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Like most other houseplants, there will come a time when you are faced with repotting philodendrons in your collection. 

While this process may seem scary, especially if you have never repotted a plant before, it is a fairly straightforward and simple task that can help ensure your philodendron stays healthy for years to come. 

Keep on reading to learn how to successfully repot your philodendron. 

someone repotting philodendron

How to repot philodendron

To put it simply, repotting a philodendron requires removing the plant from its original pot and then transplanting it into a new pot. 

While this may seem pretty straightforward, there are a few important precautions and steps you should take to keep yourself and your philodendron safe during the process.

1. Prepare your tools

Philodendrons are toxic, so you should always arm yourself with a long-sleeve shirt and gloves when preparing to transplant or prune a philodendron. The sap of this plant can cause skin irritation and wearing long sleeves and gloves helps to prevent contact dermatitis.

Additionally, you will need to prepare the new pot by filling it with damp soil. The pot you choose for repotting the philodendron should be about 2 to 3 inches larger than the current pot. This will provide the plant with room to grow without it being overkill.

soil and tools for repotting philodendron

2. Prepare the philodendron for the process

Repotting can be stressful for any plant, and preparing it before the process can help make the transition much smoother. This can be done by watering the philodendron the day before repotting. This helps to reduce stress and make sliding the plant out of the old pot much easier.

Additionally, you should only repot the plant if it is healthy. There is an exception to this rule, however, because you can repot unhealthy plants if the reporting philodendron will help to save them. 

For example, you can repot an unhealthy philodendron that is infected with root rot as a way to save the plant from the fungal disease.

3. Slide the philodendron out of the pot

When you’re ready to repot the philodendron, carefully slide the plant out of the pot, taking care not to damage the plant. You may have to gently cradle the plant with one hand while turning the pot on its side to allow for the plant to slide out.

Never grasp the stem of the philodendron and try to yank it out of the pot. This will only cause more stress and potential damage to the plant. If you are having issues sliding the philodendron out of the pot, try to work the soil against the inside of the pot free.

Additionally, you can water the philodendron to make sliding it out of the pot easier, and even try to bang on the bottom of the pot to dislodge it.

repotted philodendron on a black pot

4. Examine the roots for damage

Once the plant is out of the plant, remove all the soil from around its roots and then inspect the health and quality of the roots. 

Use a pair of clean and sharp pruning shears to snip off any roots that are damaged, diseased, dead, or brown. Healthy roots will be white or tan, and won’t be soft or smushy.

Keep in mind: Make sure to only use pruning shears that have been sanitized before cutting off any part of the plant. Once you are done with the pruning shears, clean and sanitize them before putting them up. This helps to prevent cross contamination and the spread of diseases between your plants.

5. Transplant the philodendron in its new pot

Layer about an inch of fresh potting soil onto the bottom of the new pot, and then set the philodendron’s root ball directly in the middle of the fresh soil. Fill the void with the potting soil and then press firmly to remove air pockets.

The soil you choose for your newly transplanted philodendron should be of high quality with good drainage and soil retention. It should also be rich in organic matter.

Use potting soil designed for philodendron, or make your own by mixing equal parts potting soil, perlite, peat moss, and orchard bark. Add some worm castings to the mixture to increase its organic matter.

three browns pots for repotting philodendron

6. Water the newly transplanted philodendron

After you have finished transplanting the philodendron, make sure to water the plant deeply for several moments. You want to keep watering until water drains out of the pot’s drainage holes. Watering deeply helps to encourage good root growth.

Even though watering is extremely important, you want to avoid watering the philodendron too much as this can lead to serious problems. You want to keep the soil moist but not overly wet and soggy.

7. Continue caring for the philodendron

After repotting a philodendron, provide the plant with its ideal growing conditions. This means making sure it is in bright, indirect light and is placed in a room where the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees with a humidity level of at least 60 percent.

Furthermore, you should continue watering the plant when the soil becomes dry, but take care not to overwater it. It can be a fine line between overwatering and underwatering, and both can cause their own issues for the plant.

With that said, however, overwatering is typically regarded as a much more serious problem since it can result in root rot, which can quickly kill a healthy plant. Underwatering is also something you should avoid since it can put even more stress on an already vulnerable plant.

repotted philodendron on a rattan pot

When to repot philodendron

You should try to only repot a philodendron during spring and early summer. The plant will be actively growing during the warmer months, which means it can handle stress better and has a higher chance of avoiding transplant shock and bouncing back more easily.

If it is an emergency situation, such as root rot or other fungal diseases, you can transplant the philodendron at any time of the year. Keep in mind, however, that this can take a negative toll on the plant. 

Because of this, transplanting philodendron should only be done in spring or early summer unless it is an emergency.

How often should I repot my philodendron?

Philodendrons only need to be repotted about once every 2 to 3 years. This is usually how long it takes for the plant to become root bound and outgrow its pot. You’ll know it’s time to repot a philodendron when its roots start to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes.

If you’re not sure whether or not you should repot the philodendron, then the plant probably isn’t ready to be transplanted. Most gardeners will quickly recognize the signs that a plant has outgrown its pot, since the philodendron will visually show you by roots peeking out of the drainage holes or even out of the top of the soil’s surface.

Seeing roots is a big sign that you need to start repotting your philodendron pretty soon. That doesn’t mean it is an emergency and you have to rush to get the plant repotted. But you should start preparing for the process in the coming days.

a person repotting philodendron on a brown pot

Why would I need to repot my philodendron?

There are many reasons as to why you may need to repot your philodendron. For example, you can repot an overgrown philodendron, providing it with the right size growing container. You could even repot philodendron cuttings once they reach a certain size.

