Best Time To & How To Repot Houseplants

Repotting houseplants is an important aspect of their care, as it ensures they have enough space to grow and access to fresh soil. However, the frequency of repotting and the best time to do it can vary depending on the type of plant.  Here's a general guide on when to repot houseplants, including signs to look out for, examples of plants with different repotting needs, and the best time of year to repot.

Signs a Houseplant Needs Repotting

There are a few signs that indicate a plant needs repotting. They include:
  1. The roots are growing through the drainage holes; a clear sign that the plant has outgrown its current pot.
  2. Water drains too quickly. If water runs straight through the pot, it may mean the plant is root-bound and the soil is compacted.
  3. If you’ve noticed growth has slowed down or become stunted, it might need more space.
  4. The roots are peeking out of the soil's surface; a sign of overcrowding.
  5. The plant is top heavy. If the plant is too big for its pot, it might tip over easily. 
  6. The condition of your soil may mean its time to repot. If the soil looks degraded or doesn't hold water well, it's time for a change. This may not mean you need to pot up. Depending on the root ball, the plant may be able to be repotted in the same pot.


Plants That Need Repotting Less Often


Cacti and Succulents: They prefer a snug pot and don't need frequent repotting.

Orchids: They typically need repotting every 1-2 years, as they prefer a tight space.

Snake Plants and ZZ Plants: These are slow-growing and can thrive in the same pot for years.



Plants That Need Repotting More Often

A group of plants consisting of a Monstera in a wooven basket, a medium sized and two smaller cacti in terracotta pots, a parlor palm and white jewel dracaena in a plastic pot, all in front of a white background.

Fast-Growing Tropicals: Plants like Pothos, Philodendrons, and Spider Plants can grow quickly and may need annual repotting.

Ferns: Many ferns grow rapidly and require frequent repotting.


Best Time of Year to Repot

The best time of the year to repot is spring and summer. This is generally the best time to repot most houseplants. They are entering their active growing season and can recover more easily from the stress of repotting. It is best to avoid repotting in winter unless absolutely necessary. Most plants are dormant during the winter and may not recover as well from repotting.


Repotting Tips

Indoor gardener potting a purple basil plant.

When repotting, the first thing needed is to choose the right size pot. This is a crucial step in maintaining the overall health of your plant. Select a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one and ensure it has good drainage. Any larger and the soil can hold excess water which can lead to overwatering and root rot. Next, use fresh potting soil to provide new nutrients and improve soil structure. When repotting, handle the roots carefully to minimize damage. Next, water after repotting. This helps settle the soil and reduces stress on the plant.  After repotting, give the plant some time to adjust to its new home before returning it to its usual care routine.


Observing your plants closely is key to determining when they need repotting. While some plants prefer to be snug in their pots for longer periods, others thrive with more frequent changes. Timing your repotting with the start of the growing season in spring can give your plants the best chance to thrive in their new environment. Remember, each plant is unique, so consider its specific needs when deciding when and how to repot.

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