Most people overlook one of the most important aspects of gardening — repotting. Well, to be honest, everything is important when it comes to gardening. But repotting remains one of the most neglected activities.
An amateur gardener says, “this succulent looks good to me, probably does not need any repotting.” The professional knows that not reporting can inhibit healthy growth and sometimes even kill your plant.
When Should You Repot Succulents?
Most succulent plants should be repotted every two years. The goal of repotting is to ensure the soil remains fresh and fertile. Repotting also allows the plant more space to grow.
But there are exceptions to the two-year rule. Below we will go over the four signs you should recognize as indicators that it is time to repot your succulent.
Roots are growing through the drainage hole
If you find roots growing out from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, it’s time to get your succulent a new home.
The plant has outgrown the pot and cannot grow larger because the pot is too small. The roots inside are probably tangled up and need more room to spread.
Keep in mind that tangled roots can also kill your succulent. Lack of space for the roots to spread causes stunted growth and eventual death.
The soil stays wet for a long time
Soil mix staying too wet for a long time, even when receiving proper sunlight, is a problem. Consistently damp soil can be a sign of a drainage system issue or an infestation of pests.
Plus, wet soil that doesn’t dry attracts mealybugs, mites and aphids, increases the risk of root rot, and even encourage the growth of mold.
None of which is any good for your succulents.
Obviously, soil that doesn’t dry is a big problem that, fortunately, can be quickly remedied with repotting.
The soil dries out too fast
On the other side of the same coin, there is the concern of succulent soil drying out too fast. In fact, this is as harmful as the soil being wet for too long.
Quick-drying soil causes dehydration on your succulents and requires you to water your succulents more frequently than recommended.
This increase in water leads to the succulent developing a weak root system.
Succulents thrive off of the “draught and flood” watering technique, where they are flooded with water and then left unwatered for several days.
this technique is interrupted by the soil drying too quickly, it inhibits creating the natural process by which succulents thrive.
If your soil mix is drying out too fast, get those gloves on and bring in a new pot because it’s time to repot!
You succulents look unhealthy
If you give your succulents proper sunlight and water and they still look unhealthy, it may be time to repot.
Sometimes there is more than what meets the eye. Small pests can be hiding under dead leaves or bugs in the root and soil may cause your succulents to look unhealthy.
Reporting allows you to either find the problem or start with a clean slate.
How to Repot Succulents
Repotting succulents is an easy task. However, there are a few factors to consider before you start.
First, different succulents have different needs. Know the types of succulents and the best repotting technique for each.
Second, when dealing with cacti that have thorns, make sure you are using a thick leather glove that saves your hands from those needles.
Generally, when handling plants, it is best to wear gloves to avoid critters, sap, and anything else unexpected.
Now you are ready to begin the repotting process.
Water your succulents before repotting
Water your succulents a day or two before you repot them. This allows them to soak up water and use it for nourishment as they are moved from one home to another.
Gather your supplies
You’ll need your succulent, a new pot (larger than your current pot and we will why explain why further down), potting soil mix, gloves, a brush, a trowel (which is basically a small shovel perfect for shifting soil), and pruning shears.
For the soil mix: get some well-draining cactus or succulent mix.
If you want to make DIY soil, we recommend mixing equal parts of perlite (which is great for aeration and drainage) and regular potting soil.
Prepare the new pot with potting mix
Use clean soil for the new pot.
Reusing soil from the old pot will not give your succulents all the right nutrients and could also just transfer any problems your plant was experiencing in the original pot.
Remove your plant from the pot
Smaller succulents are easier to remove from the pot. Just turn the pot upside down and gently shake it while gently pulling at the stem.
For larger succulents, use a stick to shift the soil until the succulent comes out easily. Be careful not to damage the roots in the process.
Clean and dry the roots
When the succulent is out of the pot, gently tap the roots to get the soil out as well. Brush away all the excess dirt and remove any dead roots.
Remove the dead leaves if any are present at the base of the succulent.
At this point you can prune your succulent’s root. Pruning the root promotes healthy growth. Make sure you are not cutting at lengths longer than an inch.
You can then clean the root with water, just make sure it’s dry before you replant.
Plant it in the new pot
When repotting, choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one. This promotes healthy growth of the succulent by giving it more space to grow.
The best pot for succulents is a clay pot with good drainage hole. If the drainage hole is too big, place a coffee filter or a layer of rocks at the bottom.
Watering after Repotting
After the succulent is given a new home, allow it to settle in and heal. Wait at least a week before watering it again.
However, if the succulent shows signs of dehydration, such as leaves drooping down, you can soak the succulent in water, but be careful not to overwater it.
Tips for Successful Repotting
Don’t repot your succulent if it is flowering: A flowering succulent can be a rare sight. Succulents bloom when they are getting enough sunlight and are on a proper watering schedule.
If your succulent is currently in bloom, don’t repot it. Repotting can cause the flowering to stop.
Don’t overwater your succulent: Overwatering kills succulents. Watering properly is the key to a happy succulent. If you are unsure about overwatering, wait a day or two.
An underwatered succulent is easier to fix than an overwatered one.
Best time to repot is spring: The ideal time to repot a succulent is in their growing season, and for most succulents that is spring and summer.
Repotting in their growing season allows them to heal better and make their new pot with new soil a home.
Enjoy your newly potted succulent! Let it bask in the sunlight and water it only when it is completely dry.
They are tough little plants and will add much needed beauty to your home.