry potting mix.
  • Choose a new planter that is slightly larger in diameter than the current one.
  • Use fresh potting mix and gloves for protection when handling irritating plants.
  • Water the newly potted plant thoroughly after repotting.

Signs That Your Plant Needs Repotting

As a plant enthusiast, I have learned to recognize the signs that indicate when it’s time to repot my beloved green companions. By keeping a close eye on the condition of your plants, you can ensure their overall health and vitality. Here are some telltale signs that your plant may be in need of repotting:

  1. Roots growing through the drainage holes: If you notice roots protruding from the bottom of the planter, it’s a clear indication that your plant’s current home is becoming cramped.
  2. Roots pushing the plant up and out of the planter: Has your plant mysteriously lifted itself up and out of its pot? This is a sure sign that its roots are outgrowing their current space.
  3. Slow growth: If your plant’s growth has slowed down significantly or it appears stunted, it may be struggling to access the necessary nutrients in its crowded container.
  4. Top-heaviness: Does your plant seem top-heavy, with its foliage leaning to one side? This imbalance may be due to an inadequate root system unable to support the plant’s weight.
  5. Potting mix drying out quickly: If your plant’s soil feels consistently dry shortly after watering, it may be an indication that the potting mix has become compacted, making it challenging for water to penetrate evenly.
  6. Foliage being much larger than the current planter: A clear sign that your plant is in dire need of more room is when its foliage has outgrown the pot, making it cramped and restricted in its growth potential.
  7. Salt and mineral build-up on the plant or planter: Over time, the accumulation of salts and minerals can become toxic to your plant. If you notice a white crust on the soil surface or the planter itself, it’s a good indication that repotting is necessary.
  8. Over a year since the last repotting: As a general guideline, most indoor plants benefit from being repotted every 12 to 18 months. If it has been longer than this timeframe, it’s time to consider giving your plant a fresh start.

If you observe one or a combination of these signs, it’s time to take action and repot your plant. Doing so will provide your green companion with a new and spacious home, allowing it to continue thriving and gracing your indoor space with its natural beauty.

When your plant starts showing these signs, don’t ignore them – they are nature’s way of telling you that it’s time for some repotting love!

Choosing the Right Planter Size

When it comes to selecting a new planter for your indoor plants, size matters. Choosing the right planter size is crucial for the health and well-being of your plants. If the planter is too small, it can restrict root growth and limit the plant’s access to nutrients and water. On the other hand, an oversized planter can lead to overwatering and root rot.

So how do you determine the right planter size? It depends on the type of plant and its current size. For tabletop planters, like small potted herbs or succulents, the new planter should be no more than 2 inches larger in diameter. This allows for proper root development without overwhelming the plant.

If you’re repotting a larger indoor plant that requires a floor planter, like a Swiss cheese plant or a snake plant, the new planter should be no more than 4 inches larger in diameter. This gives the roots enough space to grow and expand, while still providing stability for the plant.

Of course, there are exceptions to these general guidelines. If you’re repotting a small plant, such as a baby spider plant or a tiny cactus, you might only need to go up an inch in diameter. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a particularly large plant that has outgrown its current planter, you may need to consider a planter that is slightly larger than 4 inches.

Remember, finding the right planter size is all about balance. You want to provide enough room for the roots to grow, but not so much that it hinders the plant’s ability to thrive. It’s also important to take into consideration the overall aesthetic appeal of the planter and how it fits in with your indoor décor.

Benefits of Choosing the Right Planter Size:

  • Proper root development and growth
  • Avoidance of overwatering and root rot
  • Improved plant stability and balance
  • Enhanced aesthetic appeal

By carefully sizing up a new planter for your indoor plants, you can create an optimal environment for their growth and ensure they continue to thrive in your space.

