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Repotting 101: Guest Blogger

We’ve avoided houseplants in the past (NYC apartments are crammed enough as is), but The Sill is changing the way that we buy and display greenery. The start-up specializes in appropriately city-size (read: small) succulents and plants. In honor of our recently launched Birchbox Home: From the Garden collection, we asked Eliza, the company’s founder, and Erin, the social media manager, to bring their plant know-how to our blog. 


We do a lot of potting and repotting here at the office, but with spring finally here, it’s time to do some at home. Plants typically need to be repotted every year to 18 months and the best time for this is before the growth season in late winter or early spring. Not surprisingly, this task has been added to our spring cleaning to-do list, and it usually gets checked off first!

It’s a common misconception that repotting means putting the plant in an entirely new pot. In a lot of cases, it’s really just an opportunity to change the soil or potting mix. (This is great news if you love your planter and better news if you’re looking to splurge on a really nice one!) If you are changing pots though, keep it roughly the same size, meaning no more than two inches, smaller or larger.

Need some help? Don’t stress! Follow our simple how-to and check this item off of your to-dos! 

What to look for: 

  • Roots growing through the bottom drainage hole
  • Roots pushing the plant up and out of the pot
  • Slow growth
  • A top heavy plant
  • Plant dries out more quickly than usual
  • Noticeable salt and mineral build up on plant and pot

What you need:

  • Newspaper for easy clean up
  • Potting soil and shovel
  • A watering can or makeshift water bottle
  • Scissors, if pruning
  • Your plant
  • A pot


1. A day or two before you plan to repot, water thoroughly

2. Pre-moisten new potting mix

3. Turn plant upside down, hold gently by the stems, and tap the bottom of the container until the plant slides out


4. Prune dead or extra long roots

5. If root bound (roots growing in circles around plant), unbind roots and trim them back

6. Remove a third of the old potting mix

7. Pour a layer of new, pre-moistened potting mix into the pot


8. Set plant in center of pot


9. Add soil around the plant until its secure. Be sure not to press down too hard – you want the roots to breathe!

10. Even out mix, water well, let drain


And remember to keep a newly potted plant out of bright, direct sun for about one week.

Be sure to check out our Instagram feed tomorrow when The Sill takes over for the day! #SaturdayWithTheSill

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