Re-pot a Plant




Introduction: Re-pot a Plant

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hello everybody,


Today I would like to share with you how I change the soil of my indoor plants and check for root growth. We will also be using perlite to mix soil.




perlite (optional)

bedrock (optional)

a wide bucket


Step 1: Get Your Plants Ready for Transplanting

i usually wait until the soil is dry and crumbly, this makes the entire process much cleaner and faster.


into one bucket I try to collect most of the bedrock from the current plant, gently shaking the pot.


now if you have a plastic pot squeeze the sides as you turn the pot, this will loosen the soil and get it ready to pour out.

and if you have a clay pot, you can gently hit the sides and bottom with one hand to loosen the soil.

Step 2: Remove the Plant/pot

now that your soil is loosened up, you can remove the old pot


before doing so, hold the top of your soil as shown, the plant stem goes in between fingers, trying to hold back as much soil as you can.


turn the pot upside down, slowly twist and remove it. you can slightly hit it a few times from the bottom.


you now have in your hands the root ball. gently squeeze it and remove as much soil out of it as you can.

you can also gently hit it against the wall of the bucket. continue doing so until all/most of the soil has fallen off.


it should look much cleaner at this point. if your soil was wet starting out, this process would be much more messy and you wouldn't be able to take out the old soil as much.


set the plant aside while we mix soil into the new pot. you don't have to put them in water. just try to be fast in between each transplanting. don't worry, plants don't just die instantly. it is like taking someones spine out to inspect it and then put it back :)

Step 3: Mix Soil

this step is optional. I like to add 1 parts of perlite to 3-4 parts of soil. most soil come with perlite nowadays. perlite helps keep the soil aerated and looser. the roots can travel/develop faster with it, and it can also help eliminate/reduce root rot.


I also add a layer of bedrock on the bottom of my plant pots. this simple and cheap step can 100% eliminate the risk of root rot. it acts as a barrier between the water exit and the roots. adds space and make sure all the water exits the pot every single time you water. [[ this article was brought to my attention by user skr0013 - about the use of bedrock, very interesting stuff - make sure to look at it ! and view the comments below to read our discussion; ]]


after adding a layer of rocks in the bottom start adding soil and perlite. make sure you break up the soil while you are adding it. don't just throw in chunks of soil. it should be loose and soft.


mix thoroughly...

Step 4: Bring Back the Plant

hold your plant in the pot and measure out the size of the hole you need.


move some of the soil closer to the edges creating an insert in the middle of the pot.


gently insert in the roots about %50. the rest we will cover again with soil.


while holding the plant in mid-air with one hand (centered in the middle of the pot) add soil with the other. always turning the pot while adding soil. make sure to evenly spread it each time. you can shake the rim of the pot after each handful, this will help pack the pot better, removing airholes.


cover the roots, all the way to just where the stem starts. you can now add a layer of bedrock around the rim of the pot. not only aesthetically is this appealing, but it also acts as mulch, keeping your soil moist for longer. less watering time required plus it also keeps the soil intact while you water. less spilling and always even watering.


never water your plants by just dumping a glass of water from far above. this can over time create holes in the soil and expose the roots. instead try to slowly from a closer distance pouring it while traveling around the rim.

Step 5: Shower Time

I usually use the shower for the first watering after transplanting. I let them get extra soaked in a rain like manner, and leave them to drain for about an hour, making sure all the water has left the pot.

Step 6: Root System

here are some nice root pictures..


check for new growth. you will see more white, softer parts at the very ends of each little root node. this means that your plant is trying to grow new roots. which is a good sign

check for mold. if it is there you will notice. it will smell and look like something is wrong. you can try to cut around it and save the plant ?!


at this moment you can prune the root system just like the above soil parts. the first picture here is from a 1.5yr old citrus tree. look how long it is when stretched out. i keep it in a 6" pot, i have 3 of them this exact size/age. and some baby citruses..


you can get gardening help by turning any pot into a smart pot and can also make your own custom plant lights to aid you with your indoor horticulture journey.


thank you for your interest.!



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    11 Discussions

    I do agree with your bedrock method. I have lost several plants over the years from potting soil, "plugging up the drainage holes". Since I have switched to putting rock at the bottom of the pot I have not lost one plant. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply

    thank you very much.. i can see no bed rock method working perfectly if over/under watering is never a problem, like with an indoor plant. but outside, when it rains for 2 days straight or maybe even an entire week, they just drown. water can't exit fast enough. if its plastic i usually drill holes on the sides as well. but then one must be careful to keep it watered at all times, since it will now dry even faster when there is no rain.. it's a give and take but definitely helps in many situations. and adding it above just give a great calm look. also helps keeping the soil unmoved.!!
    thank you for your interest..

    A 'drainage' layer of gravel actually makes the chance of root rot greater by increasing the height at which the perched water table of moisture retentive soils like the one featured in this instructable occur. It's an old wives tale.

    1 reply

    this is a very interesting article. I had never heard anything against using rocks in pots. I didn't even know such a debate even existed let alone the studies done.. however there are still people arguing against the research. those pictures are very interseting.. thank you for bringing such a thing to my attention. I have already replaced 3 of my plants with only soil to test it out..
    but I do think there should be a more in-depth study to be done, a time-lapse see through clear plant pot maybe to observe the liquid flow, maybe even a colored dye water that responds to certain camera tricks. because there is a big difference between sand and larger rocks. i'm not arguing against anything but I also must admit that I have been using rocks in pots for a long time and never seen any negative results. I actually have saved couple plants from draining outside. each scenario can be very different. we get very unregular heavy rain here.. i am going to look more into this. I have already edited the post above and included your link. thank you once again..


    you can see the little pepper in the background, in such a small pot :)