Plant Type Planter Size Increase
Tabletop Plants Up to 2 inches larger in diameter
Floor Plants Up to 4 inches larger in diameter
Small Plants 1 inch larger in diameter
Large Plants Slightly larger than 4 inches in diameter

Steps for Repotting Indoor Plants

Repotting indoor plants is a crucial process to ensure the health and growth of your green companions. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can repot your indoor plants successfully:

  1. Prepare: Gather all the necessary supplies, including the plant, a new planter, fresh potting mix, gloves (if handling irritating plants), and water.

  2. Remove from current planter: Turn the plant sideways and tap the bottom until the plant slides out. Be gentle to avoid damaging the roots.

  3. Loosen the roots: Gently untangle and loosen the roots with your hands. Trim any long threadlike roots and leave the thicker roots at the base.

  4. Remove old potting mix: Remove about one-third or more of the old potting mix surrounding the roots, ensuring not to damage the roots in the process.

  5. Add fresh potting mix: Place a layer of fresh potting soil or mix in the empty planter, making sure there are no air pockets.

  6. Use drainage materials (if necessary): If the planter doesn’t have a drainage hole, layer the bottom with drainage materials like lava rocks.

  7. Place the plant: Set the plant on top of the new soil in the planter, making sure it is secure.

  8. Fill with potting mix: Add more potting mix around the plant until it is firmly held in place.

  9. Water thoroughly: Give your repotted plant a good watering to help settle the soil and provide moisture to the roots.

Follow these steps carefully, and your indoor plants will thrive in their new homes.

Potting Options for Indoor Plants

When it comes to potting indoor plants, there are several options to choose from, depending on your personal preferences and the needs of your plants. Here, I will discuss the types of pots available and the importance of proper drainage for your plant’s health.

Popular potting options for indoor plants include:

  • Ceramic pots: These pots are not only visually appealing but also provide excellent insulation. They come in a variety of designs, colors, and sizes, allowing you to find the perfect match for your plant and home decor.
  • Natural pots: Made from materials such as clay, terracotta, or wood, these pots have a rustic and organic feel. They are breathable, allowing air and moisture to reach the plant’s roots, but may require more frequent watering.
  • Composite pots: These pots are made from a combination of materials like recycled plastic and natural fibers. They offer the benefits of both durability and eco-friendliness.
  • Metal pots: If you prefer a modern and sleek look, metal pots are a great choice. They are lightweight, durable, and come in various finishes, such as stainless steel or copper.
  • Fiberglass pots: Fiberglass pots are lightweight and resistant to cracking or breaking. They are available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, allowing you to create a unique and vibrant display.

Regardless of the material you choose, it’s essential to ensure that your pot has adequate drainage. The presence of a drainage hole prevents waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other plant health issues. However, if you have a decorative pot without a drainage hole, you can use a plastic container with drainage holes as an inner pot. This way, you can enjoy the aesthetic appeal of the decorative pot while still providing proper drainage for your plant.

potting options for indoor plants

Potting Soil for Indoor Plants

When it comes to choosing the right potting soil for your indoor plants, it’s essential to consider their specific needs. Different plants have different requirements for soil composition, moisture retention, and drainage. The goal is to provide an environment that promotes healthy root growth and overall plant vitality.

Tropical Houseplants and Organic Indoor Potting Soil

For most tropical houseplants, an organic indoor potting soil is a reliable choice. This type of soil is formulated to provide the necessary nutrients and moisture retention that tropical plants thrive on. Organic potting soil contains natural components like compost, peat moss, and coconut coir, which help create a well-balanced and fertile environment for plant roots.

You can further enhance the drainage properties of your potting soil by amending it with materials like orchid bark or perlite. These additives create air pockets in the soil, improving aeration and preventing waterlogging. They also help prevent compaction of the soil over time, ensuring that roots have ample space to grow and expand.

Succulents and Cacti: Well-Draining Soil Mixtures

Succulents and cacti have unique needs when it comes to soil composition. These plants require excellent drainage to prevent root rot and other moisture-related issues. Therefore, using a specialized well-draining soil mixture is crucial for their success.

A typical soil mixture for succulents and cacti consists of a combination of regular potting soil, pumice, vermiculite, or perlite. These additions improve aeration and allow excess water to drain quickly, mimicking the arid conditions that succulents and cacti prefer.

