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If your pothos plant has gotten out of hand, you may need to repot it – Here’s how

Your unruly pothos may need repotting - Find out what to do

Pothos vines are easy to care for, and are often recommended as starter plants for beginner gardeners. What's more, they're beautiful plants! Whether trained onto supports or in a hanging basket, a well-cared-for plant can grow up to 30-feet-long (though they're usually pruned to smaller sizes).

You might wonder how these massive plants fit in the small pots pothos typically come in. The larger pothos often need repotting a handful of times to reach their final destination, and it’s actually an important part of pothos care (especially when you’re moving to a new home).

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

1 hour

What You Need

  • Flower pot

  • Fresh potting soil

  • Rubber spatula

Marble queen pothos

Why it's important to repot your pothos

Repotting is often done for two reasons: the plant has outgrown the pot or the plant is having health problems. In the case of the latter, you’re most likely repotting to a pot of similar size that’s clean and free of contamination. So let’s focus on the former.

When your pothos gets too big for its home, repotting becomes a necessary part of care to ensure that it can keep living. In a small, cramped space, not only will it stop growing due to overgrown, compacted roots, but it will also prevent your plant from getting the proper amount of water and nutrients it needs to survive. If you want to have a happy, healthy pothos for many years, it’s important to repot your plant (on average) once per year

A small pothos in a white pot

When should I repot my pothos?

Here's how to recognize a pothos that needs repotting:

Step 1: Repot your pothos during spring and summer.

It’s best to repot your pothos during the active growing season, usually in the spring or summer months. This will be when your plant is at its strongest, actively growing and absorbing nutrients, and it will be able to better recover from and withstand the stress of being disturbed and moved to a new home.

Step 2: Watch for signs that your pothos needs repotting.

A pothos that needs repotting will have drooping leaves, and roots poking through the top or bottom.

Step 3: Carefully lift your pothos out of the pot to see if it is rootbound.

If it is rootbound, then it's time to repot it. Note that leaf droop can be caused by several other things, too, so if the roots haven’t outgrown the pot, you may need to troubleshoot some other problems.

Step 4: Water your plant two days before repotting.

Repotting a plant is easier if the soil is slightly dry. However, the roots still need to be properly hydrated, or else the plant will be more vulnerable to shock.

A pothos in a white pot

How to repot pothos plants

Repotting your pothos isn’t that different from repotting any of your other plants — you just want to make sure you’re being mindful of the vines. Make sure as you go through the process that you’re grabbing the base of the plant near the soil and roots as opposed to the ends of the vines to cause the least amount of damage.

You’ll want to have your new pot on hand before you take the pothos out of the old one. Then grab a bag of fresh potting mix and follow these steps:

Step 1: Use a clean pot with a drainage hole and fresh soil.

The fresh soil will help provide more nutrients to your plant, and the clean pot ensures there’s as minimal contamination or disease transferred to your plant as possible. The drainage hole, on the other hand, is your key to helping minimize the risk of root rot and soggy soil that can harm your pothos.

Step 2: Use a pot that is slightly larger than your pothos's roots.

In most cases, you can use the old pot as a reference. Your new pot should be an inch or two larger than your last one.

Step 3: Remove the pothos from it's pot by tipping the pot on its side and sliding the plant out.

If needed, you can use a rubber spatula to work around the edges of the dirt. Just make sure you don’t pull on the plant, or you could damage the roots and stems.

Step 4: Fill the new (clean!) pot with an inch or two of soil to create a buffer between the roots and the bottom of the pot.

Step 5: Set the pothos upright and centered in the pot.

Step 6: Add more potting mix around the sides to close the spaces, leaving about two inches of space at the top.

Be sure not to pack the soil down so that the roots have room to breathe.

Step 7: Water your newly potted pothos.

After repotting, you should water generously until it starts to come out of the bottom of the pot. The soil will have settled, and you can add a bit more to the top.

Once it’s happily settled in the new container, your pothos will continue thriving and growing to the best of their ability. Care for it diligently, keep it tidy, and you should be able to enjoy your trailing vine for a long time.

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