Other reasons include if the plant is root bound or if your philodendron’s soil doesn’t seem right based on signs you’ve noticed.

No matter what the reason you are repotting a philodendron, care must be taken to ensure the plant is kept as safe as possible during the transition. The truth is, transplanting a philodendron is a stressful experience for the plant. Even the healthiest plant can experience stress and see a decline in their health after being repotted.

That is why you should take repotting a philodendron lightly, and you shouldn’t do it haphazardly. Prepare yourself and your plant beforehand, and then take your time to ensure you don’t rush through it and accidently cause more harm to your philodendron.

Do philodendrons need to be repotted?

Philodendrons will need to be repotted when they outgrow their current pot. A good general rule of thumb is to repot the philodendron every 2 to 3 years, and use a container that is about 2 to 3 inches larger than the current growing container.

You shouldn’t, however, repot a philodendron just to repot it. Philodendron repotting stress is a serious issue that can take its toll on the plant for an extended period of time. Because of this, repotting should only be done when necessary and not as a part of the plant’s regular maintenance.

The philodendron will show you signs that it is outgrowing its pot and will need to be repotted. Roots growing out of the drainage holes or peeking out of the top of the soil are the most common signs that you will need to repot the philodendron.

tools and gloves for repotting philodendron

Do philodendrons like to be root bound?

Philodendrons can tolerate being root bound, but they don’t necessarily like it. When a plant is root bound, it cannot properly absorb the nutrients and moisture it needs to thrive. This can cause the philodendron to experience stunted or slowed growth.

If you want your philodendron to be the healthiest and happiest plant, you will repot it whenever it starts to become root bound. But how do you know when the plant is root bound?

FYI: The most common sign that a philodendron has become root bound is that you will see the plant’s roots growing out of the bottom of the pot. This means the plant has run out of room in the pot and the roots now have nowhere else to go but out of the pot.

Do philodendrons like large pots?

Philodendrons like large pots if they are a large plant. If, however, they are a smaller plant, they will require a smaller sized pot. A common misconception is that you can use any size pot for any size plant. This just isn’t the case.

Planting a small philodendron in a pot that is too large will prevent the plant from properly absorbing nutrients, which is what will happen if you try to grow a plant that is too large in a pot that is too small. Because of this, you should only use a pot that is about 2 to 3 inches larger than the plant’s root ball.

newly repotted philodendron on a white pot

What is the best pot for repotting philodendron?

The best pot for repotting philodendron is one that is about 2 to 3 inches larger than the current pot. You should also only use pots that have drainage holes at the bottom, while avoiding pots that have drainage holes along the sides. 

This is because, when the holes are at the sides, the water has to reach that height before it drains out, which means the bottom portion of soil and roots stay soggy.

The actual material the pot is made of doesn’t matter as much, since the philodendron growth rate is pretty solid in just about all materials. It will, however, affect how much watering you have to do.

For example, cement and clay pots are more porous, which means they absorb moisture. This will cause you to water the plant more often. Plastic pots don’t absorb moisture, so you won’t need to water the philodendron as much as if it was growing in cement or clay pots.

Do philodendrons transplant well?

Even though philodendrons can tolerate transplanting, this process can take a toll on any plant. Even the toughest, most hardy plants can experience problems when transplanting. Because of this, you should only transplant a philodendron when needed and not just because you have purchased a better looking pot.

With that said, however, if the philodendron is healthy and you transplant it during its active growing season, the plant should snap back rather quickly with no long-term effects. Keep in mind that even a healthy plant can show signs of stress after transplanting.

Signs of stress include yellowing leaves on your philodendron that wilt or drop off the plant and stunted growth. There isn’t much you can do about the stress after transplanting, except to keep providing the philodendron with the best care possible. Now is not the time for the plant to become infested with pests and diseases as this can quickly kill an already stressed plant.

a healthy repotted philodendron

Do philodendrons go into shock after repotting?

Like all other plants, philodendrons can go into shock after repotting. The amount of time the shock lasts varies depending on the age, size, and health of the plant. For example, seedlings can stay in shock for a few weeks, while mature plants could experience some level of shock for years.

The best thing you can do for a philodendron that is in shock is continue providing the ideal care for the plant. Some gardeners also recommend adding sugar around the plant’s root ball to help bring the plant out of shock. With that said, however, research is limited as to whether or not adding sugar really does help a shocked plant.

What isn’t up for debate though, is the act of keeping the soil moist without being soggy. This goes a long way to reducing the symptoms of shock and preventing the plant from experiencing even more stress caused by poor watering conditions.

Why has my philodendron stopped growing after repotting?

If your plant has stopped growing, it could be experiencing philodendron repotting stress. After a plant has been transplanted, it is not uncommon for it to show signs of stunted or slowed growth. You may also notice wilted and discolored leaves.

While these symptoms are alarming, they are a common occurrence after repotting a philodendron or, indeed, any plant. Keep providing the plant with its optimal care requirements and keep an eye on it. It should start growing and looking healthy again after a few weeks.

If, however, the plant is still not growing and it is during the plant’s active growing season, you may not be providing it with the right type of care. Double check that you are not overwatering or underwatering the plant, and that your philodendron is getting its light needs met through sufficient bright, indirect light.

Should I water my philodendron after repotting?

You should give your plant plenty of water after repotting. Once you have finished repotting your philodendron, water the plant deeply until the excess water runs out of the drainage holes. Continue monitoring the soil’s dryness and water when it starts to feel dry. While watering is important to help reduce philodendron repotting stress, you also want to make sure you’re not overwatering the plant. Overwatering can cause a slew of problems, including the deadly root rot.