According to the ever-reliable, houseplants need to be repotted occasionally.

‘Repotting is an important part of keeping healthy houseplants.

Here are signs you need to repot:

Roots protruding from the bottom of the pot
The plant stops growing or becomes limp
The plant is root bound’

I recently repotted a crowded cactus. It is a Christmas cactus that blooms from Thanksgiving through Valentines Day. But alas, as its pink blossoms had faded and fallen, I had forgotten to tend to it as much as when the holiday spirit flowed through the house. I realized it was collecting dust and losing growth space, while being ignored by me. So, on a sunny, mildly winter day, I took it outside and gave it some TLC.

First, I realized that it’s moderately-sized outside pot, was not actually what it was living in. The outside pot was a plastic ‘gilded’ pot, to show off holiday splendor. The actual living space was several sizes smaller, fitted into the outer display pot. Ooops. I felt a bit contrite when I saw what little growth space was actually available. I had taken advantage of the vivid flowing blooms, without tending to its needs. Cue mother guilt. Fortunately, I had an exponentially bigger pot planned for its move…and fresh soil. Mother guilt denied.

The repotting process was fairly quick and easy. Prepare the fresh soil in the new pot. Hollow out a space for the plant in the soil. Dump out the (dry, dusty, crumbly) plant. Loosen the roots and set it into the new home. Settle the dirt around the plant, water, and set in the sun. Simple and penitent.

But as I looked at the three pots lined up, the old one, the clever disguise of the middle one, and the spacious new one, I realized that I have gone through the same stages. Just look at those warning signs from the trusty website…outgrowing, ceasing to grow, waiting to grow. How much more like life stages can you get?


Difficult, discomfited times are the times when we have outgrown our current stage. We’re sticking our desirous roots out, begging for new space and place. Dull plateaus in life are times when we need to be taken out of our old, dusty arrangement and put in a new one for we are ceasing to grow and sprout. Times of impatience and anticipation are those when our roots are all balled up, looking for someplace to grow.

Sometimes we can replant ourselves. We can recklessly abandon the places that keep us  cramped and stuck for newer, fertiler surroundings. But other times, we must wait to be replanted. We have to wait for God to prepare our new home or for others to realize our needs are not being met. Either way, our new ‘digs’ will be worth the wait and the growth that will subsequently occur there will be deeper than we can imagine. (Psalm 66…the whole thing is good!)

Psalm 66:20

Blessed be God, for he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me. 


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