The Ultimate Guide to Repotting Houseplants: Sizes, Types, & Tips

a man and woman repotting a large indoor houseplant

Repotting indoor houseplants is more than a routine task; it's an art form that combines science, aesthetics, and love for nature. The right pot not only complements the beauty of the plant but also supports its growth and well-being. Whether you're a new plant parent or have a seasoned green thumb, this comprehensive guide will assist you in choosing the right pot size and type for your indoor greenery.

Understanding the Need for Repotting

Repotting is essential for a plant's health and growth. Over time, plants can outgrow their containers, leading to cramped roots and nutrient depletion. By repotting, you provide the plant with:

  • Fresh soil packed with nutrients
  • More space for roots to spread
  • Improved water drainage
  • A renewed aesthetic appeal

Let's explore the various aspects of choosing the right pot for repotting your houseplants, tailored to popular choices like the Fiddle Leaf Fig, Spider Plant, Aloe Vera, Orchids, and many more.

The Ideal Pot Size

The right pot size is crucial for healthy root development. Here's a detailed breakdown:

  • 1-2 Inches Larger: For most houseplants, a pot that's 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one encourages growth.
  • Room for Growth: An adequately sized pot allows the roots to breathe and prevents waterlogging.
  • Plant's Nature: Understanding the plant's specific growth pattern helps in choosing the right size. For example, the Snake Plant prefers tight spaces, while the Monstera needs more room.

Types of Pots: Material Matters

Each pot material has unique characteristics. Here's a closer look:

Ceramic Pots

Ceramic pots are ideal for moisture-loving plants like Peace Lily and Spider Plant. Their porous nature allows the soil to breathe, helping maintain proper moisture levels. Shop some of our favorite ceramic pots here.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are lightweight and suitable for plants like Philodendrons, which prefer well-drained soil. They retain moisture well but may require more frequent watering.

Terracotta Pots

Terracotta pots, made from baked clay, offer excellent breathability. They are perfect for succulents and cacti, which require a dry environment.

Wooden Pots

Wooden pots provide a rustic charm and are great for ferns and orchids. Their organic texture complements the natural beauty of the plants.

Guide to Repotting Specific Plant Variants

Repotting varies depending on the specific variant of the plant. Below, you'll find detailed guidance for some popular and diverse categories:


With over 450 species, Philodendrons require careful attention:

  • Pot Size: Typically, a pot 2 inches larger than the current one is ideal.
  • Material: Ceramic pots promote airflow, aiding root health.
  • Soil: A peat-based mix ensures proper moisture retention.


Monsteras are stunning and unique. Here's how to repot them:

  • Pot Size: Choose a pot 2-3 inches larger, allowing space for the aerial roots.
  • Material: Plastic or ceramic pots with good drainage work well.
  • Soil: A mix of peat, perlite, and pine bark nurtures growth.


Known for their striking foliage, Alocasias need specific care:

  • Pot Size: A pot 1-2 inches larger, depending on growth rate, is suitable.
  • Material: Terracotta or ceramic pots help maintain moisture balance.
  • Soil: A well-draining soil with organic matter supports healthy roots.

Common Repotting Mistakes to Avoid

Repotting is an exciting but delicate process. Avoiding these common mistakes ensures a smooth transition for your plant:

  • Choosing the Wrong Pot Size: Too large can lead to waterlogging, while too small can restrict growth.
  • Incorrect Soil Mix: Each plant requires a specific soil type. Researching your plant's preferences is key.
  • Overwatering After Repotting: Giving too much water right after repotting can cause root rot.
  • Ignoring Drainage: Lack of proper drainage can lead to stagnant water and unhealthy roots.

Seasonal Considerations for Repotting

Did you know that the season can influence the repotting process? Here's how:

  • Spring: A prime time for repotting as most plants begin active growth.
  • Summer: Avoid repotting during extreme heat, but early summer can be suitable for tropical plants.
  • Autumn: Slow growth begins, so repot only if necessary.
  • Winter: Most plants are dormant, making repotting risky except for winter-active plants.

Step-by-Step Guide to Repotting

Repotting doesn't have to be intimidating. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure a successful transition:

  1. Choose the Right Pot: Select a pot that's 1-2 inches larger with proper drainage.
  2. Prepare the New Pot: Place a mesh screen or shard over the drainage hole to prevent soil escape.
  3. Remove the Plant: Gently remove the plant from its old pot, shaking off excess soil.
  4. Inspect and Trim Roots: Trim any dead or overly long roots.
  5. Place in New Pot: Center the plant in the new pot, adding soil to support it.
  6. Add Soil: Fill the pot with soil, pressing down gently to eliminate air pockets.
  7. Water: Water lightly to help the soil settle.
  8. Monitor: Keep an eye on your plant, adjusting care as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Repotting

Have more questions about repotting? We've got you covered:

When is the best time to repot?

The best time is usually spring, but it depends on the specific plant and its growth cycle.

How often should I repot my houseplant?

Most houseplants benefit from repotting every 12-18 months, but observing your plant's behavior is key.

Can I repot a sick plant?

It's risky but sometimes necessary. Consult with a plant specialist if unsure.

What tools do I need for repotting?

Having a trowel, pruner, gloves, and watering can handy will make the process smoother.


Repotting your houseplants is an exciting journey that connects you with nature. With this guide, you're well-equipped to take on the challenge, whether you're nurturing Philodendrons, Monsteras, Alocasias, or other unique plants. Dive into the joy of indoor gardening with Plant In The Box.

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