How to Replace Potting Soil? Garden Tips 2024

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While potted plants don’t need too much care, they do need to be repotted periodically. Learn more about replacing potting soil and why it’s more important.

How to replace potting soil? Try to replace your potting soil about every two years. To do this, gently remove the plant from its current container. Then, add fresh potting soil, return the plant, and add a thin layer over the roots.

What is potting soil?

The purpose of potting soil is to create a welcoming texture for your plants. This includes materials that are light and airy to promote root growth and water drainage.

Potting soil doesn’t normally contain any dirt. Instead, it is a mix of coconut coir, peat moss, and perlite. As for nutrients, it will normally have a mixture of all-purpose fertilizers in it, but this will depend on the type of potting soil you purchase.

Should potted plants have the soil changed?

Yes, potted plants should have their soil changed. Generally, you should change potting soil every two to three years.

With potted plants, you would normally move them to a larger container in this timeframe. However, if your plant grows very slowly, you will still want to change the soil but can keep it in its original container.

How often should potting soil be replaced?

Potting soil will compact over time. It will also lose its nutrients as the plant uses them.

Therefore, you should replace your potting soil every one to three years. There are a few signs to look for if you are worried about your current soil.

First, how fast is your plant growing? If growth slows down a lot, it could mean there are not enough nutrients in the soil.

You can also pay attention to what happens when you water your plant. If the water stays on the surface and takes a long while to drain through the container, it means the potting soil is too compacted. As a result, the soil will retain too much water and make the roots waterlogged.

Finally, most houseplants should be repotted every two years. When you do this, it’s a good opportunity to also replace the potting soil.

How to replace the soil in potted plants

Decide on type

There are many types of potting soil so be sure to select the right one for your plants. You can find potting soil specific to tropical plants, vegetables, and house plants.

You should also consider if you need your potting soil to have fertilizer in it. Unless you want to add your own fertilizer to your container, it’s best to find potting soil that has a good mixture of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. You can also add a simple mix of vermiculite, which is condensed minerals that will distribute themselves after water is added to the mix.

Decide on container

While replacing potting soil isn’t a difficult task, it does take a bit of time and can get a little messy. If you decide to replace the soil, it’s best to consider if your plant needs a larger container or not. Furthermore, you should replace the potting soil in as many plants at one time as opened bags of potting soil will expire.

If your plant is showing signs that it needs a new container, such as the roots pushing up through the soil or stunted growth, then use a container that has a diameter that is at least one inch larger than the original container.

Remove plant root

This is the hardest and dirtiest part of replacing potting soil, so a little preparation is key. Either complete this step outside or place an old towel on a kitchen table to make clean-up easier.

Gently remove your plant from its container by holding it close to the roots. You may need a shovel if the plant doesn’t come out easily.

Add potting soil

If you are using the same container, remove any excess soil by pouring it into a bucket for disposal. Then, whether you are using the same container or a new one, pour fresh potting soil into it at a level where the top of the root structure is about an inch lower than the top of the container.

Place your plant back into the container and then add new potting soil into the container with your hand. Gently but firmly tap the potting soil around the root structure and add a layer of soil around the stem so that the container is filled almost to the top but has some room for when you add water.

Should you remove old soil when repotting?

Potting soil will only last for a few years so you should remove any old soil when repotting. This is because your plant will take up all of its nutrients in this time period and the light materials will become compact with time.

Old potting soil is pretty useless, so it’s best to simply place it in your yard waste bin. However, if you suspect the soil has any bacteria or fungus living in it, that soil should be placed in the garbage so that it doesn’t spread to any other plants.

Can I reuse the same potting soil?

It’s best if you use brand-new potting soil. The main benefit of using potting soil is its texture.

Over time, the lightness of potting soil disappears as the fibers within it break down. As a result, you will need new potting soil that has complete materials to ensure the soil doesn’t become so thick that the water doesn’t drain properly.

Furthermore, be aware that opened potting soil will expire. An open bag will no longer be sterile which means bacteria can make their way in. Use potting soil within a few months of opening a fresh bag for the best results for your plant.


Potting soil should be replaced about every two years. This will keep the texture of the soil nice and light and will ensure there are enough nutrients to sustain your plants.

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