Potting Small Plants

Actually, Re-Potting Small Plants

If you’re like me you may have purchased a lot of smaller plants at nurseries while doing some bigger landscaping projects. “It’s so cute! I just have to have it!” -is what I found myself saying time and again. They were cared for (or neglected) all summer in their plastic pots and are now looking for a roomier place to call home.

Alternatively, you may find yourself eyeballing annual plants for sale that are still in good shape for having summered at The Farm Stand. You will be empowered to purchase them; now knowing the skills to giving them the potting they long for.

It’s really fairly simple after aquiring all the items you need.

Potting List

  • A Pot (slightly larger than the one your plant is in now)
  • A Saucer (to protect your countertop and hold excess water)
  • Small to Medium sized Rocks
  • Gravel sized to Small sized Rocks (Alternatively- Soil Perfector)
  • Potting Mix (Research a mix suitable for your plant if it has special compost needs)
  • Gardening Gloves (optional)
  • A source of water, Sink or Watering Can
  • Tools to clean up any dirt if you are working inside: Laying out paper bags helps as a preventative to soil getting on your surfaces.


Get Your Pot

You will notice it has a hole at the bottom; If it does not have a hole at the bottom, it is a cache pot, and it will not allow proper drainage without an extremely heavy layer of small rocks.


Cover the Hole

With a small to medium stone, or two, or three. (Also, broken pottery pieces.)

IMG_5227    IMG_5228

I was doing several pottings at a time so the featured pot changes here. You are not going crazy or seeing things, I promise.

Add Small Stones

This should be about a handful of small-gravel sized stones.

Alternatively, you can use Soil Perfector. This is a product made by Espoma that has some extra key minerals that your plant will enjoy. It ensures quality drainage every time. You can order it online or call your local garden center to see if they have it in-stock. It is one of those products that is not very common by me. I use a left over plastic plant container as a scooper here.

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Add Soil

Just a handful or less should do here. This is to cover up the small rocks at the bottom of your pot, to give your plant more room to spread its roots.


As noted earlier, your plant may have specific soil requirements. If it is on the picky side, it is worth it to purchase a mix (or make the mix) that will suit your plant. I used a Happy Frog potting soil mix that had been previously opened. Usually when you purchase a soil mix, it will be naturally moist when it is unopened.        IMG_5236

Add Water

If your soil is dry, it is helpful to add some water to it before placing your plant in the pot.  This may cause the soil mixture to compact or expand, and will help get an accurate soil volume.


Pop in Your Plant

When placing your plant, you want a decent gap from where the crown of the plant begins and the top of the pot’s rim. If you have a pot similar to the one shown, this gap will mimic the outer decorative lip of the pot. Having this space allows for ease of watering and is also aesthetically pleasing.


Before going ahead and adding more soil around the plant, I pinched off a few brown leaves.

IMG_5245 IMG_5244

(Yes, I am aware that me sleeves are too long; Was that bothering you too?)

Add More Soil

If your plant is more horizontal than it is vertical, it helps to use one hand to gently hold the leaves upwards while the other hand pours soil around the plant.

IMG_5246  IMG_5252

This part will most likely be the messiest. To reduce some mess, place your pinky on the rim of the pot and cup your palm inward when pouring in the soil.

Compress the Soil

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Focus on the outer edge of the surface, where there will be the most air. As gaps are presented through compacting, add a little bit more soil, and continue gentle compaction. Remember to keep space between the top of the rim of the pot and where the level of dirt begins. The soil level should be flush with the crown of your plant.

Water the Plant

You have successfully transplanted your plant! To ease it of all stress, give it a nice amount of water and be sure to remove any dirt from its leaves. Let the water drain out a bit in the sink or outside where you watered it before picking it up again.


Clean Up

No one wants a dirty space to come back to. Keep your own stress levels down by cleaning up after your fun project. Collect any excess soil and put it back into your Potting Mix for next time.Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 8.57.44 AM.png

Grab that Saucer

Put a saucer under your happy plant to collect the water that will now easily drain from your potted plant. IMG_5267.jpg

You’re all done! Bravo!

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