Succulents, as many believed, are some of the easiest plants to care for. They can thrive under many conditions, take a lot of neglect, and are very hardy plants. However, repotting succulents can sound intimidating, especially for beginners.
Below you will find our straightforward guide on repotting succulents successfully and some tips and tricks for a smooth repotting.
Why should you repot your succulents?
There are several reasons why repotting your succulent plant, and any plant in general, needs to happen from time to time. Here are some of them:
Your succulent plant is outgrowing its pot.
Succulents, just like any plant, need room to grow. So, when your beautiful succulent plant appears to be outgrowing its current pot, it’s time to transfer it to a slightly bigger pot.
You can quickly tell when the plant is outgrowing its current pot:
• You see its roots growing out of the drainage hole of the pot or planter
• It looks squished in its current pot
Your succulent plant dries quicker after watering.
If you notice your succulent plant seems to dry out quicker after watering it, and when you find yourself watering it more frequently, it may be a sign that you need to repot. Your pot may be cramped hence, not allowing water to flow around the plant freely.
When your plant does not absorb water, this is due to the pot being too small. This is another sign that tells you it’s time to repot. If your pot is too cramped, it can cause stress to your plant’s roots preventing them from absorbing water. Find a larger pot when this happens.
You bought a new succulent plant.
Succulents from local nurseries come pre-potted in small plastic (ugly) containers. Understandably, you’d want to transfer your plant to a pot that’s better-looking (aka one that follows the theme of your indoor garden, of course!). These small plastic pots also prevent the healthy growth of your plant. So, aesthetics aside, you need to repot a newly bought plant within a week (no more than two weeks) in a potting medium that will provide maximum nourishment to your plant.
Your succulent plant looks sick or unhealthy.
When you notice that their plump, fleshy leaves suddenly become soft, squishy, or yellowing, quickly inspect for possible plant pests and diseases like root rot. If there are no problems with their leaves, gently remove the plant from the pot and examine the roots. If there are dead or ill-looking roots, cut them away, then plant them in a new pot with fresh soil.
Your succulent plant has become top-heavy.
When your plant starts to lean or topple over, it’s the plant’s way of letting you know that the top has become top-heavy. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs a new pot. It may just need a heavier pot to keep it from falling over.
You see offsets or baby succulents.
Some succulents will grow offsets or pups (which is exciting!). When you see these pups (milestone unlocked), separate them from the mother plant and begin the propagation process.
How often should you repot?
Ideally, most plants should be repotted between 12-18 months. However, there are exceptions because all plants grow at different paces, and some may mature out of their current pots quicker than others. Some succulent plants could even spend several years in their current pot before it requires a bigger one.
Nevertheless, even if it’s not yet time to repot, it’s a good idea to change the old soil from time to time. New soil has a lot of critical nourishment that your succulent needs to thrive.
Rule of thumb: If the soil looks old, change it.
Early spring to early fall is the growing season for most indoor succulents, and this is the best time to repot your succulents. Energize them with the right amount of water and nutrient-rich soil to grow healthy.
Important things to remember: Repotting during the plant’s dormancy is a big NO. You risk disrupting their growing cycle if you repot during this period, and you could also harm your succulents.
Also, never repot a when a succulent is flowering. Repotting during this time may stop the blooming process, and the flower may fall off the plant. You wouldn’t want to miss the beautiful display of flowers, would you?
Preparing to repot
Before repotting, ensure your plant is hydrated to provide moisture, which is very important to successfully repot your plant. Before repotting, water your plant a day or two prior.
Obviously, you’d need a new pot. But keep in mind the following when choosing a new pot for your previous succulent:
• The pot must be bigger than the current pot and not more. Too much space in the pot can hinder your plant’s growth and invite diseases.
• Ensure drainage holes at the pot’s bottom for excess water to flow.
• Of course, the new pot should be trendy enough to elevate the look and feel of your indoor garden.
Next, you’d need new soil. New soil means new and fresh nutrients, which your plant needs to grow and thrive. Like people, our treasured plants also need nourishment to thrive.
A small shovel, aka trowel. Use a trowel carefully when removing your succulent plant from its current pot. For more miniature succulents, you can use metal tweezers to help you carefully plant them.
Coffee filters. Use coffee filters to cover the drainage hole instead of other more expensive materials used as a filter.
A step-by-step guide to successfully repot your succulents
The fun part begins. As mentioned above, part of the prep work is to ensure the soil’s moisture. If it’s a bit dry, you can spray a bit of water to keep it moist.
Step 1. Extract the plant from the old pot
We promise this is the most challenging and daunting part of the repotting process. To begin, turn the plant sideways, then carefully grab the plant at the base of the stem. Tap the bottom of the pot and shake it a little bit. If your plant is stubborn, give it light pulls until it loosens. You can also carefully poke through the drainage holes using sticks to loosen the soil more.
If you feel there is no safe way to remove the plant from its old pot, you might need to break it. Use a hammer and hit the pot to break it.
Step 2. Clean and dry the roots
After extracting your plant from its old pot, check the succulent roots for tangles and knots. Try to gently loosen them with your hands and remove as much soil as possible. You can also give them a little trim but do it cautiously and calmly. It’s okay if you accidentally tear or cut some of them in the process. Your succulent plant can take it.
If you choose to clean the roots using fresh water, let them dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Step 3. Plant in a new pot and potting mix
Fill the new succulent pot with two-thirds of the fresh potting mix. Place your succulent in the middle of the pot and add more soil to cover the roots. Ensure the leaves are above the soil to prevent rotting. Ensure enough water drainage in the new pot.
Here are some of our recommended succulent soil mixtures:
Step 4. Water your succulent
After repotting, you need to water your repotted succulent well by giving it more water than usual. With the new soil, water will first drain through the entire pot. Give it a good drench to allow it to absorb some of the water in its new environment.
Congratulations! You have repotted your precious succulent plant successfully.
Succulent repotting is not tricky. Do not be afraid to experiment and have fun choosing funky pots for your new plant. As long as you follow our step-by-step guide, you can transfer your healthy succulents to their new home with no problems. Good luck!