Pot it Like it’s Hot

By Nkhensani Rikhotso

It’s that time of the year again folks… Where you should be thinking about repotting your houseplants – or as I like to call them – my ‘Green Girls’. I have over 100houseplants, so repotting can take some time, but I know the importance of doing it if I want to keep having happy, healthy plants. With some easy tips and tricks, repotting your houseplants can be a breeze… Let me show you how.

When we think of repotting, we usually think it involves changing your plant’s current pot or planter, but in fact it’s about changing the potting soil or mix. Not all plants need you to change their current pot to a larger size, but if you do, make sure it is only 1 or 2 pot sizes bigger than the current planter. The reason for this is, if you have a larger planter, it means more soil which equates to watering more often, which can lead to a list of other problems.

It is important to repot your plants every 12-16 months. This is because your plants aren’t in their natural environment where they would ordinarily get those nutrients from the animals, insects and plants around them. When they are stuck in the same planter, over time they use up all of the nutrients in the soil, so it’s important to repot your plant baby giving them a new boost of nutrients for the upcoming season to help them grow and stay healthy.


Your plants usually show you when it’s time to repot. If you notice the following signs, thenyou’ve been warned… It’s time to repot:

• Your plant is rootbound, meaning you see roots

growing out of the drainage holes.

• The soil looks dry and compacted.

• You notice mineral or salt build up on the soil.

• The roots are pushing the plant up/out the planter.

• Your plant is stunted or isn’t growing at its normal rate.

• It hasn’t been repotted in the past 12-16 months.


• Your plant (of course).

• Fresh Potting soil (you can add some perlite to help with aeration of your soil).

• The planter you will be potting in to (preferably with a drainage hole so you don’t have

to worry about root rot).

What is Perlite?

Perlite is used in soil mixes (including soilless mediums) to improve aeration and to modify the soil substructure, keeping it loose, well-draining, and defying compaction. … Perlite is also great for rooting cuttings and fosters much stronger root formation than those grown in water alone.

How to repot your houseplant:

  1. You’ll need to remove your plant from its current pot.

Place your plant on its side, give it a gentle shake or roll it back and forth while gently pulling out the plant out of the planter. If it is stuck inside the planter, you may have to break the planter or cut it out. 

  1. Loosen the roots and remove the old potting soil

Cover your plants root/old potting soil with a plastic bag, hold the bag snuggly around the stem/s (make sure not to damage the leaves) and give it a gentle shake, this will loosen the roots and get rid of the old soil. 

  1. Pour new potting soil and plant

Add a layer of the new potting soil at the bottom of the planter, place your plant on top of the layer, making sure it is centered and then continue to cover the roots with the new potting soil. Don’t pack it too tightly with the new soil, you would like the plants roots to be able to breathe. Give your planter a gentle tap on the side of the planter to see of the plant is secure and isn’t shaky (pro-tip: You can determine how high you would like your plant to sit in the new planter by adding more or less potting mix to the bottom of the planter). 

  1. Water it 
  2. Now that your plant is repotted, it is important to water it thoroughly as this allows your plant to settle into the soil, making sure that you water it till water runs out of the drainage holes. 

Pro-tip: After 15-20mins, discard any excess water that is in the saucer. 

Follow these simple hacks and you’ll be onto happier, healthier plants that are producing new growth all summer long. 

IG: @hermerakai 

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