How I Repot House Plants


I finally got around to getting some potting soil and repotting house plants. So I thought I’d tell you the steps I use when repotting.

My Instructions For Repotting House Plants:

  1. If I’m using pots that have been used before, I fill the sink with hot water and add (preferably) Dawn dish washing liquid. I then put the used pots in the water to soak away bacteria that might be on them from being outdoors. I use broken pot shards for pot drainage, so I soak those pieces as well.
  2. After soaking, I use a clean soapy cloth to clean the pot well, then I allow the pots to air dry.
  3. Now I’m ready for potting, so I take everything out to my potting bench on the patio.
  4. I put a few of the pot shards in the bottom of the pot for proper drainage.
  5. I start adding potting soil. Fill to about the middle of the pot.
  6. Now it’s time to take the plant out of the smaller/original pot. If it’s being stubborn about coming out of the pot, I gently tap the side of the pot against my potting bench to shake the soil loose.
  7. Then I start adding potting soil. If the roots are root bound, I ease the roots apart with my fingers.
  8. I place the plant in the pot and begin to add potting soil all around it. If the plant is leaning to one side, I use my left hand to hold it up straight as I add potting soil.
  9. I fill the pot up to about an inch from the top. Then I start gently tamping down the soil around the plant with my fingers.
  10. Then I take my house plant back indoors and give it a drink of water.


I don’t like to use water fresh from the tap to water my plants. I use water that has been sitting at least 24 hours. Or I use bottled water.

Don’t use garden soil for indoor plants. There might be bugs and/or bacteria in that dirt that you don’t want to introduce inside to other house plants.

Make sure you don’t leave your plant sitting in water after watering. If water is coming out the bottom of the pot, drain it.

Outdoor Planting:

If I’m repotting plants for outdoors, I might use pine cones for drainage in the bottom of the pot.

That’s my tried and true instructions for repotting my house plants.



  1. Some of my houseplants need a little TLC – I fed and watered them this weekend but there are a few that need to be repotted. I usually wait until the weather is a little warmer to bring them out to my garden cottage for repotting. Oh, and a coffee filter in the bottom over the hole works to keep the soil in the pot, I do that for my outside plants also!

  2. I repot house plants all the time and use pretty much the same methods as you do, though I try to look for pots that have the drainage hole already. IKEA has these bags of little round balls for pot drainage. They look terra-cotta, but they’re lightweight. They’re inexpensive, too. I bought a couple of bags last summer. A little go a long way.

  3. The miracle, magical powder that TASTE of FRANCE mentions above is called rooting hormone and my jar is ‘ROOTONE’ by Shultz.
    “Faster, healthier rootings from cuttings, with fungicide for control of seeding diseases – hazards to humans and domestic animals.”
    You just dip your cuttings into the powder in the jar after removing all lower leaves or flowers, making sure at least one node is covered, tap off any excess powder. Plant in a hole in your medium that you made larger than the cutting stem so none of the powder is scraped off while planting, then firm the medium around the cutting and tap down. Keep moist for 3 to 5 weeks or until rooted.
    I have to say it works every time I use it.

    1. I use cinnamon. Much cheaper! Here is an article to read about it…Cinnamon as rooting agent. Cinnamon as a rooting agent is as useful as willow water or hormone rooting powder. A single application to the stem when you plant the cutting will stimulate root growth in almost every plant variety. Give your cuttings a quick start with the help of cinnamon powder.Jan 12, 2018

    1. I tend to buy from the same nursery where I get my indoor plants. My daughter and I went there Saturday. It is quiet and peaceful, as opposed to big box stores. I buy their potting mix too.

  4. I have a giant cactus that I received from my hubby when our daughter was born. It was thumb size then and now it is about four feet tall and thorny. My daughter is 43 tomorrow, so it has been growing that long. It needs reporting, but I don’t have a clue how to protect myself and it during reporting. Any advice?

      1. Read it and will undertake repotting. May wait until weather is warmer and do it outside. Nervous, feel like I am undertaking surgery on my daughter.Silly notion, but there none-the-less.

  5. For me, this is a timely post! I have several houseplants that need to be re-potted. This coming week, I will head to the garden store for some potting soil. I am going to try your method; your houseplants look beautiful and healthy.

  6. Interesting!
    I don’t do much for cleaning pots or pot shards (and also use the for drainage at the bottom of pots). I figure germs are good germs.
    My grandma had 10 green thumbs. Amazing. HUGE garden that fed several families. A “root cellar,” which was one of the scariest places I’d ever been, under the basement, smelling of onions and potatoes stored for winter. But the safest of safe places, being a hole under a hole, if a tornado came through.
    Anyway, she had some kind of miracle powder she would put on cuttings to make them grow roots. It was truly magical. I still have some, and even though it’s 20 years old now (and has been to three countries) it still works.

Comments are closed.