When Should You Transplant Houseplants? (Pro Tips)

Ensure the wellbeing of your indoor plants by learning when to transplant houseplants with our pro tips. In this post, we guide you through the process of identifying the right time to move your plants to new pots, promoting healthy growth.

If you’re wondering about the best soil to use for your indoor plants, our article on what soil is best to use for indoor plants shares valuable insights. For those needing guidance on safely moving houseplants, don’t miss our expert advice on how to safely move house plants.

Repotting your houseplants is important for their growth and overall health.
Signs that a houseplant needs to be repotted include roots growing out of the drainage holes, soil that dries out quickly or stays soggy, and a plant that’s outgrown its current pot.
When repotting, make sure to choose a pot that’s a size up from the current one and has drainage holes at the bottom.
Use a high-quality potting mix that’s designed for indoor plants when repotting your houseplants.
Repot your houseplants during their active growing season, which is typically in the spring or summer, and aim to repot every 1-2 years.

Dive in and master the art of transplanting to keep your indoor garden thriving.

#1. The Plant Needs More Room

When the plant is getting too big for its pot. If your plant has outgrown its pot, it needs more room to grow. It may look like something needs to be done right away, but it’s actually better if you wait a little while before transplanting. 

The roots will have time to settle into the new soil and get used to their new home before they’re disturbed again by taking them out of their established environment and moving them somewhere else.

When the plant has outgrown its pot, it needs more room to grow. If your plant is growing too tall for its container or becoming top-heavy with leaves and branches, then transplanting can help keep things looking healthy and attractive while giving each portion more space for optimal growth. 

Transplanting once or twice a year helps prevent problems from developing over time (such as root rot) that could severely damage or kill the plant altogether if left unchecked!

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#2. You Over-Watered or Under-Watered Your Plant

If you’ve followed the directions for your houseplant, but it’s still not looking well, it might be a sign that you’ve been under- or over-watering. To know for sure, you’ll need to examine the plant’s leaves.

  • If its leaves are turning yellow and dropping off: This could be due to over watering.
  • If its leaves are wilting and brown spots on them: This could be due to under watering.

Ultimately, using the finger test (see below) is the best way to know whether your plant needs more or less water than usual—but if even after doing so you’re still confused about what’s going on with your poor potted friend, consult an expert!

#3. Your Plant Is Lopsided

If your plant is growing lopsided, chances are it’s just a matter of time before the weight of the affected side pulls it down and causes its demise. 

If this happens, you can either remove the roots from that side and try transplanting again or just prune away the lopsided side entirely and let it grow back from an established root system (this will be easier if you have access to bulbs). 

If your plant is leaning to one side but not yet in danger of collapse, don’t worry about transplanting just yet; give it some time to see if it straightens itself out on its own first!

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#4. Your Plant Is Barely Growing

If you’re seeing little to no growth in your plant, it might not be getting enough of the things it needs, namely light and water. Other reasons for slow growth include:

The plant is too young. If you’ve recently brought home an ornamental plant from the store or garden center, chances are it’s too young to have begun forming roots yet. Give these plants time to mature before transplanting them into larger pots or outdoors (or into a new environment altogether).

The soil is too dry. When houseplants don’t receive enough water over time, their leaves will begin to brown and fall off—and if that happens before they’ve formed roots in their pots, they’re at risk of dying completely! 

Make sure that your houseplants’ soils stay moist but not soggy throughout their lives; keep a close eye on them if you live in warmer climates where evaporation can be a problem during the summer months.

#5. Your Plants Are Outgrowing Their Pots

If your plant is outgrowing its pot, it will start to lean. While this can be a cosmetic issue, it’s actually a sign that the pot is too small and that the roots are being restricted. 

As such, when you notice your plant leaning or showing signs of distress (the leaves may start to turn yellow), it’s time for transplanting!

The easiest way to improve the health of your houseplant is by adding new soil every couple of years. When you do so, make sure to use fresh compost or soil—and don’t forget about repotting!

