How and When to Repot a Succulent

How and When to Repot a Succulent

After a few months or years, succulents and cacti will outgrow their pot. Thankfully, its easy to repot a succulent and give plants a much needed upgrade.

how to repot a succulent

Table of Contents:

When to Repot a Succulent

How to Repot a Succulent


When to Repot a Succulent:

Most stores will sell succulents and cacti in tiny, constraining pots that are too small for the plants.

This is okay, as most succulents like to grow rootbound and in cramped environments.

However, sometimes roots too crowded or the plant starts to grow out of its pot, occasionally tipping itself over.

Here’s a list of criteria for repotting.

1. The Succulent Touches the Edge of its Pot

There should always be about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of space between the outermost part of a succulent and the edge of its container.

If the succulent has less than 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) of space between the edge of its pot, then its time to repot.

Additionally, there should be at least 1/2 inch (1 cm) of space between succulents planted in the same pot. This allows for growth and prevents the roots of different plants from intertwining.

2. The Succulent is Extremely Rootbound

As stated before, succulents and cacti can grow in cramped places. However, if they become too rootbound they will struggle to continue growing.

Every couple of months gently plop your succulent out of its pot and check for dense root growth.

If the succulent pulls all of the dirt out of the pot and holds onto it with a gentle shake, then its time to repot. This indicated that the roots have taken up all available growing space and need a pot with more soil.

If the succulent does not pull out all of the dirt and some soil is left on the sides of the pot, then the plant does not need repotted. It still has soil for roots to go and will be fine for a couple of months.

3. The Soil is Densely Packed

Densely packed soil can be an indication of heavy root growth, but sometimes it can be caused by too much water absorption or rot.

If water pools or takes too long to drain, then the soil overly condensed.

Condensed soil is too hard for roots to grow in, and it holds too much water for succulents. Leaving plants in condensed soil causes root rot and wilting.

Carefully remove the plant from its old pot and place it in larger pot with well draining soil. Avoid watering for a little longer than normal to let the soil aerate and roots dry out.

4. The Succulent is Growing Leggy

Leggy succulents have grown tall, skinny, or have sparse leaves. A lack of light is usually the main issue, however, not enough room in the pot can also cause succulents to grow tall.

Plants will stretch and grow up out of their pot when their isn’t enough room. Moving them to a larger pot lets the plant grow thicker roots and a sturdier base.

Most of the time repotting succulents and moving them to a brighter location will fix leggy stems and leaves. If not, more room will let the plant shoot up new sprouts that will grow thick and sturdy.

Learn more about fixing leggy succulents on our webpage, Why Do I Have a Leggy Succulent?

5. The Succulent Has New Growth!

New growth on any plant is a good sign.

Succulents often produce mini offsets (babies) or stems that can be carefully separated and repotted.

As long as there is more than 1/2 inch (1 centimeter) of space between offsets and the edge of the pot, they don’t need repotted. However, separating offsets and replanting them is a great way to grow more succulents.

Its recommended to always repot offsets or spare cuttings because they can be given as gifts or  used as backups incase the original succulent wilts.


How to Repot a Succulent:

Repotting a succulent, or any plant for that matter, is quite simple. When done correctly the procedure shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Step 1:

Carefully remove the succulent from its current pot.

There are a couple of ways to go about this but be careful to not damage the plant.

Gently tilt the pot sideways or upside down. Most rootbound succulents will easy slide out of the pot as one big ball of roots and soil.

If the succulent is stuck, break up the dirt at the edge of the pot. This frees up the succulent and its roots, letting it slide out of its container. A wooden dial or knife works well.

Step 2:

Perform necessary maintenance.

If the succulent was rootbound or in packed soil, carefully break up some of the dirt. Breaking up the dirt makes it easier for the roots to grow into new soil in a larger pot.

On the other hand, if the succulent was leggy or was holding a ton of water, let it sit out for a couple hours. Try to avoid keeping it in a super bright location, and plant it in a large pot once its soil dries. helps to explain root maintenance and promotion of growth.

Step 3:

Plant the succulent in a new pot!

Make sure the new pot is larger than the last one so the succulent has more room to grow.

Also, always make sure the pot has drainage holes for excess water to escape.

Carefully add a layer of cactus dirt to the bottom of the pot, then place the succulent and its roots in the middle.

Fill in the space between the succulent and edge of the pot with more soil, and feel free to add a layer of gravel on top.

If the soil sinks after watering, try adding a little more soil to keep it level.

Conclusion to Repot a Succulent

Succulents (and cacti) will do best when repotted once every 1-2 years.

This provides them with enough time to grow dense and healthy root systems before needing more space. Also, new soil ensures that the plants have enough nutrients to continue growing, especially if they aren’t fertilized every growing season.

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