The Telltale Signs Your Houseplant Needs A Bigger Pot

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Young Woman Planting Potted Flower At Home

At one point or another, most plants will need to be repotted. They're living and growing things, after all! Here are some telltale signs that your greenery has outgrown its current home and is due for an upgrade.

Three signs it's time to repot.

First things first: Know that repotting doesn't necessarily mean you need to transfer your plant to an entirely new home. Sometimes, like when soil has become too compacted, your plant's roots might just need a good rinse and fresh soil, and you can get away with placing them back into the same vessel. You can tell your soil needs to be replaced if it doesn't seem to actually absorb any moisture when you water it and consistently looks dry and crusty.

In the following cases, though, you'll want to transfer your plant to a slightly larger pot that's an inch or two wider in diameter.


1. The roots are visibly overgrown.

Are roots growing out of the drainage hole at the bottom of your planter? This is a telltale sign there's not enough room in that pot anymore. If your pot doesn't have a drainage hole (which it probably should), you can also check on the root system by turning the pot over and very gently pulling the plant out. Overcrowded roots will have formed a thick web at the bottom of the soil in the shape of the pot.

2. Your plant is growing normally but has an abundance of yellow leaves.

"If you're starting to see an equal amount of new leaves and yellow leaves, what's happening inside the pot is it's really survival of the fittest," Maryah Greene, the founder of Greene Piece, tells mbg. "The plant is running out of room, and the new roots that are growing are taking over the old roots."

3. Leaves are drooping—particularly when the soil is still wet.

And lastly, if your plants' leaves are drooping, even when it's been getting the right amount of water, that could be an indication the roots are taking up too much space. "It's potentially pot-bound," Erin Marino from The Sill previously told mbg, "meaning its roots don't have any more room to grow and you should move it to a larger pot."

Once you give your plants a new home, they should thank you for it with new growth—especially if you replant while summer is still in full swing.

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