When to Repot Your Indoor Plants (And Signs to Look for)

Best time to repot outdoor plants

Apart from watering and pruning, repotting your indoor plants is another important care your green companions need. So, when is the right time to repot your indoor plants?

Although your plant will show signs of repotting, like overgrown roots and stunted growth, it’s good to repot them before they show signs of distress. 

Sometime in the future, your plant will outgrow its container or pot, thus the need for repotting. Repotting is easy and, more so, essential to your plant as it will have more room to grow healthier.

In our guide, we will take you through when to repot your indoor plants and signs to look for when your plant needs repotting.

When to Repot Indoor Plants

The most appropriate time to repot your indoor plants is when they are starting a new growing season. That should be early spring to late summer. This way, your plant will recover quickly because there is active growth.

Generally, indoor plants need to be repotting every 1-2 years. However, this depends on the type of plant and its growth rate. 

How Do You Know It’s Time to Repot Your Indoor Plants?

Drainage Issues

In addition, if your plant needs repotting, it will show signs of water sitting on the topsoil and not absorbing. This indicates that the soil is compacted, leading to poor drainage. Furthermore, this leads to waterlogging, which in turn causes root rot.

Outgrowing Roots

repotting houseplants in winter


Remember, roots are the most important part of your plant. They help to transport water and nutrients to other parts of the plant. So, if the roots are overcrowded, they will start to circle around the pot, restricting water flow and other nutrients. This might cause stunted growth.

If you notice your plant roots are overgrowing the existing pot and escaping via the drainage holes, it’s time for repotting. Note that when repotting, release the bound roots and cut off those that seem dead to give room for new growth.

Stunted Growth 

Another sign that your indoor plant needs repotting is stunted or slow growth. This is because there is not enough space for the plant to grow in the current container. Stunted growth also means the roots are overcrowded, thus unable to transport nutrients.

Yellowing and Wilting Leaves

How to repot a plant without killing it


Yellowing and wilting is a common problem for indoor plants. Although yellowing and wilting of leaves might indicate problems like overwatering, underwatering, and others, it can also mean that your plant needs repotting. 

If your plant has been in the same pot for years, the nutrients in the soil might be depleted, causing your leaves to turn yellow. Furthermore, root-bound might cause your plant to wilt. When the roots are bound, they are unable to take up water to the stems and leaves. Thus, lack of water in the stems and leaves causes the plant to wilt.

The Soil is Always Dry

Additionally, if your soil is drying out immediately after waiting, it means the plant roots are overcrowded and thus do not have enough room to retain water. 

Too Large Than the Pot

Best soil for repotting indoor plants


If your indoor plant is too large than the pot, it might not thrive well in that pot and thus needs repotting. This might cause an imbalance between the root system and the upper growth, thus a need for a bigger pot.

Usually, such a plant might struggle to grow upright. When your plant is three times bigger than the pot, repot it immediately. 

Foul Odor

Finally, if there is a foul odor coming from the soil, there is stagnant water or decomposing organic matter, indicating the roots are in an unhealthy environment. Such a plant needs repotting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a plant that needs repotting look like?

Usually, a plant that needs repotting has visible roots escaping via drainage holes, a plant that is too big than the pot, has yellow, and wilting leaves, and stunted growth. If possible, repot the plant and change the soil as well.

What happens if you don’t repot houseplants?

What happens if you don’t repot your houseplant is that the nutrients in the soil will be depleted, and the roots will outgrow the existing container, restricting the roots from taking up nutrients. Furthermore, the plant might also experience drainage issues; as time goes on, the soil becomes compacted, leading to waterlogging. 

Can you repot houseplants all year round?

Yes, it’s possible to repot houseplants throughout the year. However, there are factors to consider, like the plant’s dormancy period, where you should repot when they are at their active growth.  In addition, avoid repotting your plant when it’s too hot or cold to prevent stressing the plant.

In Summary

Knowing when to repot your indoor plants is an essential aspect. Generally, the best time to repot your houseplant is from early spring to late summer, as the plant is active in its growth. This allows it to recover quickly from repotting. 

However, don’t wait for the plant to show you the signs that it needs repotting. Repot your plant if it’s been years since the last repotting. 


Author Profile

🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