6 Tips on Repotting Houseplants

Birds Nest Fern

Houseplant enthusiasts are often inclined to repot their favorite plants every year, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and prevent undue stress on the plant if you wait until the plant truly needs it. 

  1. As a general rule, the best time for repotting is spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. If possible, avoid repotting while the plant is dormant.
  2. Water your houseplant a couple of days before you intend to repot. The plant will withstand the process better if it’s hydrated and you’ll have an easier time removing it from the pot.
  3. Move the plant into a container only one size larger (or two at the most) and resist the urge to transplant it into a large pot. While it may seem like a big pot is a real time-saver, the extra potting mix holds too much water and may cause root rot, a deadly fungal disease.
  4. Keep in mind that while most plants don’t appreciate cramped quarters, some prefer to be slightly rootbound.  Blooming plants like Christmas cactus, bird of paradise and peace lily, for example, bloom best when their roots are crowded.
  5. Give the newly repotted plant time to rest by keeping it out of direct sunlight for a few days.  Similarly, withhold fertilizer for at least a month after repotting.
  6. Your plant will be healthier (and prettier) if you snip dead or damaged growth during the repotting process.