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#6. You Just Bought A New Houseplant and Want to Show Off the Roots

You just bought a new houseplant and want to show off its roots. That’s great! It’s always nice to be able to share your love of plants with friends and family, and when they see the plant in person they’ll be impressed by how healthy everything looks.

Roots should be white, not brown or black. If they’re too long it means the plant is rootbound (meaning there’s no room for growth). 

In this case you may need to repot the plant in order to give it some more space for its roots as well as provide it with better drainage so that water can drain from around its base.

#7. The Potting Soil Has Decayed or Become Moldy

If your houseplant’s potting soil has decayed or become moldy, it is time to repot the plant. To do so:

Remove the plant from its original pot and gently remove as much of the old soil as possible without damaging the roots.

Get a new container with appropriate drainage holes in its bottom; make sure to use one that is at least 2 inches larger than your current container or else you risk overwatering your houseplant when you water it!3. 

Fill the new container with fresh potting soil and place your potted-up houseplant into it carefully (so as not to damage any of its delicate roots). Then enjoy watching your houseplant thrive!

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#8. The Soil Disintegrates When Touched

The soil should be dark and crumbly, with a rich, loamy appearance. If the soil feels wet and spongy, or if it’s dry and powdery or crumbling when touched, it may be time to transplant your houseplant.

If the soil has a foul smell (rotten eggs), or if it’s moldy in any way, then you probably need to re-pot your plant ASAP!

#9. Leggy Seedlings Need a New Home

Seedlings are young plants that have not yet reached maturity. Growing too fast and tall can cause a seedling to become leggy, which means they have very long stems with few leaves. While it’s normal for a seedling to grow quickly at first, you should take action if the plant is more than 25 percent taller than it was when you purchased it. If a plant hasn’t bloomed after three months in its container, transplanting into larger pots will give it more room to spread out its roots without having to compete with neighboring plants for nutrients from the soil or water from your watering can.

To transplant a seedling:

  • Gently pull apart the dense root ball using your hands or fingers—this will help loosen any compacted soil around the roots so they’re easier to remove from their old container

#10. Your Houseplant Has Started to Droop

If your houseplant has started to droop, it might be time to transplant. This can happen for a number of reasons, but if you suspect that your houseplant needs more light or is just not getting enough nutrients from its current soil, repotting is an excellent way to give it the boost it needs.

You can also try removing some of the soil around its roots and replacing it with new dirt that has been mixed with an organic plant food (like Miracle-Gro).

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As you can see, there are many reasons why you should transplant your houseplants. The most important thing is to make sure that you do it at the right time! 

If you’re not sure when that might be or have any other questions about this process, please leave them below and we would be happy to help 🙂

Further Reading

If you’re looking for more information on repotting houseplants, check out these helpful resources:

Repotting Houseplants – This guide from Penn State Extension provides step-by-step instructions on how to repot your houseplants and includes helpful tips for selecting the right potting mix.

When Should I Repot My House Plants? – Good Earth Plants offers a comprehensive guide on when to repot your houseplants and how to do it correctly.

Repotting – Our House Plants covers everything you need to know about repotting your houseplants, including when to do it, how to do it, and what materials you’ll need.


What are the signs that a houseplant needs to be repotted?

Some signs that a houseplant needs to be repotted include roots growing out of the drainage holes, soil that dries out quickly or stays soggy, and a plant that’s outgrown its current pot.

How do I choose the right pot for repotting my houseplant?

When choosing a new pot for repotting, make sure it’s a size up from the current pot and has drainage holes at the bottom. Also, consider the material of the pot, as some materials can affect the moisture level in the soil.

What type of soil should I use for repotting my houseplant?

The type of soil you use for repotting your houseplant depends on the plant’s specific needs. Generally, a high-quality potting mix that’s designed for indoor plants will work well.

Can I repot my houseplant at any time of year?

It’s best to repot your houseplants during their active growing season, which is typically in the spring or summer. However, if the plant is in dire need of repotting, it can be done at any time of year.

How often should I repot my houseplants?

The frequency of repotting your houseplants depends on the plant’s growth rate and the size of the pot. Generally, repotting every 1-2 years is recommended for most houseplants.