Pothos plants are among the easiest houseplants to repot into a new planter. Repotting Pothos can help give the roots more space to spread out and lead to a much healthier plant in the long run.
Here are the basics for repotting Pothos (Epipremnum aureum):
- Choose a planter that’s slightly larger than the current pot;
- Look for a planter with a drainage hole (or use a plastic inner liner pot with drainage);
- Water the Pothos plant before replanting it;
- Gently loosen any roots that are circling the root ball (see video below for demonstration);
- Place some high-quality organic potting soil into the bottom of the pot;
- Arrange the Pothos vines around the planter;
- Backfill the pot with potting soil (gently);
- Water the Pothos plant after repotting.
Repotting Pothos is a well-worthwhile and forgiving process, even for beginner gardeners and new plant parents. Let’s look in detail at the full process of how to repot Pothos plants.
Choosing a New Planter For a Pothos Plant
Pothos plants often quickly outgrow the 4″-6″ plastic growers pots they are commonly sold in. These enthusiastic vines really benefit from having more soil to spread out into. Here’s what to look for in planters for Pothos.
The first consideration is size. It’s common to up-pot Pothos plants into a planter that’s a few inches wider than its current container. For instance, if you’ve purchased a pothos plant in a 4″ nursery pot, it can be replanted into a 6″ or perhaps even a 8″ planter. Most plant parents avoid planting really small plants in really big planters as the potting soil can stay moist for a long time and the plant looks a bit odd with all that soil around it.
The next thing to look for is a drainage hole. In general, you want to replant the Pothos into a container that has drainage. If the planter you like has a drainage hole, go ahead and plant the Pothos directly into the new planter. That said, many indoor planters do not have drainage holes, as they’re meant to protect the hard surface upon which they sit. For these bowl-like planters, you can simply re-pot the Pothos plant into a larger plastic nursery pot that works as an inner liner (as long as it fits inside the decor planter). Then you can pull the liner pot out and take it to the sink to water it.
Preparing Pothos Plants for Repotting
Pothos plants are much easier (and more likely to thrive) with proper care prior to repotting. The most important thing to remember is to keep the roots moist. Try not to let them dry out in the open air. Pothos roots are much easier to work with (and less prone to breakage) when the roots are hydrated and flexible.
Water the pothos Plant before transplanting it into a new pot. You can water it a day or two before, or even 15-60 minutes before. The point is to allow the roots a bit of time to absorb some water to help them relax and become as flexible as possible.
Gently pull the Pothos plant out of its existing container. Look at the root ball. If the root ball does not have too many roots showing along the outside, it can easily be replanted into a new pot with no further attention to the roots. If, however, the plant has lots of roots circling around the outside of the rootball, it can be beneficial to the root-bound plant to help them out of their twirling shape.
To help twisted, bound roots recover, soak the root ball of the Pothos plant in a bowl of water. You can either gently coax the roots away from ball, or even carefully break up the potting soil to inspect the roots more closely. Work slowly and gently to avoid unintentionally breaking roots. You may find that the Pothos plant actually consists of several separate stems that have all been rooted in the same pot of potting mix. See my video above for a detailed view of this process.
Repotting Pothos Plants in New Planters
Now that the Pothos is ready for planting, we can get to work repotting it! Start by finding a quality potting mix. If possible, I look for an organic-approved (OMRI-Listed) potting mix that contains perlite and coco coir. I also like to look for a potting mix that contains a bit of organic fertilizer, as then I don’t have to worry about plant food in the immediate future. Here are some potting mixes that work well for Pothos plants:
Start by placing a scoop or two of potting soil at the bottom of the new planter. Wider planters are generally also deeper, and the existing root ball will need a pad of soil to sit on to raise it up near the top of the new pot. Once you’ve got a base of potting soil, place the Pothos plant into the new planter. The base of the plant, where the stems meet the soil/roots, should be about 1/2″ to 1″ below the very top of the planter. This little bit of space allows for watering the plant without the soil overflowing over the top of the planter. You may have to add or remove a bit of potting soil from under the roots to get the base of the plant at the right height level.
Arrange the vines around the pot. If the plant was badly root-bound and required soaking, its completely acceptable to gently pull any separate plants apart and give them all their own little space in the new pot.
Gently backfill the planter pot with more potting soil. Try to place some soil between the roots so that the roots are extending somewhat laterally out from the stem, like the rays of the sun. Cover the roots with potting soil and make sure to leave the 1/2″ to 1″ space at the top of the planter for watering.
Once you’re happy with the amount of potting soil and the placement of the vines, its time to water the newly repotted Pothos plant. Carefully pour clean water into the planter, trying not to let it overflow over the sides. Watering the plant will likely help the soil compress naturally, and you may find that the soil level after watering is a bit low. Add a touch more potting soil if required and set the plant aside to drain.