How Do I Get Rid Of Big Houseplants?

Big houseplants can be a beautiful addition to any indoor space, but there may come a time when you need to bid farewell to one. Whether you’re moving, redecorating, or simply making space for new greenery, knowing how to properly get rid of a large houseplant is essential. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the steps involved in safely and effectively removing big houseplants from your home.

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Properly assess the situation before removal
Gather necessary tools and protect surroundings
Choose the appropriate removal method
Follow step-by-step instructions for removal
Address common challenges effectively
Provide proper aftercare for remaining plants

2. Assessing the Situation

some potted plants are sitting on shelves in a room

Identifying the Problem

Before diving into the removal process, take some time to assess why you need to get rid of the plant. Is it outgrowing its current pot? Has it become infested with pests or diseases? Understanding the underlying issue will help you determine the best course of action.

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Evaluating the Plant’s Health

Next, examine the overall health of the plant. Is it thriving, or does it appear to be struggling? Look for signs of stress such as yellowing leaves, wilting, or pest infestations. This assessment will inform your decision-making process moving forward.

Table 1: Signs of Plant Health

Signs of Healthy PlantsSigns of Unhealthy Plants
Vibrant green leavesYellowing or browning leaves
Strong, sturdy stemsWilting or drooping foliage
Active growthPest infestations

3. Preparing for Removal

Gathering Necessary Tools

Before you begin the removal process, make sure you have the right tools on hand. This may include a sturdy pair of pruning shears, a large pot for repotting, gardening gloves, and protective eyewear if dealing with sharp or spiky plants.

Protecting Surrounding Area

Removing a big houseplant can be a messy task, so it’s important to protect the surrounding area to prevent soil and debris from getting everywhere. Lay down a tarp or old newspapers to catch any dirt or leaves that may fall during the removal process.

Table 2: Essential Tools for Plant Removal

Pruning shearsTrimming overgrown foliage
Large potRepotting the plant
Gardening glovesProtecting hands from thorns
Protective eyewearShielding eyes from debris

4. Choosing the Removal Method

some potted plants are sitting on shelves in a room

Once you’ve assessed the situation and gathered your tools, it’s time to decide how you’ll remove the plant from your home.

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If the plant has simply outgrown its current container, repotting may be the best option. This involves carefully removing the plant from its pot, loosening the roots, and placing it into a larger container with fresh soil.


For plants that have become too large or unwieldy, pruning may be necessary. This involves trimming back overgrown foliage and shaping the plant to a more manageable size.


In some cases, it may be best to simply dispose of the plant altogether. This could be due to severe pest infestations, diseases that cannot be treated, or simply a lack of space to accommodate the plant.

Table 3: Removal Methods

RepottingTransferring the plant to a larger container with fresh soil
PruningTrimming back overgrown foliage to reduce the plant’s size
DisposalGetting rid of the plant entirely due to severe issues or lack of space

5. Step-by-Step Removal Process

Repotting Instructions

If you’ve decided to repot the plant, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Prepare the new pot: Choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one and fill it with fresh potting soil.
  2. Remove the plant: Gently tip the plant out of its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots.
  3. Loosen the roots: Use your hands to gently loosen the roots, removing any old soil that may be clinging to them.
  4. Place in the new pot: Position the plant in the center of the new pot and fill in the gaps with fresh soil, pressing down firmly to secure the plant in place.
  5. Water thoroughly: Give the plant a good soak to help settle the soil and encourage root growth.

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Pruning Techniques

If pruning is necessary, follow these guidelines:

  1. Assess the plant: Identify which branches or stems need to be pruned to reduce the size of the plant.
  2. Use sharp shears: Make clean cuts with sharp pruning shears to minimize damage to the plant.
  3. Shape as needed: Trim back any overgrown foliage to achieve the desired shape and size for the plant.
  4. Dispose of trimmings: Dispose of any trimmings in a compost bin or yard waste bag.

Disposal Options

If you’ve decided to dispose of the plant, consider these options:

  1. Compost: If the plant is healthy and free from pests or diseases, you may be able to compost it.
  2. Green waste collection: Check with your local waste management provider to see if they offer green waste collection services for plant disposal.
  3. Donation: If the plant is still in good condition, consider donating it to a friend, family member, or local community garden.
  4. Landfill: As a last resort, you may need to dispose of the plant in the landfill. Try to minimize waste by composting or recycling any pots or containers.

