Nothing beats a succulent arrangement! With thick, fleshy, vibrant leaves, chunky stems, and wonderful foliage forms, succulents are stunning houseplants on their own. They look even more eye-catching when they are combined in an aesthetic way. Succulents have interesting variations in shape, size, color, and texture which allow endless options for plant arrangements. The attractive subtle beauty that they create adds life and shines up any home and office. The best thing about a succulent arrangement is that it is very low-maintenance and looks wonderful without much care. Succulents do not wither in a week or two like flowers. They are slow-growing evergreens that remain in their shapes for a long time.
However, no matter how slow your succulents grow, there will be one day you need to repot your succulent arrangement. Repotting an arrangement is not an easy task, but you can do it with enough preparation, patience, and the right techniques. In this blog, we will share with you the most helpful tips for a successful repotting, so your plants can keep thriving and you can enjoy their beauty for much longer.
Repotting a succulent arrangement: When and Why
As with any succulent, repotting should ideally be done right before or during the growing season (which is spring-summer for most succulents). This way, the succulents will have enough time to recover from transplant shock and possible damage to the rooting systems.
There are various reasons why it's necessary to repot your succulents:
- Your arrangement becomes out of shape: Your arrangement usually has a certain design and after a long time your plants may have grown out of that design. You can see that your arrangement doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing as before, and you need to modify or tidy it up.
- Your succulents start to outgrow the pot. When this happens, you'll usually see that the roots begin to stick out of the potholes, and the spaces between your plants are getting too tight. Other signs the roots have outgrown the pot include: the soil dries out too quickly after watering; and your succulents cannot absorb water.
- Your succulents become leggy and look unhealthy: This is a sign that your plants have depleted the soil and they need more nutrients. It is about time to change the soil and give your plants more space to grow.
- You want to change your arrangement design: As a succulent arrangement is a piece of art and a living decoration element, sometimes you may want to change it to freshen up your décor.
Repotting should ideally be done right before or during the growing season.
Prepare for repotting
There are several items you need to prepare for a successful repotting:
- A new arrangement container: The size of the pot depends on the reason why you repot your succulents. If your plants have outgrown the old pot, you need to choose a bigger one. The new container should be big enough to avoid frequent repotting, but it should also fit your design. The basic rule is that the new pot should be at least 1 size bigger (or 10% bigger) than the old pot. For a succulent arrangement, you also need to leave more space between each plant, so plan carefully and choose a pot with a wider opening. No matter what type of container you choose, make sure it has drainage holes and is preferably made from a porous material like concrete, terracotta, or ceramic.
- High-quality, well-draining potting medium: The most important thing for succulents is good drainage. You can choose a commercial potting mix made for succulents and cacti, or mix your own soil by adding coarse sand, perlite, volcanic rock, and fine gravel to houseplant potting soil. If you prefer a soilless mixture, you can use perlite, fine gravel, and coconut coir for good aeration and drainage.
- An arrangement design: If you want to change your arrangement design, have a new one ready and plan carefully. You may need to measure the size of your arrangement and the spaces between each succulent. A drawing on paper making for the size of the new pot would be really helpful.
- A trowel or small shovel, a mister, and a tray to place your succulents. Make sure you have all the necessary tools ready before removing your succulents from the old pot.
How to repot a succulent arrangement
Step 1: Water plants before repotting
It is very important that you water your succulents 1 to 2 days before repotting. It is not recommended to water right after repotting, so your plants need to soak up all the water they need before that. Watering also makes the soil softer and easier to remove the roots.
Step 2: Remove plants from the old pot
Removing your succulents from the old pot may be a challenging task, especially if the roots have outgrown the pot and tangled into root balls. Start by turning the plant sideways, shaking it slightly, and pulling it up gently. Try not to break the roots, but if removing the roots is too difficult, you may need to make cuts through roots and soil to remove each plant. Remove all succulents and place them on a tray. Handle them with care so you do not break off their stems or leaves. If you decide to sacrifice the old pot foreasy plant removal, you can cut or carefully hammer it.
Step 3: Inspect the roots and tidy your succulents
Before planting, you need to inspect the roots for signs of root rot, loosen knotted rot and trim off dead roots. You should also remove the old soil on the roots and give them a rinse if necessary. Do not worry if you must cut off root balls and damaged parts. Succulents are resilient and can grow back with the right care. However, if there are signs of root rot, you may need to leave those succulents to callous over for a few days before repotting.
If your plants become leggy or grow out of shape, you may need to give them a good prune. You can also remove offsets and set them aside for propagation.
Step 4: Plant each succulent according to your design
After you have filled your new container with fresh soil, it’s time to plant your succulents into a new arrangement. If you do not change the container, don’t forget to wash it before replacing the soil. You may want to mist the soil to make it slightly moistened if the roots are intact. Broken or damaged roots are better off with dry soil. Follow your design carefully, and plant one succulent at a time, leaving an inch or two between each plant.
Care for your succulent arrangement after repotting
- Wait at least 1 week before watering so the roots have time to adjust to the new soil. At first, you can use a mister to moisten it slightly. After 1-2 months, you can start to water thoroughly and let the soil dry completely after each watering.
- Do not fertilize for the first few months to avoid burning the roots
- Give your succulents plenty of bright indirect light but keep them away from direct sunlight. Rotate your arrangement regularly so all plants have enough light.
- Keep your succulents in an airy spot with a stable temperature between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of around 40%, away from cold drafts and heating sources.