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Here's How to Pot Your Houseplants So They Don't Die This Winter

Hadley Keller
Photo credit: Kathryn Wirsing

From House Beautiful

By now, we know well that no home is—or should be—complete without a plant or two (or dozens). Having live greenery in your home adds an organic touch, and research says they can even make you happier. But in order to make them last, there are a few things you have to do to keep your plant healthy.

The first? Make sure it has a good home of its own. Yes, I'm talking about re-potting. Whether you're taking home a new plant or rehoming one that has grown a bunch, here's how to successfully re-pot.

1.Find the right pot

As with humans, plants need just the right home. When looking for the perfect pot, go for a size that will allow for at least a few inches of space around your plant's root ball. When in doubt, better to go too big and fill with soil (more on that below) than too small.

2. Prepare pot

Find a cute pot but realize it has no drainage hole? No problem! It's surprisingly easy to turn essentially any vessel into a perfect plant container. Using a masonry drill bit, drill a hole (or a few) in the bottom of your pot. It's best to do this with the pot facing upside down and laying on a towel or rag to prevent vibrations.

Photo credit: Kathryn Wirsing

3. Check for rot

Once your new pot is ready, it's time to remove your plant from its existing one. With your fingers, gently loosen the dirt around your plant's roots, then pull it upwards and carefully shake off excess dirt (it's best to do this over the sink, or outdoors). While you have your plant's roots exposed, do a quick health check on them. If any roots look yellowed and slimy, they likely have rot, so trim them off. If any stems are growing curled into themselves, they are root bound and should also be trimmed. Once your root ball looks healthy, move onto the next step!

4. Replace soil

Fill your new pot with fresh potting soil that is slightly moist. You'll want to fill the pot up so that the root ball will sit 1-2 inches from the rim of the pot once you place it in.

Photo credit: Kathryn Wirsing

5. Add plant

Now, place your plant in its new pot and...

6. Fill pot

Add soil around the sides and on top of the root ball to secure your plant in its happy new home!

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