How to pot a plant

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Whether you’re starting from scratch or re-housing a plant that’s outgrown its old home, potting a plant is surprisingly easy. No green thumb required! Here’s how:

Tools and materials

Fertiliser

Knife

Watering can

Spade/shovel

Plant of your choice

Pot of your choice

Potting mix

Seaweed concentrate

Gardening gloves

Dust mask

Overview of tools and materials needed to repot a plant

1. Get organised

Get all the gear you’ll need ready to go before you start. That means: potting mix, gloves, a mask (as potting mix can carry harmful bacteria and fungi) and the pot and plant of your choice. Make sure your pot has a hole in the bottom for drainage. If you’re not re-potting an existing plant and starting from scratch, head to Bunnings to figure out what you want to plant, and where you want it to go. Got precisely ZERO idea? Don’t stress – our garden experts know just about all there is to know about what goes where, and how to keep it alive. Don’t be too scared to ask for help – they love a chat!

Bunnings team member getting ready to pot a plant

2. Pour in a base layer of potting mix

It’s time to get your hands dirty! Grab your potting mix and pour it into the base of the pot you’re using. Put your mask and gloves on – it’s about to get messy!

Bunnings team member putting potting mix into a new plant pot

3. Remove the plant from the old pot

If the roots of your plant aren’t too tight, you’ll probably be able to lift it right out. If things are a bit snug (which might be why you’re re-potting it), simply put your hand over the top of the pot, hold the plant gently by its stem, turn it upside down and tap the bottom. Slowly pull the pot away from the plant and if you find the plant’s roots are still bound tightly, gently break them up. This helps your plant grow better when it’s in its new home.

4. Transfer your plant

Your plant is ready to move! Gently place it in the centre of your new pot and pack the potting mix around it. You want your plant to be firmly in place, so pat the mix around tightly and tuck it in nice and snug. It’s always best to use a good quality potting mix as it contains all the nutrients and elements your plant needs. Don’t scrimp on its comfort – plants know when you’re being cheap!

Pressing potting mix and plant gently into pot

5. Water and fertilise it

It’s time to give your little friend some love. Plants enjoy a good seaweed solution – it helps promote root growth and will help your plant cope with transplant shock. Add 30mls (that’s three capfuls) to nine litres of water in your watering can. Pour it over until you see water running out the bottom. You could also give it some fertiliser – just sprinkle according to the packet instructions.

Mixing some seasol solution with water in a watering can

6. Sit back and watch it thrive

It’s time to sit back and appreciate the little part you played in making the world a greener place. If you want your plants to continue to love you back, here are some other things you can do:

• Add a layer of mulch to beds and containers – it slows the water evaporation, reduces soil temperature and stops those weeds.

• Soak terracotta or porous containers in water before planting – dry pots will suck water away from your plants once they’re in.

• Give them a good, regular watering – soak the soil thoroughly when needed.

• Save your plant tags – that way you’ll know what’s gone in, where.

Palm plant, potted in its new pot

Watch more from the series

Watch the full episode and more D.I.Y. projects from Make It Yours Episode 4: Lounge Makeover by Rachel-Lee and Rachel Aust.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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