How to Re-Pot for a Fuller Plant

Sometimes houseplants grow to be sparce, or unstable, or a little strange looking.  This can often be fixed with a repot.  You can rearrange the stems of hanging plants quite easily – planting them closer together or more centred in the pot; you can easily create a fuller looking plant this way.

So, if your houseplant is a little unbalanced, and it has not been re-potted in a while, give it a go.  Keep in mind that re-potting your plant often means it wont grow for a while; it will need time to adjust.  When it does not, you will be left with a fuller, healthier looking plant.

I recently re-potted this variegated Maranta Leuconeura, its winter growth was quite small and left the plant looking very sparce.  And after losing a few of the larger leaves as a result of over-watering, this plant needed a bit of a makeover.  After propagating a few pieces and putting them into the same pot – an easy way to create a fuller looking plant – the sprawling remained.  And, because I know I can all be a little impatient, I decided to re-pot this houseplant in an attempt to make it look fuller.   

I started by taking the houseplant out of her pot.  I gently tapped and wiggled the pot to loosen the roots and slid the plant out of its home.  I then removed as much of the soil as possible so that I could rearrange the placement of the stems in the pot.  I didn’t want to break too many roots, so I tried my best to be gentle and patient – teasing the roots until the soil fell off.  While you might sometimes want to compost old soil, I decided to reuse it in this case because it isn’t that old, and the plant is otherwise healthy. 

Once the soil was largely off, I could begin re-potting my houseplant.  I put a couple of inches of soil back into the pot, making sure it is well settled.  I wanted to fill the pot high enough so that it was easy to arrange the pieces of Maranta.

Next, I began to arrange the pieces on the houseplant in the pot, trying to create a nice full looking plant.  Feel free to move things around as much as you’d like – you won’t be able to once you finish, so now is your chance to play around with arrangement.  Once I knew where I wanted things, I began burying the roots.  I also tapped the pot occasionally during the re-potting process to make sure the soil was well settled. Once I was done, I packed the soil very lightly.  I didn’t want to compress the soil or roots, but I wanted to ensure that the plant was stable and that once I watered my houseplant the soil wouldn’t fall into air pockets and leave exposed roots. 

If you’re doing this yourself and your houseplant needs watering, now is a good time to do so.  Watering a freshly re-potted plant can help settle lose soil and create a happy new home for you plant.  However, if you are concerned about over-watering your houseplant, you can wait to water until the soil is appropriately dry. 

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