When repotting succulents or cacti, be sure to remove any excess soil from the roots, as compacted soil can hinder drainage. Gently separate the roots and replant them in the new soil mixture, making sure not to bury the plant too deeply.

Consulting Your Local Nursery

While these general guidelines can help you choose the right potting soil for your indoor plants, it’s always beneficial to consult with professionals at your local nursery. They can provide expert advice based on the specific needs of your plants and recommend specialized soil mixes for more challenging varieties.

Plant Type Ideal Potting Soil Additives for Improved Drainage
Tropical Houseplants Organic indoor potting soil Orchid bark, perlite
Succulents and Cacti Mixture of potting soil, pumice, vermiculite, or perlite N/A

As you can see, the choice of potting soil for indoor plants depends on their specific needs. Providing the right soil composition and amendments ensures that your plants have the best chances of thriving and growing beautifully.

Potting Soil for Indoor Plants

Tools and Supplies for Repotting Indoor Plants

When repotting indoor plants, having the right tools and supplies can make the process easier and more efficient. Here are the essential items you’ll need:

  1. New Planter: Choose a planter that is slightly larger than the current one to allow room for your plant to grow.
  2. Potting Soil: Use high-quality potting soil that is suitable for indoor plants to provide them with the right nutrients and drainage.
  3. Small Shovel or Hands: You’ll need a small shovel or your hands to carefully shovel and transfer the soil when repotting.
  4. Water: Keep a water source nearby to help moisten the soil and settle it around the plant once it’s been repotted.
  5. Clean Scissors: For plants with overgrown roots, trim them with a pair of clean scissors before repotting.
  6. Gloves: If you’re dealing with plants that have irritating sap or prickly cacti, wear gloves to protect your hands.
  7. Potting Tarp or Newspaper: To contain any mess and make cleanup easier, use a potting tarp or spread newspaper beneath your work area.

Having these tools and supplies ready will ensure a smooth and successful repotting process for your indoor plants.

tools and supplies for repotting indoor plants

Tips for Successful Repotting

Repotting indoor plants is a crucial task to ensure their continued growth and well-being. To help you repot your plants successfully, here are some valuable tips:

  1. Water the plant a few hours prior to repotting to loosen the soil and roots. This makes it easier to remove the plant from its current pot and reduces stress on the roots.
  2. Select a new planter that is slightly larger than the current one. A larger planter allows for better root development and prevents the plant from becoming root-bound.
  3. Use a pot with a drainage hole to allow excess water to drain out. If you have a decorative pot without a drainage hole, place the plant in a plastic container with drainage holes and then insert it into the decorative pot.
  4. Choose the right potting soil for your plant’s needs. Different plants require different types of potting soil, such as a well-draining mix for succulents or an organic indoor potting soil for tropical houseplants. Consider adding amendments like perlite or orchid bark to improve drainage.
  5. Handle the plant carefully during repotting. Gently loosen the roots with your hands and remove any old potting mix. Prune any long threadlike roots and leave the thicker roots at the base.
  6. Pack the new potting mix firmly around the plant to provide stability, but avoid packing it too tight as it can restrict root growth.
  7. After repotting, water the plant thoroughly until the water drains out of the bottom. This ensures that the new potting mix is evenly moist. Allow the plant to drain before placing it back in its desired location.

By following these tips, you can ensure a successful repotting process for your indoor plants, promoting their health and growth.

Indoor Planting Techniques: Cache Pot & Saucer, Cache Pot & Pot Liner, Hydroculture

Indoor planting offers a world of creative possibilities. In this section, I will discuss three popular indoor planting techniques: cache pot and saucer, cache pot and pot liner, and hydroculture. Each technique has its own advantages and can be tailored to suit your specific needs and preferences.

Cache Pot & Saucer

The cache pot and saucer method is a classic choice for indoor gardening. With this technique, a saucer is placed inside a decorative pot, and the grow pot is placed on top of the saucer. This setup allows for easy removal of the plant for watering or draining excess water. It also helps protect your beautiful decorative pot from moisture and potential water stains.

