Indoor Gardening and Repotting Houseplants

The colder months can be anxious ones for keen gardeners who want to get their hands dirty again. If you’re one of them, don’t let the snow and cold get you down. It is the perfect time to consider repotting your houseplants!

Wintertime is ideal for moving indoor plants into bigger or better homes. When the weather finally warms up, and more light shines through the windows, growth typically takes off, and it’s good to prepare your plants and give them more room so they can reach their full potential.

Freshening Up

A houseplant’s soil should be replaced every year or two. Supplying it with new, fluffy, nutrient-rich potting mix will help it take full advantage of the start of the peak growing season, which is typically the spring. Fresh potting soil will also eliminate potential diseases, and help the plant better drink up any water.

Pot-bound Plants

When changing the potting soil, The Department of Horticulture at Penn State also recommends selecting a larger pot for your growing plants to prevent them from becoming root bound. If the roots of the houseplant are growing through the drainage holes, it’s another sign that it’s time for a container upgrade.

Other indications that a plant has become potbound is when the potting mix dries out quickly, even when temperatures are cooler. If the growth of both the foliage and stems seems to be stunted, they likely need more room.

Container Selection


Besides choosing a planter that is aesthetically pleasing to your home’s decor, it’s important that it also be only slightly bigger than the one currently being used. A massive container and smaller plant will look out of balance! Too much space can also slow growth.

Also, make sure it has proper drainage holes. If the pot doesn’t already have holes for excess water to escape, drill them yourself.

How To Re-pot A Houseplant

  1. Be sure to water the houseplant thoroughly a day before re-potting to avoid any risk of shock once the ‘procedure’ is done.
  2. Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the rootball to give it some air and the opportunity for new growth. Trim any dead plant matter with some sharp shears.
  3. If you’re reusing your pot, remove the old potting soil and rinse it out with hot water. Add fresh potting soil, enough so that the base of the plant will be about .5” below the rim.
  4. Place the plant into the container, and fill with the new soil until all of the roots are covered. Be sure to leave some space at the top to allow for watering needs and encourage new growth. Gently pat down so that any air pockets are filled, being careful not to make the soil too compact either.
  5. Water the plant so that the soil is moist, not soaking wet.

If your houseplant appears to go into shock, don’t worry! It’s normal for there to be an adjustment period to the new conditions. With fresh soil and nutrients, the plant will be much better off in the long run.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.