Table 4: Removal Process Steps

RepottingTransfer plant to larger pot with fresh soil
PruningTrim back overgrown foliage to reduce size
DisposalChoose appropriate disposal method based on plant condition

6. Dealing with Common Challenges

Root-Bound Plants

If your plant is root-bound, meaning its roots have outgrown the pot and become tightly packed, follow these steps:

  1. Gently tease roots: Use your fingers to carefully loosen the roots, untangling them from the root ball.
  2. Trim back roots: If necessary, trim back any excessively long or tangled roots to encourage new growth.
  3. Report carefully: When repotting the plant, be gentle to avoid damaging the delicate root system.

Pests and Diseases

If your plant is infested with pests or suffering from diseases, take action promptly:

  1. Identify the problem: Determine what type of pest or disease is affecting your plant.
  2. Treatment options: Research treatment options specific to the pest or disease in question. This may include natural remedies, insecticidal soaps, or fungicides.
  3. Isolation: If the infestation or disease is severe, consider isolating the affected plant to prevent further spread to other plants.

Overgrown Plants

For plants that have become excessively large or unruly, consider these strategies:

  1. Regular pruning: Schedule regular pruning sessions to keep the plant in check and prevent it from becoming overgrown.
  2. Selective pruning: Focus on removing the most overgrown or unsightly branches to maintain the plant’s overall shape and size.
  3. Divide and conquer: For plants that have outgrown their space, consider dividing them into smaller sections and repotting them separately.

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Table 5: Dealing with Challenges

Root-bound plantsGently tease and trim roots before repotting
Pests and diseasesIdentify, treat, and isolate affected plants
Overgrown plantsRegular pruning, selective trimming, or dividing

7. Ensuring Proper Aftercare

a person in a blue shirt and black gloves is holding a potted plant

Caring for Remaining Plants

After removing a big houseplant, it’s essential to provide proper care for the plants that remain in your home:

  1. Adjust watering: With one less plant to absorb water, you may need to adjust your watering schedule to ensure that remaining plants receive adequate moisture.
  2. Monitor for stress: Keep an eye on remaining plants for signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, and adjust care accordingly.
  3. Fertilize as needed: Depending on the nutrient requirements of your remaining plants, consider fertilizing them to support healthy growth.

Cleaning Up

Once the removal process is complete, don’t forget to tidy up your space:

  1. Dispose of debris: Properly dispose of any soil, leaves, or trimmings that accumulated during the removal process.
  2. Clean containers: If you used pots or containers for repotting, give them a thorough cleaning to remove any soil or residue.
  3. Restore the space: Return furniture or decor items to their original positions and enjoy your refreshed indoor environment.

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Table 6: Aftercare Tips

Aftercare TaskRecommendations
Caring for remaining plantsAdjust watering and monitor for stress
Cleaning upDispose of debris and clean containers

8. Conclusion

Removing a big houseplant may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be done efficiently and effectively. By assessing the situation, preparing properly, and choosing the appropriate removal method, you can bid farewell to your plant with ease. Remember to address any common challenges that may arise, provide proper aftercare for remaining plants, and enjoy your refreshed indoor space. 

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to tackle any big houseplant removal project that comes your way.

Now that you have the knowledge and tools to handle the task, go ahead and tackle that big houseplant with confidence!

Further Reading


How can I tell if my houseplant is too big?

  • Signs of a houseplant outgrowing its space include roots protruding from the pot’s drainage holes, limited growth or stunted appearance, and difficulty in watering or maintaining the plant.

What should I do if my houseplant is too big for its pot?

  • If your houseplant is too big for its pot, consider repotting it into a larger container with fresh soil. Be sure to gently loosen the roots and provide adequate support for the plant as you transfer it.

Can I prune my houseplant to reduce its size?

  • Yes, pruning is a common technique used to reduce the size of houseplants. However, it’s essential to use sharp, clean tools and follow proper pruning techniques to avoid damaging the plant.

How do I dispose of a dead houseplant?

  • Depending on your location and local regulations, you may be able to compost the plant if it’s free from pests or diseases. Alternatively, you can check with your waste management provider for green waste collection options or simply dispose of it in the landfill.

What are some common challenges when removing big houseplants?

  • Common challenges when removing big houseplants include dealing with root-bound plants, managing pests and diseases, and finding suitable disposal methods. It’s essential to assess the situation carefully and address any issues before proceeding with removal.