Plant care and repotting tips for brown thumbs

Now that you’ve “brought new life to your space with plants,” I thought you might like to know how to keep them alive and thriving in your space.

You may be asking yourself questions like:

  • How often should I repot or replant? 
  • What are the signs that a plant is ready to be repotted? 
  • How can I make sure what I buy coordinates with my decor?
  • Where should I go for the cutest pots? (Right?) 

Let’s take a look.

How often should I repot or replant? 

Generally, most plants benefit from repotting at about 12 to 18 months. This may vary depending on how rapidly they grow. 

Slow growing plants, like some succulents, may stay in the same pot for years. However, you may need to refresh the soil periodically to ensure the plant stays healthy.


What are the signs that a plant is ready to be repotted? 

The biggest sign that a plant is ready to be repotted is that it starts to look less vibrant than before. You may see specific signs the leaves, roots, and soil. 

The leaves are generally the first sign. If a plant doesn’t get enough water or nutrients (or too much) from the soil, the leaves might droop, drop, yellow, get burnt-looking ends. If the roots are balled up at the end or coming out the holes in the bottom of your plant liner, it’s probably time to repot the plant. If the soil is not draining well or is excessively dry, then it might not be the right pot for the plant… or it might be time to simply give that plant a little room to grow.  

Unfortunately, without the right planter and environmental conditions, your plant could die. So it’s a serious matter. To prevent reaching that point, you can consult your local garden center or check out an app like Planta: Keep your plants alive.


How can I make sure what I buy coordinates with my decor?

Okay, now we’re getting into my wheelhouse: design! The main thing to consider when choosing containers for plants are how they fits within the overall scheme of your home. Think of your color palette and the existing textures. 

Look at the plant’s proportion compared to the container. It should be about a 1:2 or 2:1 pot-to-plant height ratio. It’s okay to leave a little room to grow, but you want to give it that visual interest by segmenting things proportionally by thirds.

You’ll also want to think about overall balance. Does the end result create a sense of harmony? You have to use your instincts a bit — if something looks “off,” it’s probably the shape or balance of the plant compared to the planter. So, look at the height and width as well as colors and shapes. Strive for a harmonious presentation. 

Where should I go for the cutest pots? 

Planters and pots are fun to shop for, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too.  I like to look for planters made of natural, organic raw materials. Ceramics and earthenware pots are a good choice. You can find these at a variety of places. 

  • The Sill has some great earthenware options online with muted of-the-moment colors. 
  • Ikea also has some low-budget options that can be enhanced to look a bit more luxe. 
  • The Denver Botanic Gardens also offers a wide variety of lovely options (and you’re supporting the gardens, too). 
  • Your local garden store may have some nice options as well.

In fact, I’d suggest you start at your local nursery or garden center. I’m a huge fan of shopping local. The staff at a well-run nursery should be able to give you many tips on plant care, repotting, and some good options for where to snag the best planters around. Don’t be afraid to ask!