Updated July 2023.
We usually get asked about how and when to repot succulents. While it may sound intimidating and difficult, repotting succulent does not take much effort to be done properly. Follow this article to find out the important things you need to know about repotting.
Repotting succulents is not as hard as you think
When to Repot & Why
There are various reasons why it's necessary to repot your succulents. But no matter what the reason is, it’s always best to do it right before their growing season, which usually happens in early spring or early fall to most succulents. This way, the succulents will have enough time to recover from the repotting.
It’s always best to repot your succulents right before their growing season.
Signs to help you determine the right time when to repot:
- Newly purchased succulents: Newly bought succulents usually come in small, plastic containers, which can hinder their growth. So after bringing home your new baby, it's highly recommended to transfer them to a different planter within 2 weeks (preferably one that will help with moisture and has proper drainage, like a terracotta pot).
- The succulent starts to outgrow its pot: When this happens, you'll usually see that the roots begin to stick out of the pot holes as the space is getting too tight, preventing them from growing to their full potential.
- The soil dries out too quickly after watering: Requiring you to water the plant more often or if you see that the water doesn't soak through the drainage hole of the pot, risking your succulent to develop root rot.
- The plant starts to look sick or unhealthy: Despite proper light exposure and watering is given to succulents, their once plump and lush leaves may suddenly become soft, shriveling, or yellowing. When this happens, quickly inspect your succulents for possible pest infestation, root rot, and other diseases. If you see no signs of problems on their leaves, remove the plant from the pot and check the roots. Make sure to cut away those that are already dead or don't look healthy, then put them in a clean pot with fresh soil.
- The succulent begins to lean or topples over: Once you see this sign to one of your succulents, it doesn't really mean that it needs to be transferred to a bigger pot. It is usually their way of telling you that although its roots are still happy with the current pot, the top of your succulent has become heavy, requiring you to repot it to a heavier pot to keep it from falling over.
- Have grown offsets or babies: Several succulents will grow offsets, or what we usually call pups. Once your succulents have produced a few pups, it's the perfect time to repot and separate them from the mother plant, then start propagating.
[During Dormancy]Should we repot succulents during dormancy?
The answer is no. Dormancy is the period when plant is alive but is not actively growing. Risking repotting them might disrupt their growing cycle and could do some harm to your succulents. Most succulents are either summer- or winter- dormant, hence make string and fall the perfect time for a little repotting. Repotting summer-dormant succulents in the fall and winter-dormant ones in the spring with give them time to get used to the new pot and soil before growth season.
Do not repot your succulent during dormancy.
On average, you should repot your succulents every two years to make sure the soil is fresh and fertile and there is enough space for the plant to grow. Timing is also an important factor you should care about. We would recommend repotting in growth season (usually spring or summer) so that the damage to the plant will be kept to minimum and the plant has more survival chance.
So, the next step would be to prepare the succulent that needs to be repotted and all the materials you'll need.
- Watering: Moisture plays an important role to successfully repot succulents, so make sure to keep it hydrated by watering thoroughly a day or 2 before repotting.
- Prepare the new pot: A clay pot or any pot or container of your choice will do as long as it's at least 10% taller and wider than your plant and should have a good drainage hole at the bottom (you can drill one yourself if it doesn't).
- A good soil mix: Make sure it's porous enough and well-drained to prevent your succulents from sitting in the wet for too long. You can also try blending your own soil mix.
- A trowel or small shovel: Use it to remove the succulent from its current pot. For repotting smaller succulents or propagating buds and seeds, you can use metal tweezers instead to allow you to plant them effectively and carefully.
- Coffee Filters: Using this is a great and cheap way to cover the drainage hole compared to other materials used as a filter.
Step 1: Remove the plant from the old pot
Start by turning the plant sideways and grabbing the plant at the base of the stem. Tap the bottom of the container, then shake it a little bit. You may also use either a stick or your hands to help loosen the soil, then give the stem a gentle pull to help remove the plant from its old pot. If you are still unable to remove the succulent, you may also poke through the drainage holes using chopsticks to loosen the soil more.
Loosen the soil to remove the succulent out of the old pot.
You may choose to break the old pot instead by carefully hammering it. Although you'd be sacrificing it, this would allow you to remove the plant from its old pot without hurting its root system.
Step 2: Clean and dry the root system
After getting the succulents out of the old pot, the next thing you should do is to remove as much soil as you can off the roots by simply brushing them away or giving the roots a gentle tap or tickle. If you choose to clean the roots with water, make sure to let them dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight for about 3 to 5 days. Additionally, you may trim the roots of your succulents in case they have become too long.
Step 3: Put the plant in a new pot
Before you plant your succulent, fill at least two-thirds of the new pot with soil mix. Once done, gently place the succulent in the center and cover the roots completely by adding more soil. Make sure the leaves of the succulent sit completely above the soil, to prevent rotting.
You can also watch this video to see some of the tips in action:
[Repot Cactus]How to repot cactus
The same steps above apply if you are to repot a cactus. Just make sure to use a kitchen tong or wear gloves, like a gardening gloves, work gloves, or leather gloves, before you proceed with the steps below to avoid getting pricked with the thorns.
[Repot Succulent Arrangements]How to repot succulent arrangements
Repotting succulent arrangements, on the other hand, is quite difficult. But to make it easier, carefully remove each plant from the old pot so you wouldn't break any of its roots. Do this by making cuts through roots and soil, then removing any of the old dirt off as much as you can from the roots. Once you are done, closely inspect the roots of your succulents before placing them in their new pot. In case you see that the roots of 1 or 2 plants are damaged, make sure to leave them out of the pot for about 2 to 3 days or until they callous over.
Repotting succulent arrangements is quite difficult.
[After Repotting]Care Tips After Repotting Succulents
After your succulents were successfully repotted, it is ideal to let them acclimate to the new state and their roots are nourished from the soil. Below are some tips to take care of your newly repotted succulents.
- Wait a few days before watering your newly planted succulents, only when the plants begin to grow again and the first buds appear should you start watering them.
- Water the succulent sparingly after repotting to avoid overwatering and root rot. Then, wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering again.
- You should put the repotted plants in a warm, shaded, humid place for a few days, away from direct sunlight. Once they have been established, then you can now place them under bright light.
- Provide the succulent with adequate sunlight based on its specific light requirements.
- Avoid fertilizing the succulent immediately after repotting.
- Resume regular fertilization after a few weeks when the plant has had time to adjust.
Caution & Warning
- It is important to remember that you should never repot your succulent if it starts to flower. Repotting may stop the blooming process, and the flower may fall off the succulent.
- Do not overwater: During the repotting process, be careful not to soak the plant in water for too long or water it right after you put it in a new pot. Your succulent will get root rot if it gets too much water in the process.
- Aways keep an eye on the succulent for signs of stress or overwatering, such as yellowing leaves or mushy stems.
While repotting succulents is not hard, it is crucial that you should follow the instruction carefully. However, succulent is a resilient plant, so if you just want to switch from your current pot to other cute pots, do not be afraid to experiment and have fun with the plant. Good luck!
Watch the video below (and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos) to see How and when to repot root-bound succulents!
See more about How to Repot Succulents Arrangement
If you found this article interesting, share it with your succulent loving friends!
And get a free plant when your friends make an order. Sign up here!
Find out more other Types of Succulents Care Guide.