Question: How do you repot herbs? My herb plants have overgrown their containers. -Heather R.
Answer: You’ll know that your herbs have outgrown their pots and must be transplanted to larger containers if their growth stops or slows down, if they start becoming wilted or have crunchy brown foliage even when plenty of water is provided, or if their roots snake through the container’s drainage holes or are visible on the soil’s surface. All herb plants will eventually outgrow their containers as they mature and will need to be transplanted into larger pots.
Make sure that the containers you’ll use to grow herb plants (or any plant variety) have drainage holes in the bottom, or the soil will stay too wet and plants can fall victim to root rot, mildew, and fungal disease. Herb plants tend to prefer drier soil than other plant varieties, and soil that drains well is particularly important to herbs, so it’s especially vital to make sure herb plants are placed in containers that have drainage holes.
Fill the new container about halfway with a potting soil especially designed for herbs, a premium indoor/outdoor potting soil, or a soil blend you’ve made specifically for your herb plants. An ideal potting soil blend for herbs or a premium indoor/outd that you can mix up yourself contains two parts sterile potting soil, one part perlite, and one part compost. The compost will offer nutrition to the plants and help keep soil moist, while the perlite loosens soil and aids in providing plenty of drainage for your plants. You should never grow herb plants in dirt from your outdoor garden, and it’s best not to use potting soils that are meant for vegetables or flowers instead of herbs, as those plants have different soil preferences and needs than herb plants do. Firm the soil down a bit with your hands to make sure it’s settled before you add your plants, and moisten the soil so it’s lightly wet all the way through.
Either dig up your plant (if it’s planted directly into a garden bed) or carefully remove it from its current container. Use your fingers to loosen the root ball, shaking off excess dirt, and then make three or four cuts about a third of the way up the root ball’s sides. If the roots have become entangled or grown together so densely you can’t loosen them easily, it’s fine to cut some of these areas away.
Place your plant into its new container, with it buried to about the same depth as it was before. Using your potting soil, fill in the empty spaces around the edges of the container. Firm the soil with your hands again, pressing it down especially well around the root ball. Water your plant immediately after repotting, then move it to the spot you’ve picked out where it will grow.