It’s one thing to repot a plant from a nursery pot to another a bigger nursery pot, but it’s a different game altogether if you’re repotting into a decorative pot. As houseplant lovers ourselves, we’ve lined up our pot tips (see what we did there?) for repotting a plant into a decorative pot.
Before you even start…
Consider whether the pot has a drainage hole.
If it does, great! Your life just got a little easier 🎉 You can skip over the rest of this section.
If your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, you’re going to need to approach this with caution. Drainage holes are really important to plant health, and where possible, we’d recommend finding a pot with a drainage hole… Failing that, a well sized nursery pot inside your decorative pot works just as well (check out our Plant Pot Size Guide for some helpful info on how to find the correct size.)
If you’ve got your heart set on a plant and pot combo which requires repotting directly into a decorative pot with no drainage (we’ve been there, we get it) you’ll need to create some drainage space for it. You can do this by adding a layer of small pebbles, gravel, or activated charcoal (easy to find in garden centres, local florists or online), underneath your soil so that water can run through the soil and not cause root rot.
Top tip: It’s also worth knowing that if you have a drainage layer, a little bit of water goes a long way! Let the leaves wilt a little so you can be sure it’s ready for a drink before you water your plant.
Find the right soil
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to potting mix for houseplants. The one big no-no is compost intended for outdoor plants – this will often have uninvited guests lurking inside, and can also carry diseases that affect your houseplants.
Most of your houseplants will need a soil containing ‘loam’ which helps with drainage and provides the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive. The major exception to this rule though is cacti, which need a dryer environment. You can either mix some sand in with your standard houseplant potting mix (if you happen to just have some lying around the house), or just buy some special cactus compost.
Most of the soil that you’ll need is relatively affordable, but cheaper isn’t always better. Our tried & tested recommendation that won’t break the bank is Westland Houseplant Potting Mix or Cacti & Succulent Potting Mix.
Choose the right time of year
If your plant is outgrowing its current pot (a tell tale sign is wandering roots from the drainage holes) you should definitely avoid the winter months for repotting. Usually a plant is in a dormant state in winter, so the upheaval of moving to a new pot is more likely to kill it than nurture it. Spring is typically the best time to repot your plant.
Top tip: If you can’t resist the urge to move it to a new home during the colder months, consider keeping the plant in its current pot, and placing the whole thing in a different decorative planter to give it a fresh look.
If you’ve ticked off all of the above, and you’re ready to get your hands dirty…
- Lay something like old newspapers out, because there’s no escaping the fact that soil will go everywhere.
- If your new pot has no drainage, put your layer of pebbles or activated charcoal in the bottom of your new pot. This should be about an inch thick.
- Fill the new pot up to about a third of the way full with your potting mix.
- Carefully remove your plant from its current pot – this can sometimes be a little fiddly, but usually your plant is more hardy than you expect it to be. If the plant is in a plastic pot, try squeezing it to free up the plant.
- Give the plant a shake to remove a fair amount of its soil, and untangle some of its stubborn looking roots to encourage them into its new space.
- Place your plant in its new pot while supporting it with one hand to position it.
- Add more potting mix so that it’s filled to about a centimetre below the surface of the pot.
- Give the plant a really good water – usually we place it in the shower or the kitchen sink to do this to make sure it’s had a good drink, and then leave it to drain for at least an hour. It’s also important to not feed your plant fertiliser straight after repotting, as the new soil will already have loads of nutrients in it, and combining this with fertiliser may shock the plant too much.
In the weeks after repotting, your plant may lose a couple of leaves – don’t panic, this is normal. The stress of moving it can have that effect, but it will bounce back as long as you look after it as you usually would.
Whether you’re looking for pots with or without drainage holes, we have a huge selection of hand picked indoor planters, both from some highstreet favourites and independent UK based businesses alike.