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Repotting Houseplants

Repotting house plants is a normal
process and part of growing plants within the home when you bring home plants from a store
that you purchased you can let them stay in the original pot for quite a period
of time it’s only as those plants begin to grow
and if you have ideal conditions for them then the plants will get bigger and they
will begin to outgrow the pot that they are in one way to figure out whether that plant
needs be repotted is to look at the size of a plant in
relation to the size the container if the plant looks really out of
proportion it’s too large for the pot that it is in that could be an indicator that it’s
time to move it up to the next size pot another indicator would be to look for
roots that are growing of of the drainage holes kinda like
this. If they begin to grow out, you move them up to a larger shoe another indicator if you are a little
bit careful about it and if its growing well would be to actually knock
the plant out up the pot and if you begin the see
roots that are growing and encircling the outside,
it definitely is also time to move it up to the next size container. the rule of thumb
that we use for moving up to a larger container is to just go up
to the next size so let’s say it’s in a 4-inch pot you
would move it up to a 5-inch pot or a six inch pot you don;t wanna move a plant that’s
in a 4 inch pot up to a 12-inch pot because you’re going to have too large of a
soil area and the plant will not adapt to it very well
so you just wanna move up in a very small increment. it doesn’t
matter which type of pot you use there’s a lot of
choices that are out there for consumers plastic pots have the advantages in that
they’re very lightweight you always want to make sure that you
have drainage holes a lot of people prefer terra cotta or clay because it has a
little bit more of a natural look to it again you want to be sure that there is
a drainage hole in the bottom if there is not drill a hole in there.
Be very careful so that you are going to allow extra water to get out the disadvantage of clay is that it
can become very heavy as the pot size increases so that’s
another consideration also if you’re going things like cacti
and succulents a lot of people prefer the terra-cotta or
clay because it looks more natural and also offers a little bit a stability
because cacti can get very top-heavy so a bird’s nest fern is what we are going to
repot today this came out fairly easily but if it does
not and its stuck in there, simply turning it
upside down in tapping it either on the pot or on
the table will release the pot and then you can go from
there the next step would be to carefully
break up that root system it’s a good thing for the plant because it’s
going to force it to send out new growth if we don’t break up the roots they wont
branch out into the surrounding soil our next step is going to be to select a potting soil. there are a number that are out there on the market it’s a good idea to use a pre-packaged soil mix that you buy from the store
rather than using garden soil because garden soils very heavy it stays
very wet and can often times contain pathogens
that can cause disease problems on your plants. you want it set at the same level
that it was originally also keeping in mind that you want about
a half an inch to an inch space between the top of the container
and the top of the the soil ball I’m gonna fill in with the rest my soil and the if the soil is very light very
fluffy you wanna make sure that you pat it
down as it goes in that container you do not want to leave the top of the
soil ball exposed where there are roots because what will happen is those roots
will kinda act like air wicks and draw moisture out from the soils. the
final step would be to water the plants thoroughly so that that soil mix gets saturated let it drain out the bottom and you’re
good to go again just to recap house plants don’t
always need to be repotted but if you’re want to give it good conditions move it up to the next size and those
plants will be happy


  1. UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County Author

    Great advice. We have a video demonstrating some transpotting techniques that might augment your excellent advice.

  2. Finch Gould Author

    Don't use terra cotta ,or clay pots. They will get ugly after a while,and are difficult to clean if you want to reuse them. Look at the clay pot this guy in the video is showing,it is already ugly because of salts stains,which are difficult to get rid of.Plants in terra cotta tend to send all the roots to the side of the pot,leaving the soil in the center unused. In a plastic pot, the roots are nicely evenly distributed.Please don't use clay pots!!! If you think a plastic pot is too light for some reason (when it's outside in summer in a windy area for example) then put the plastic pot in a terra cotta pot. If you really want to use clay pots, then use glazed ceramic pots! Those pots are okay, but they can be rather expensive.My two cents.

  3. N. E Author

    how come the plant wont adapt to a larger size pot? In nature it would be in soil that is nearly infinite relative to the plant. Can someone enlighten me with a answer? thanks in advance

  4. fred k. Author

    I disagree with the viewer comment about clay, my plants do very well in clay pots inside the home and out, and I like the natural look of clay, even as it weathers over time.

  5. Natalie Coutts Author

    I definitely am glad I listened to that, had been apprehensive about doing it. Really helpful, my plant looks great, thanks for posting

  6. Christopher Hall Author

    THANK YOU! i was told NOT to use soil for my bird nest ferns but to use sphagnum moss only and they look miserble! NOW I know why! Repotting all of mine today!


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