Experts reveal key repotting mistake you're probably making with your houseplants

Repotting plants is incredibly therapeutic, but you could be making a simple error that stops roots recovering

Repotting houseplants is often one of those tasks that slip down our to-do lists, but that we really enjoy once we get going. Plant pot retailers Anther + Moss warn of a common repotting mistake to avoid.

Related: Houseplant ideas to introduce luscious greenery into your home

Anther + Moss’ founder, Timothy Sherratt says that houseplants should be kept in a shady spot for a week after being repotted. Rather than putting them back in their usual position, we should keep them somewhere without too much sunlight.

alovera plant in a ceramic pot on windowsil

(Image credit: Anther + Moss)

'Choose a shady spot for a week,' Tim advises. 'Repotting causes root damage, which inhibits the plant’s ability to absorb water.

'The shady spot will help limit the amount of water evaporating from the leaves while the roots recover,' he says. So if your favourite houseplant has outgrown its pot, remember this tip to help its roots.

Tim also notes that the time you choose to repot your plants is pivotal. He explains that houseplants are mostly dormant during the winter months (around October to February).

This makes recovering from that root damage much harder and slower. For more houseplant inspo, head to our houseplant trends 2021 piece where we round up the most-loved plants. If you have pets at home, our guide to pet friendly houseplants will help you pick the best ones.

book shelf with books and red leaf plant in pot

(Image credit: Anther + Moss)

It's tempting to choose a much larger pot, but Tim recommends only going up 'a pot size or two.' This helps with moisture control, because if a small plant is in a big pot, it’ll never drink all the water available. If the soil stays too soggy for too long, root rot becomes a risk.

We also shouldn't repot for the sake of it. 'Being re-potted is a lot of upheaval for a plant,' Tim says. 'Even if you’re gentle, there’ll be root damage that your houseplant needs to recover from. Limit it to once a year at the most.'

If you're thinking of expanding your houseplant collection, these are the best houseplants for boosting wellbeing and productivity. Plus, we took at look at the most Instagrammed houseplants that promise to bring good luck.

house plants with wooden table cream wall and wall photo

(Image credit: Anther + Moss)

Related: This is the most popular houseplant in the UK

Spring is a great time to repot our houseplants to keep them looking as vibrant and healthy as possible. The longer days and extra sunlight encourage plants to grow their roots, which makes them thirstier, and ripe to be re-potted.

Anther + Moss’s pots have a drainage hole and saucer, to reduce the chance of overwatering - a mistake we've all made at some stage...

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.