A Helpful Guide to Splitting Plants

Healthy plants require proper air circulation in the root system and enough room to grow and expand in its place. When you have a houseplant, it’s easy to let it grow in its current pot undisturbed, but it will come a time when you’ll need to split the plant to ensure it remains as healthy as possible. We’ll share the method that works best for our plants using just a few simple steps.

split plants two pots


  • Another Pot/Planter or two new pots
  • Potting Soil
  • Top Soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Hand Shovel
  • Gloves (optional)

When to Split Your Plant

It’s important to note that the type of plant you have and the zone in which you live will determine the timing that you will split your plant. Be sure to research your specific plant species before moving on to the next step. However, most plants are able to be divided every 3-5 years.

Step 1 – Choose Your New Pot or Planter

You’ll need two pots, one for each root ball after you split them into two. So you can reuse the same pot and buy a new one or buy two new matching pots, it’s up to you. However, I would recommend using pots that are one to two inches larger than the existing one to ensure the plants have room to grow. You’ll also want to select pots that have a drainage hole on the bottom.


plant pot

Step 2 – Dig Up and Split the Plant’s Root Ball

Using a hand shovel, carefully dig up the root ball of your plant. If the plant and its roots are not moving out easily, you may have to give it some water to loosen the dense soil a bit. We also used a shovel to go around the perimeter of the pot, being careful not to go too far into the soil and roots. Once it’s loose from the original pot, you will separate the root ball in half using your hands or the shovel. Note: it may require more effort than you may initially expect. Then shake the loose dirt from each of the newly separated root balls.

split plant in soil


Step 3 – Half Fill Pots with Soil

You will fill both empty pots at 1/2 to 1/3 full using the soil that best suits your plant. We used a combination of potting and top soil for our plant, which seems to work well. Also depending on your plant, you may consider also sprinkling fertilizer in at this point or added minerals like perlite or pumice, to prevent overwatering. Also, if you are dealing with a larger plant with a lot of soil, you could add a little water through this process, to make sure you have full coverage at the end. However if you go this route, you want to be sure you do not to overwater of course!

pot with soil


Step 4 – Add Split Plants to Pots and Fill Up Pots with Soil

Now your split plants will be relocated to their new homes. Take one root ball and carefully place it into the center of one of the new pots. You will have to hold the plant in place (or have an extra pair of hands help you do this) while adding more soil until you reach the top of the new pot. Repeat this step with the other root ball.

split plant add dirt

Step 5 – Water the Plant

After you have packed in the remaining soil in both pots, you’ll want to give your plants a decent (but not too much) amount of watering.

And that’s it! With a few steps, you’ll be done and your newly split plants will have the space and nutrients they will need to survive in their new environment.

split plants

If you are interested in more gardening ideas, check out how we made our own DIY garden bed.

Hammer & Handsaw

Hammer & Handsaw

Hey, we’re Joshua and Dejené. We’ve completed several entire home renovations and decided to share what we’ve learned in the process. Here you’ll find our favorite DIY projects, helpful resources and home renovation stories.

Hammer and Handsaw features affiliate links throughout this website. If you make a purchase from one of the links, we may make a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. View our full privacy policy here and thank you for your support!

renovation planner intro

Plan Your Next Home Renovation Like a Pro


Our Home Renovation Planner is a complete collection of the most common useful planning and renovation management tools that you NEED for your next home project.

Vetted and written by a general contractor, this planner will become a staple for newbie DIYers, homeowners and professionals alike.


Get Freebies by Joining Our Newsletter

Enter your email to gain access to free woodworking plans, free home renovation tools, DIY tips and much more! By the way, we won’t sell your information.

* indicates required