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Do you know that repotting and potting up mean different things? As our houseplants grow happily under our care, eventually they will outgrow their current pots. Determining whether your plant needs to simply have its soil refreshed (repotting) or be shifted to a larger container (potting up) can be challenging for new plant parents. In this episode, I will walk you through when to pot up versus repot, proper techniques for both, tips to avoid issues, and how to turn repotting into an uplifting self-care ritual by really tuning into your plants' needs and creating an environment that allows them to thrive.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [02:30] Things I learned about repotting in the last couple of years
  • [03:34] Some personal plant care routines
  • [04:59] Do some spring cleaning!
  • [06:28] Repotting vs potting up vs potting up water-rooted cuttings
  • [09:04] Some rules to remember in potting up
  • [10:43] Do the two-inch “bump up” rule when potting up
  • [11:59] When should you pot up?
  • [13:08] What is repotting and why is it important?
  • [14:36] How do you repot a plant?
  • [15:03] Get stylish, minimalist grow lights your plants will love with Soltech!
  • [17:16] Give your plants the love they deserve with Espoma's organic, eco-friendly potting mixes!
  • [19:08] Common mistake people make when repotting/potting up
  • [19:30] How do you pot up water-rooted cuttings?
  • [21:02] General steps for repotting/potting up/potting up water-rooted cuttings
  • [27:31] The ​​best time to repot or pot up houseplants
  • [29:05] Why you should not pot your houseplants in dirt from outside
  • [32:00] Make sure that you saturate the soil!
  • [32:35] Pay attention to the type of container or pot you are using
  • [34:08] Use repotting as an opportunity for mindfulness
  • [37:16] A letter to my pepper plant going into transplant shock


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When to Pot Up

You'll want to pot up a houseplant when its roots have outgrown its current container and become root-bound or pot-bound. Signs it's time include roots coming out of drainage holes, the plant drying out rapidly, or the plant often wilting for no reason. 

Potting up means shifting the plant to a container that's a couple inches larger in diameter to allow room for additional growth.


When to Repot

Repotting means refreshing the soil of a plant by removing it, shaking off old soil, pruning any dead roots, and replanting it in its original container with fresh potting mix. This is recommended every 1-2 years to replenish soil nutrients and prevent compaction.

Note: A Common Error

A mistake I often see is people potting up their plants when the roots don't need more space and the plant would do fine with just fresh soil. Alternatively, they'll refresh the soil when the plant is extremely root-bound and begging for a size upgrade. Pay close attention so you give your plant what it truly needs!


Potting Up Water-Rooted Cuttings

If you root cuttings in water and then want to transfer them to soil, the plant will experience some shock going from water to a potting mix that doesn't hold moisture as consistently. When potting water-rooted plants, be sure to pack soil very firmly around the young roots to stabilize them, keep the soil moderately moist for the first month, and settle in gradually to prevent transplant stress.


General Repotting Steps

Here is an overview of the process:

Set Roots Free

Gently remove the root ball from the pot and massage off as much old soil as possible. Untangle the circling roots so they hang freely.


Inspect and Trim Roots

Check roots for signs of disease. If you find parts that are dried up and brown, cut them off. This will help new roots grow healthy.


Pop Into the New Container

Put 2 inches of new soil into a pot that's 2 inches wider if you're moving a plant to a bigger pot, or use the same pot if you're just replacing the soil. Put the root ball into the pot and fill the rest with more fresh potting mix.


Firm the Soil

Use your fingers to gently push additional soil into the empty spaces around the roots to get rid of any air bubbles. Press the soil down quite firmly around the plant to keep it steady.


Thorough Watering

Water the plant generously until you see water coming out from the holes at the bottom of the pot. This helps the soil settle down. Let the soil dry a bit between watering sessions so that the new roots can grow properly.


Some General Tips

If the old soil is very hard and packed, soak the root ball in water before removing it. This helps to soften the soil and makes it easier to take the plant out.

It's usually suggested to repot plants in the spring, but if your plant is struggling, don't wait! Most indoor plants can be repotted at any time of the year.

Choose a potting mix designed for general houseplants such as Espoma Organic Potting Mix. Soil from outside can be too heavy and hold too much water.

When you first repot your plant into dry soil, it might take longer for the soil to soak up water because the dry ingredients need to absorb moisture.

If you change the type of pot, such as switching from terracotta to ceramic, you may need to adjust how often you water your plant. Similarly, soil in a bigger pot retains moisture longer, so you won't need to water it as frequently.

Sometimes, when you repot plants, there's a risk of getting fungus gnats from soil that's too wet. To avoid this, let the soil dry out before watering again.


Turn Repotting Into Mindfulness

I encourage using repotting to tune into your plant's needs with all your senses – observe the roots, feel the soil's moisture, take in its earthy aroma. Let this inspire self reflection on areas of your own life that need refreshing or more room to reach full potential. Houseplant care can be very meditative when you're fully present!



Mentioned in our conversation:



Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Soltech Solutions

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Espoma Organic

If you want plants that thrive, set them up for success with high-quality soil, fertilizer, potting mix and more! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar-powered plant, zero waste manufacturing, and eco-friendly packaging.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.



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