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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Stern

How to Repot a Plant in 6 Easy Steps

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

When plants are young, it's a good idea to keep them in smaller containers before eventually transferring them into larger pots after about a month or healthy growth

This technique allows you to conserve space and resources while your plant's nutritional needs are minimal. It also allows the root structure to amass into a "ball" which leads to more vigorous growth over your plant's lifetime.


Transferring your "teenage" plants from small containers into large pots can be a real challenge; especially for new gardeners.

But don't worry!

In this article, you're going to learn a fool-proof method for how to repot a plant!

Table of Contents

Step #1: Preparing Your Large Pots

Place your large (destination) pot on the ground and fill it to the top with soil. I recommend using a 5-gallon pot, at minimum.

If you are going to repot a large number of plants, I recommend laying all of your pots on the ground and filling each pot with soil before moving on to the next step.

Step #2: Wet & Pack the Soil

Pot packing down soil
Use the bottom of a pot to pack down the soil

Wet the soil with water from a hose or watering can. Hydrating the soil will make it easier to shape and will give the plant more support.

When the soil is wet, take a large flat object (I prefer to use the bottom of an empty pot) and use it to pack down the soil as tightly as you can.

Tight soil allows roots to absorb water and nutrients more efficiently.

Again, if you plan to repot multiple plants, I recommend wetting and packing the soil in all of your pots before moving on to the next step.

Step #3: Shaping the Soil

Hold the large container with your non-dominant hand and use your dominant hand to carve out a hole in the center of the pot.

This hole should extend to about 2 inches above the bottom of the pot.

If you've never repotted a plant before, try to use every last bit or vertical space inside the pot to make the hole as wide and as deep as you can.

You'll likely need to do this a few times before you get it perfect, so don't get discouraged!

Again, shape the soil in all of your pots before proceeding.

Step #4: Removing the Plants From Their Small Pots

This is where it gets a bit tricky. For best results, wait until the soil in small (origin) pots is slightly dry before proceeding.

Gently hold the small pot in one hand and carefully push up on the bottom of the pot with the thumb in your other hand to dislodge the plant from its container.

Grip the plant at the base of the stem and carefully slide the small pot down and away from the plant.

Ideally, the substrate should come out in one solid piece.

If the soil is to wet, the substrate will lose form after you remove it from the pot. If this occurs, stop repotting and wait another day to two for the soil to dry out.

Step #5: Placing Plants in Large Pots

Without letting go of the plant, carefully slide it into the hole you dug in the large container.

Step #6 Packing the Soil Down

When your plant is safely submerged in it's new home, make sure to pack down the adjacent soil as tightly as you can.

Ideally, the top of the old and new soil should be on the same even plane with no discernable difference between the soil that was transferred from the smaller pots and the soil that you used to fill the large pots.

Place the repotted plant in it's new growing space and leave it alone for at least one week.

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