How to Repot Succulents Safely & Easily

Published January 27, 2021
Repot Succulents Safely

How to repot succulents, how to plant succulent plants, when to repot succulents, and how to care for succulents are all easy things to learn. Once you understand the process of repotting succulents, you can accomplish all three things seamlessly and like an expert gardener.

How to Repot Succulents Step by Step

This basic process will teach you how to repot succulents using appropriate materials and processes.

Supplies to Repot Succulents

Checklist of supplies and tools:

  • Flowerpot/container
  • Small garden tools
  • Succulent potting soil mix
  • Water

Step One: Prepare the New Pot

Prepare the new pot by filling it with the succulent potting soil mix. Depending on the pot size and number of succulent plants you're repotting, you may fill the pot to 1"-3" from the rim. The ideal of the newly potted plant soil level is around 1" from the top or container rim.

transplanting succulent into new pot

Step Two: Remove Plants From Pot

Depending on the size of the pot, the number and size of the succulent plants and condition of the root system, you may need to use one of your garden tools to pry it out of the pot. For smaller pots and plants, you should invert the pot upside down with your hand underneath to catch the plant and root/soil. Be gentle so you damage the plants.

Man repotting green plant

Step Three: Clean Soil From Root System

The goal is to clean the root system and free as much as you can from the old soil. This may be as simple as tapping it with your finger. If the plant is rootbound, it may be wise to trim back some of the root system. The plant will easily recover, and having the roots freed from the old dirt allows the roots to access new soil nutrients.

transplanting succulent into new pot

Step Four: Plant Succulents in New Pot

You can place the succulents into the new pot, making sure the roots are mostly in the center of the pot so they have room to stretch out in all directions. You want to cover any exposed roots and bring the soil line underneath the succulents, so they are sitting on top of the soil, not buried under it.

Florist Man Seedling Plants

Step Five: Allow Succulents to Rest and Adjust

You don't want to water the succulents just yet. The plants are in shock, especially the root systems, and they need time to adjust to their new environment. After about 3-4 days, you can water your succulents like normal.

watering succulent plants

When to Repot Succulents

There are a few telltale signs that can clue you in to the timeliness of repotting your succulents.

Repot When They Outgrow Their Container

The first sign that you need to repot succulents is when the plants appear to be outgrowing their pot or container. The roots are trying to push through the drainage holes and the plants are clinging to the edge of the pot, appearing to escape the cramped confines.

Always Repot Newly Purchased Succulents

Another time when you need to repot succulents is when you bring them home or they are delivered to your door. You shouldn't put off this task. The sooner you free that succulent from its crowded container, the happier both of you will be.

Repot Approximately Every Two Years

The rule of thumb for repotting succulents is to repot every two years. This ensures the succulent root system is protected and given new space to grow and absorb vital nutrients and water. You provide the plants new fresh soil that is rich in nutrients to help them grow even healthier and stronger.

Repot During Growing Season

When you plan to repot older succulents, you should plan the project during the growing season. This is typically spring and summer. Since the plants are in a growing mode, they can recover easily from any damage they might suffer in the process.

Home succulent plants in pot

Dangers of Not Repotting Succulents

The danger of not repotting succulents is that you risk stunting their growth. Rootbound plants begin to languish, unable to absorb needed nutrients and water. The plant slowly begins to wither and die. If your succulents show any of these symptoms, it's time to break them out of their confinement and give them the room they need to grow by repotting them in a larger pot or container.

When Not to Repot Succulents

The time not to repot succulents is during dormancy. The dormancy period is typically the winter, although there are some varieties that are dormant during the summer months. Make sure you know the dormancy period for the variety of succulents you grow.

Choose the Right Type of Flowerpot or Container

You want to choose the right type of flowerpots or containers for your succulents. Your choices range from terra cotta, ceramic, resin, plastic, stone, wood, or other materials. As long as the flowerpot/container you select provides good drainage and isn't a closed container, your succulents should be happy.

Select the Best Size Flowerpot or Container

You want to choose the right size flowerpot or container, so make sure it is large enough to serve your succulents for the next two years. The best way to decide on the size of the new pot is to add 2"-3" to the current pot diameter or length/width. For example, if the succulents are in an 8" flowerpot, then you should choose a 10" pot to ensure the plants have ample room to grow. The only alternative to increasing the pot size is to divide the plants and repot in two pots instead of one.

Use the Right Type of Soil

If you ask a gardener what the best soil is for succulents, you'll receive a different answer from each gardener. Gardeners have their own preferences for soils and other components of growing plants. The main thing to keep in mind is that you need a porous and sandy soil to ensure good drainage.

The Right Stuff Is Soilless Material

Regular potting soil retains too much moisture. Most gardeners mix their own formulas of succulent soil. If you're a beginner, you can choose either a cactus potting soil or an African violet potting soil. You can augment this with coir or peat moss to help with moisture absorption. A little perlite or calcined clay will keep the soil separated and prevent it from compacting.

How to Repot Succulents for Successful Results

It helps to know the various aspects of repotting succulents to avoid making mistakes. When you follow step-by-step instructions, you're assured of having successful results.

How to Repot Succulents Safely & Easily