How to Know When to Repot Succulents

If you’re looking to repot succulents and think that it’s an uphill battle, fret not! It is easier than it looks, and, in this article, we will guide you through the process for a seamless repotting procedure. If you’re looking to plant your succulents in the ground instead, read this article.

repot succulents

Why Repot Succulents?

Newly Bought Succulent Plant

In this case, we are killing 2 birds with 1 stone. When you first buy a succulent, some might come in its own plastic container as packaging (which is only good when transporting succulents from one place to another).

However, in the long run this is detrimental to your succulent plant as it will impede its growth and provide poor water circulation.

Also, when you repot succulents for the first time after purchase you will be able to examine whether there are any parasites lurking about.

It is for this reason that most of our succulents undergo a 2-week quarantine procedure. By checking the roots of the succulent plant you will be able to exterminate whatever remnant parasites that remains.

The Succulent Plant Has Outgrown the Container

repotting overgrown succulents

It is a good sign whenever your succulent outgrows its container. This means it has been receiving the proper nutrients and lighting for optimum growth.

One sure-fire way of telling if your succulent is too big is by looking at its top. If it’s too heavy, it will start to tip over. Another confirmation is by looking at the roots. Additional roots will be seen sprouting out the sides or drainage hole.

This phenomenon is called “root ball”. Root balls are indicative of nutrient-depletion in soil, and if nothing is done to fix the situation the growth of the succulent will eventually stop.

Planned Soil Changing

Sometimes the act of repotting succulents does not mean that the pot (or whatever is housing the succulent) needs changing. It could also mean the soil has gone bad and needs switching out.

As a side note, you should always change the soil whenever you buy a new succulent. Many would just continue using the same soil that comes with the packaging, which is a big no-no in our books. The soil that comes with the packaging has most likely been watered too much.

How do I Know When to Repot My Succulents?

If there are no specific reasons for you to repot succulents (apart from those listed above), then the ideal time to do it is once every 2 years. This is purely a preventive step in order to assure that the succulent receives adequate nutrient daily. This also prevents root balls from forming.

Apart from restoring nutrients needed for a healthy succulent, repotting succulents also assures that the soil stays aerated and provides ample space for the roots to grow. As the soil is watered, dirt tends to sip through, and this compacts the soil in a way that it inhibits grow space for the plant. New soil will therefore provide ample air for the roots to absorb, which is vital for a healthy succulent.

How to Repot Succulents?

Before you start to repot succulents, make sure the soil is entirely dry so that it is easy to come off.

After making sure the soil is dry, simply follow the steps below:

repot succulent

Gather Materials for Repotting Succulents

Minimum requirements are:

  • A pot
  • New replacement soil

Do not use old soil as most would be devoid of the needed nutrients to last the full 2 years. A garden scissors is a good option to have here for separating the plants. For moving dirt around, and also rearranging the plants, a trowel will be needed.

Removing Succulent From the Pot

Of all the steps, this is the only tricky part.

Gently grasp the succulent at the base of the stem (tugging gently whenever possible). If that is hard, you can turn over the pot and shake it until the plant drops off (remember to have one hand underneath to catch it when it drops).

If all fails, the final solution will be to stick a knife or scissors inside the edges of the pot, hacking away the old dirt. That way the plant will drop for sure.

succulent repotting

Tidying the succulent

Remove all excess old dirt from the plant, either by simply knocking it off or by gently kneading the soil using your fingers to loosen the texture. Keep in mind not to damage any of the roots (a few is okay).

transplanting succulents indoors

If you are worried about potential parasites residing in the soil, you can soak the plant in a bucket of water and rinse it off.

Beware not to inundate your succulent fully in water, just a few moments would do. This method is also useful for resolving root ball issues. Succulent species like the Mexican Hens and Chicks grow babies sporadically (which come with messy network of roots), and this method also help you untangle these knots and keep it more neatly presented.

Planting the Succulent

Proceed to fill 1/3 of the pot with soil, or take the distance from the roots to the plant (imagine your succulent sitting above the surface).

Then, hold the succulents securely on top of the soil.

Now you can proceed to fill the remainder of the empty pot space with soil, all the while holding the plant upright. Do not compact the soil when you do this (remember we want to achieve optimal aeration here for the roots).

This becomes especially tricky if you have more than 1 plant. Here is a good trick to complete this final step for those with more than 1 plant:

  1. Stick a chopstick into the pot when the pot is 1/3 filled up.
  2. Determine the height your succulent should be and tie it up against the chopstick.
  3. Proceed to fill the soil, while holding the top of the chopstick (which is tied to the top of the succulent)
  4. Finally untie the chopstick when all is done!

Make sure the roots are buried well, for maximum nutrient absorption. If you need additional lighting, you can take a look at some LED grow light strips.

Continue reading to find out when to water succulents after repotting.

Do You Water Succulents After Repotting?

After you have successfully repotted your succulents, for that first irrigation that you think is paramount, you will need a little bit of patience. It is ideal to let the plant acclimate to its new state and the roots are nourished from the soil for another week before watering.

How Often Should Succulents be Repotted?

After one to five years, the pot in which you have planted your succulents will most likely be completely covered with roots. For the succulent to continue to grow and thrive, it must move to a new pot.

How often to repot succulents depends on the species in question. If you are not sure whether there is still room for the roots or if your succulent species grows fast or slowly, you can simply repot them every two to three years as a rule of thumb.

When is a Good Time to Replant Succulents?

The perfect season for replanting succulents is between the end of winter and beginning of spring. Under no circumstances should you repot succulents in the summer – the plants grow fastest at this time of year and you could potentially disrupt this process by repotting.

When is the Best Time to Transplant a Cactus?

In the case of cacti, the best time to transplant a cactus is at the end of the dormant period between March and May (never in winter). If you want to repot your cactus, you should stop watering it as it is easier to remove from dry soil.

Why did My Plant Die after Repotting?

Whether you are repotting an existing succulent or propagating a new cutting, succulent roots and calloused leaves cannot sustain in moist conditions just yet. When newly repotted, the roots will not be actively absorbing water and will effectively rot if the new environment is wet.

Sunlight and air are important components to induce root. Choose a bright, covered space without direct sunlight for your repotted succulent. Roots planted in the soil need time to repair any damage from repotting. After seven days, water your succulent sparingly to induce water absorption by the roots.

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