How to Successfully Repot a Root Bound Peace Lily: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have a peace lily (Spathiphyllum) that is showing signs of being root bound, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to repot it into a larger pot. Neglecting this important step can hinder the plant’s growth and overall health.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of repotting a root-bound peace lily, ensuring that you don’t miss any crucial steps. By following these instructions, you can help your peace lily thrive and continue to beautify your space.

Signs that Your Peace Lily Needs Repotting

Before diving into the repotting process, it’s essential to identify whether your peace lily requires a larger pot. Here are a few signs that indicate your plant may be root bound:

  1. Abundance of hard, matted roots: If you notice an excessive amount of roots tightly packed on the surface of the soil, it’s a clear indication that your peace lily has outgrown its current pot.
  2. Roots growing out of drainage holes: When roots start protruding through the drainage holes of the pot, it’s a sign that the plant has used up all available space.
  3. Faster soil drying: If you find that the soil in your peace lily’s pot is drying out much quicker than before, and you struggle to keep up with watering, it may be due to the limited room for water retention caused by the root-bound condition.

Step 1: Removing the Plant from the Pot and Loosening the Root Ball

To begin the repotting process, you need to carefully remove the peace lily from its current pot and loosen the root ball. Follow these steps:

  1. Removing the plant from the pot: If your peace lily is in a plastic nursery pot, gently squeeze the sides of the pot while holding the plant’s base, and carefully slide it out. If the plant is in a rigid container, use a knife to run along the inside perimeter of the pot to loosen the plant before pulling it out.
  2. Loosening the root ball: Once the plant is out of the pot, focus on loosening the root ball. Start by gently separating the roots at the bottom and then work your way up the sides. Tease the roots apart, ensuring they are not tightly packed. This step is crucial for stimulating new root and plant growth once the peace lily is repotted.

Pro tip: If your peace lily’s root ball is particularly tight and fibrous, using your hands may not be enough. In such cases, use a sharp knife to make vertical slashes or cuts (1-2 inches long) on the sides and bottom of the root ball. This will provide an opportunity for new roots to grow.

Step 2: Choosing a New Pot

Selecting the right pot size is crucial for the healthy growth of your peace lily. Follow these guidelines when choosing a new pot:

  1. Size up from the old pot: As a general rule, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current pot. For example, if your peace lily is in a 4-inch diameter pot, opt for a 6-inch diameter pot for the repotting process. This size increase allows the roots to have ample space to spread out and grow.
  2. Consider drainage: Always select a pot with a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. If you prefer decorative pots without drainage holes, plant the peace lily in a plain green nursery pot first and then place it inside the decorative pot.

Step 3: Potting the Peace Lily with a Well-Drained Mix

The final step involves potting up your peace lily using a well-drained potting mix. Follow these recommendations:

  1. Choosing the right potting mix: Select a well-drained potting mix that retains moisture, as peace lilies are moisture-loving plants. A suitable option is a mix of 3 parts high-quality potting soil (such as Miracle-Gro or Espoma) and 1 part perlite. This combination provides good drainage while retaining the necessary moisture levels for the plant’s health.
  2. Alternative soil blend: If you prefer a ready-to-use mix, consider the Rainforest Soil Blend from Oh Happy Plants. This blend is designed specifically for tropical plants like peace lilies and ensures optimal growth. You can find it here.

Additional Tips for Successful Repotting

To ensure a successful repotting process for your peace lily, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Water the plant before repotting: It’s easier to work with a well-hydrated peace lily. Water the plant a few hours or even a day before repotting to make the root ball more pliable and easier to handle.
  2. Avoid overwatering: After repotting, be cautious not to overwater your peace lily. Give it the appropriate amount of water based on its needs, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  3. Provide proper lighting: Peace lilies thrive in bright, indirect light. Place your repotted peace lily in a location where it receives adequate light without direct exposure to intense sunlight.
  4. Monitor for signs of stress: Keep an eye on your peace lily after repotting. It may go through a short period of adjustment, during which it might show signs of stress like wilting or yellowing leaves. However, with proper care, the plant should recover and continue to grow.


Repotting a root-bound peace lily is a simple yet essential task to ensure the plant’s continued health and growth. By recognizing the signs of a root-bound plant, following the step-by-step guide, and providing the right conditions post-repotting, you can help your peace lily thrive in its new pot.

Remember to loosen the root ball, choose an appropriate pot size, and use a well-drained potting mix. With these steps and tips in mind, you can confidently repot your peace lily and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

Note: For more detailed information on peace lily care and troubleshooting, check out our articles on peace lily care and fixing a drooping peace lily.

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