How To Repot a Root-Bound Houseplant

With a little imagination and help from a drill, this overgrown aloe is getting a whole new look. As seen in Country Gardens Magazine.

Many houseplants regularly require you to repot them into a larger container to allow their roots to expand properly. If they're not repotted they become root-bound which stunts their growth makes the houseplant require more watering.


  • New pot
  • Potting soil
  • Drill with metal drill bit
  • Watering can
  • Gloves

Step 1

Turn the plant upside down to reveal the root system and check to make sure the root network is healthy and has filled the container. If the roots are sparse, you can still do a makeover -- just select a container the same size as the previous one.

Step 2

If the roots warrant a promotion, find a container that is at least an inch wider than the original pot (and don't shy away from funky). With the help of a drill, you can put in at least three drainage holes, which are key. Drill holes an inch or so apart using a metal bit. If you are working with a clay pot, use a masonry bit.

Caution: Drilling might damage a container. Don't try this with a valuable one.

Step 3

Tease roots free from the root ball so they'll quickly penetrate the new soil. If you want to share the bounty with friends, separate off a "pup" with as many roots as possible. Slip the mother plant into its new container, adding soil around the original root network. Be sure to press the soil around the roots, eliminating any empty holes.

Step 4

Pot the "pup" separately, firming in the soil around the roots and giving the division plenty of expansion room to start a new family.

Step 5

Water. Keep the roots moderately moist and position the plant out of baking sun for a brief adjustment period. One to two weeks should do it. Then place the plants in a sunny window. Viola! Your indestructible houseplant has received a makeover that will add life to your room for a long time.


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