Re-potting 101

Re-potting 101

Time to get dirty!

Re-potting a plant doesn’t necessarily mean changing the planter it’s in, but replacing and refreshing the soil, which is essential for houseplant survival.

Most plants need re-potting every 12 – 18 months, while slow growers can go for up to two years quite happily.

Why re-pot?

  • As plants feed on nutrients from the soil, the potting medium becomes depleted, leaving your plant looking emaciated, sad and just generally unable to grow.
  • In the wild, or even the garden, there is plenty of soil and underground nutrients for the plant’s roots to absorb. But not in a pot.
  • Constant watering also flushes nutrients.
  • If you want to keep your plant in the same size grow pot, then replacing soil is a good idea.
  • If you are re-potting to grow a bigger specimen, then go up 1 – 2 pot sizes. Don’t shift from a small planter to a massive one, your plant won’t acclimatise well.
  • Plants that are getting too big for the pot may need to be split – gently pull away a piece of the plant including the roots – this should come naturally and you’ll easily identify if there is a baby plant that can be separated from the ‘mother plant’. This baby can be potted in another container to expand your collection.

 pot plants

How do I know when my plant needs re-potting?

  • Your plant has been in the same pot (with the same soil) for over 18 months.
  • The roots are starting to grow through the drainage holes
  • The plant is pushing up against the sides of the pot or bulging upwards out of the soil
  • Your plant just doesn’t seem to grow anymore and looks a bit weary
  • The soil dries out quickly even when you’ve just watered

Ready to mess!


1. Find a workspace

Find a spot that you don’t mind getting dirty. Outside works well, or lay a black dustbin liner flat on your kitchen table to catch the soil.

2. Squeeze

Gently squeeze the plastic grow pot at the bottom to loosen the plant, and pull the plant together with the root ball out.

3. Shake

Shake off excess soil. Try to keep the root ball as in tact as possible, just teasing out the end roots. Avoid tearing and separating the roots apart, it was like a trend in the eighties or something (you probably saw your mother doing it and thought that's how it's done), but it's not necessary. It only stresses the plant. The roots will find their way into the new soil on their own.

potting mix

4. Mix

Indoor plants do not like regular compost or garden soil. Read all about different types of soil & potting media here!

CHECK YOUR PLANT’S CARE REQUIREMENTS. Some plants like Ferns, Calatheas, Orchids and Epiphytes also need a little extra help. It's a good idea to add peat moss, bark chips and perlite to make your indoor potting soil drain better.

To make it easier there are ready-made mixes that contain these ingredients.

Check out our Hemp Super Soil, which has all the right stuff mixed in already. 

 Indoor potting soil

*What does friable mean?

Soil that easily runs through your fingers. It should feel light and when you wrap your fist around it, it shouldn’t make a ball.

5. Plant

If you are using a decorative planter with a drainage hole you may plant directly into the pot. Otherwise plant in a plastic grow pot, and place that in your decorative planter. Remember to place a layer of pumice stones, gravel or pebbles at the bottom of the planter underneath your grow pot, for drainage.

6. Fill

Place your plant in its new grow pot and start filling with potting medium of choice.

Never bury your plant! The base of the plant where the roots join the stem should sit flush with the soil.

7. Press

Gently press down with your hands to secure roots.

8. Water

Water well.

Soil makes people happy!

Soil contains Mycobacterium vaccae - a probiotic compound found in most garden soil and potting soil. Studies have shown that this micro-organism improves breathing, reduces allergies and asthma, and increases serotonin levels.