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We can be comfortable in one home for a lifetime. A houseplant, on the other hand, regularly needs a new home. Your root system is growing and demands more space. Occasionally she also welcomes fresh soil. The entire plant will only be well cared for if the pot is right. It can sprout fresh green or delight us with flowers. The repotting of the indoor plants themselves must not be done haphazardly. Timing and process are important.

Repot indoor plants

Pot and soil must meet the needs of the plant, providing water, nutrients and support. As the plant grows and changes, so do its needs. At some point the roots in the pot will get too tight. They find no room for new growth. But this is necessary for the plant to grow above ground. The earth is also leaching more and more and does not offer an optimal one growth basis more.

notice: Immediate soil and pot changes may also be necessary when a houseplant is suffering from root rot.

The repotting of the houseplant should optimize the living environment of the roots again. The whole plant benefits from this.

  • new growth is stimulated
  • Capacity for water storage is increased
  • the fresh soil provides nutrients for healthy growth
  • the plant looks better in the new pot
  • more space improves the air supply to the roots

When repotting, some houseplants also offer the opportunity to propagate them by division. For example with ferns, arrowroot, indoor bamboo or Cyprus grass.

The plant is repotted when the previous planter is too small for them.

time intervals

The actual situation in the flower pot decides whether a plant needs to be repotted. In general, the following guidelines apply to the frequency of repotting:

  • annual plants undergo rapid growth
  • repotting must keep pace with growth
  • they must therefore be repotted several times during the season
  • Perennial plants are usually repotted annually
  • Young plants need to be repotted more often
  • mature plants are only repotted every 3 to 4 years
  • occasionally only the upper layer of soil is exchanged

recognize necessity

Take a close look at the root area and the soil. If possible, lift the plant out of the planter so you can examine its roots. These observations speak in favor of repotting indoor plants soon:

  • the earth is full of roots
  • Roots are already growing out of the drain holes
  • the root ball is matted
  • the earth is encrusted
  • Lime deposits can be seen on the surface

Stagnant plant growth is another clue. Likewise, a mismatch between pot size and plant size must be corrected. The overall picture then looks more appealing and the plant also gets more stability.

notice: Attention, there are some types of plants that only bloom profusely when their roots lack space. Many bulb and tuber plants and some shrubs are included.

Optimum time

The best time to repot indoor plants is in spring. It should shortly before budding done so that the plant is not disturbed in the middle of growth. Thanks to the light and warmth of the growing vegetation period, roots can conquer the new soil quickly and easily. Exactly when to repot in spring depends on the plant.

  • the earlier a plant sprouts, the earlier it needs to be repotted
  • Specimens that are cooler in winter are only repotted afterwards
  • immediately after leaving the winter quarters
  • Leave plants alone during flowering

Indoor plants that bloom in winter, such as camellias and cyclamen, are only allowed to grow after the end of the flowering period be repotted. Orchids and some palm species have delicate roots and should not be repotted unless absolutely necessary.

Matching pot

The plant's new home must be chosen based on two criteria: size and texture. It is ideal when there is a distance of about two to three centimeters between the root ball and the edge. The old pot is only used if the plant already has the largest possible pot or should not grow any further. Only the soil is then replaced when the houseplant is repotted. Regarding the material:

  • Plastic pots are lighter and cheaper
  • they are easy to clean and reuse
  • moisture is retained longer
  • Clay pots made of natural material are comparatively expensive
  • the porous walls are permeable to air and water
  • it needs to be watered more often
  • they are more stable due to their higher dead weight
  • give such large indoor plants support
  • all pots should have drainage holes
When repotting indoor plants, choose a pot of appropriate size.

The depth should also be considered. There are indoor plants that have very deep roots. You need a tall planter. Other houseplants, on the other hand, are flat-rooted and should have a rather shallow bowl. For example azaleas.