Using a cache pot and saucer not only provides functionality but also adds a touch of elegance to your indoor space. You can mix and match different saucers and pots to create a visually appealing display. It’s a great option for showcasing your favorite plants while keeping them healthy and happy.

Cache Pot & Pot Liner

Another popular indoor planting technique is the cache pot and pot liner method. This technique offers a more harmonious and seamless look between the plant and the decorative pot. It’s particularly suitable for taller planters.

To use this technique, you add a pot liner to the decorative pot and place drainage material, such as pebbles or rocks, at the bottom. The pot liner acts as a barrier between the plant and the decorative pot, allowing for easy removal of the plant when necessary. It also helps maintain a healthier environment for the roots by promoting proper drainage.

The cache pot and pot liner technique gives you the freedom to choose a decorative pot that matches your interior design aesthetic while ensuring your plant’s well-being. It’s a great way to elevate the visual appeal of your indoor garden.


Hydroculture is a fascinating indoor planting technique that deviates from traditional soil-based methods. Instead of using soil, hydroculture involves growing plants in hydrogranules, which are porous clay pellets or similar materials.

Hydroculture offers several benefits, including reduced watering frequency and the ability to mix plants with different watering requirements. The hydrogranules act as a reservoir for water and nutrients, which are provided to the plant’s roots as needed. This method is particularly popular for plants that thrive in moist conditions, such as orchids and ferns.

Embracing hydroculture not only allows you to explore alternative planting methods but also adds a modern and sleek element to your indoor space. It’s a captivating technique that can elevate your indoor gardening experience.

In summary, indoor planting techniques such as cache pot and saucer, cache pot and pot liner, and hydroculture provide unique ways to nurture and display your indoor plants. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of cache pots, the seamless look of pot liners, or the modern appeal of hydroculture, these techniques offer versatility and creativity in your indoor gardening endeavors.

Repotting Outdoor Plants

When repotting outdoor plants, it’s important to choose pots or planters with drainage holes to allow excess rainwater to drain through and prevent waterlogging. This helps to maintain the health and vitality of your outdoor plants. To further protect your planters from ice build-up and potential cracking, it’s recommended to raise the planter up from the floor.

The repotting process for outdoor plants involves a few key steps to ensure successful transplantation. Start by covering the drainage hole with a layer of felt or a separation cloth. This helps to prevent soil from clogging the drainage hole while still allowing water to pass through. Next, add a layer of clay hydro granules at the bottom of the planter. These granules act as a water reservoir, ensuring that the plant has access to adequate moisture. Place another layer of felt or separation cloth on top of the hydro granules to prevent the soil from seeping into the granules.

After this, fill the rest of the planter with potting soil, making sure to choose a high-quality potting mix suitable for outdoor plants. Ensure that the soil is evenly distributed and well-packed, providing a stable environment for the plant’s roots. Finally, insert the outdoor plant into the planter, making sure it sits securely in the potting soil.

To enhance the visual appeal of your repotted outdoor plants, you can consider adding decorative elements to the surface of the soil. This can include stones, pebbles, or bark chips, which not only add a touch of beauty but also help to retain moisture and prevent weed growth.

Repotting your outdoor plants in pots and planters provides them with a fresh start and the opportunity to thrive in their new environment. By following these repotting techniques, you can ensure the long-term health and beauty of your outdoor plants.


Repotting indoor plants is crucial for their ongoing growth and well-being. By following proper techniques and using the right tools and supplies, you can successfully repot your plants and provide them with a fresh environment to thrive in. It’s important to pay attention to the signs that indicate when a plant needs repotting, such as roots growing through the drainage holes or slow growth. Selecting the appropriate pot size and potting soil for each plant is also essential. Whether you choose traditional planting methods or explore alternative options like hydroculture, repotting your indoor and outdoor plants is a rewarding activity that enhances the overall beauty and health of your green space.

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