Potting & Repotting Your Indoor Plants

Happy Life Plants

Our Guide to Potting & Repotting Your Indoor Plants

Potting = potting a new plant into a nice pot with drainage holes at the bottom.

Repotting = potting a plant that has out grown its current pot with drainage holes at the bottom onto a bigger pot with drainage holes at the bottom. 

Sometimes when we buy a new plant, we don't want to keep it in the plastic nursery pot that it comes in. We can either decide to buy a pot cover (a pot with no drainage holes at the bottom, that is decorative), a pot sock or a basket to house our new plant decoratively, or we can choose to pot it into a better looking pot with drainage holes at the bottom.

If you choose a decorative cover, then you must leave your plant in its plastic nursery pot, so that you can easily take it out and water it well. In this case, you should always remove your plant in the nursery pot from the decorative pot cover when watering, water outside or over the basin/sink, let dry and then return into the decorative pot cover.

If you choose to pot your new plant into a new pot, you must try to choose a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom. In this case, you can water and maintain your plant in its pot, with less worry about root rot and other problems that occur from not having well draining soil. This pot can be another plastic pot, a terracotta pot, a glazed pot or a ceramic pot. Most of the time you will select a pot that is the same size as the plants current pot as it should not be outgrowing its plastic nursery pot if you have just bought it. Thereafter, you can follow our basic steps to potting your new plant into a pot with drainage holes...

Steps to Pot and Repot Your Indoor Plants:


Tilt your plant sideways. Hold the base of the stems gently and tap the sides and bottom of the pot, gently pulling on the plant, until the plant slides out of the pot. You should have the entire root ball and plant in your hand and a basically empty pot in your other hand.


Gently break away about a third of the old potting mix surrounding the roots of your plant.


Gently loosen the roots with your hands. You can prune off any long thin roots, or roots that are brown/yellow. Make sure to keep the main thick roots intact.


Pour a layer of new potting soil into the base of your new pot. If the pot does not have drainage holes (it is ideal to have a pot with drainage holes), you will need to add a layer of small pebbles or gravel to the base of the pot, to assist with drainage.


Place your plant into the pot on top of the layer of potting mix, ensuring that it is centred and that where the base of the stems and the top of the soil meet, is in line with about 2cm's from the top of the pot. If it is not, add to or remove some of the layer of potting mix that you poured into the base of the pot.

Hold it there while you place potting soil around the edges until the plant is secure in the pot. Gently press the potting soil down and top up until the potting soil is about 2cm’s below the rim of the pot.


Water your newly potted plant well, allowing the water to run through the pot and out of the drainage holes at the bottom.

Let it settle and watch it thrive! 

Signs it’s Time to Repot Your Plant:

Most plants start to outgrow their pot every year, with some slower growing plants outgrowing their pot every 2-3 years - depending on the variety of indoor plant. When it is time to repot, your plant will show signs as an indication to you that its roots need more space for it to continue to be healthy and happy.

When the time comes for repotting, you can follow our basic potting steps above to repot your indoor plants. 

If you are unsure fo when to repot; research the specific plant variety to read up on how it is happiest and then look out for your plant showing any of these signs:

  • Your plant is top heavy in its pot and falls over easily.
  • The roots are protruding out the top layer of the soil in the pot.
  • The roots are growing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the current pot.
  • The roots are growing and pushing the plant up or the pot outwards.
  • The plant has slowed in growth and new leaf development.

Repotting Tips:

When it is time to repot your plant, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always try to repot in the Spring season, as this is before the plants growing season and the best time to be disturbing the roots.
  • Only repot into a pot one size bigger than the current plant pot.
  • Always use fresh potting mix when repotting.
  • Watch some videos (Instagram or YouTube are an amazing resource for this), to get a hang of what to do before repotting your plant.