Good potting soil

Don't skimp on the quality of the soil. It must be able to store nutrients and water and release them when needed. Structural stability also plays an important role. That is why the composition of the potting soil is important. There are now peat-free variants on offer so that the ecologically valuable moors are not further destroyed. But how do you recognize good potting soil? This is not always easy for the consumer.

  • In the trade cheap and expensive potting soil is offered
  • the more expensive the earth is, the better quality it usually is
  • Cheaper earth can contain germs, it molds more easily
  • Eggs from pests such as fungus gnats are also not uncommon
  • it is also important when the earth was bought
  • old, unused soil can only be stored to a limited extent
  • their quality degrades over time
  • Garden soil is rarely suitable for indoor plants

If you want to be on the safe side, you can steam the soil beforehand. We show you how to sterilize soil in just a few steps.

special earths

Keep in mind that some of the houseplants come from far corners of the earth. Your demands on the substrate can therefore be very specific. They absolutely must be taken into account. You can mix the substrate yourself. For this you need to know all the necessary components and the mixing ratio. It is easier to use ready-made special soil from the garden center. However, it is usually more expensive than home-made mixtures. The plants that need special soil include the following indoor plants:

  • cacti and succulents
  • orchids
  • azaleas

drainage layer

Very few indoor plants tolerate it waterlogging. However, the required amount of water cannot be precisely controlled. How quickly the bale can dry again depends on the temperature in the room and direct sunlight. A pot with drainage holes is helpful, but not always sufficient. Therefore, when repotting indoor plants, it is often advisable to create a drainage layer. This consists of coarser material such as:

  • sand
  • gravel
  • or expanded clay
expanded clay

It is good if you also get plant fleece. You can place this over the drainage layer so that the fine soil above cannot seep through and mix with it.


Before you start repotting, you should make sure that you have all the necessary utensils in the house. You should also remember to wear gloves, because some plants contain toxic substances that can trigger contact allergies. For repotting very large indoor plants, you should get the help of another person if possible. Otherwise it can easily happen that parts of the plant break off.

tip: If you water the houseplant well before repotting, it will be easier to detach the root ball from the pot.

Repot indoor plants: instructions

  1. If you are looking for a place where you want to rinse the root ball with water, it is best to be near the sink.
  2. Line the area with old newspaper or some other protective covering. A large box is also good for repotting.
  3. Prepare the pot, potting soil and drainage material. It is also helpful to have an empty garbage can nearby so that you can dispose of the old, used soil.
  4. Fill in the drainage layer. Lay a layer of fleece on top, if available.
  5. Fill in a layer of potting soil.
  6. Get the houseplant out of the old pot. You may have to carefully loosen the bale from the side walls with a blunt knife.
  7. Loosen up the root ball slightly with your hands.
  8. Place the plant in the new container. It should be upright and the pads should be a few centimeters below the edge of the pot.
  9. Fill in the gaps with soil. Press the earth lightly.
  10. Water the plant well and then place it in its place of destination.

notice: Fresh potting soil is enriched with nutrients. That's why you shouldn't fertilize houseplants again for the first time about eight weeks after repotting.

Hydroponic Guide

Some houseplants are kept hydroponically, which makes maintenance a lot easier. These indoor plants also need to be repotted occasionally when they have outgrown the planter. You can tell by the fact that the roots fill the container completely and begin to grow out of the water drainage slots.

  • get new, larger housing and new expanded clay
  • cover a new vessel with moistened expanded clay
  • Take the plant out of the old container and place it in a new one
  • Fill gaps with expanded clay

Repot new plants

Commercially available plants are not always optimally potted. The pots are usually too small. The substrate used may be ideal for spurring the plant on to rapid growth in the greenhouse. It is rarely suitable for cultivation at home. All plants purchased should therefore be examined carefully. If possible, the houseplant should be repotted at a suitable time. Occasionally, however, a plant urgently needs to be repotted shortly after purchase.

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