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Share to Pinterest15 Simple Tips for Transplanting or Repotting Succulents
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The Comprehensive Guide to Repotting Your Succulents

By Staff Writer
Share to Pinterest15 Simple Tips for Transplanting or Repotting Succulents

Succulents are great houseplants: they're easy to care for, with varieties to fit any decor. They do their part to enhance your home, so it's important to remember But while they're enhancing your home, every so often, they need their own living space revitalized.

Transferring a succulent to a different container doesn't have to be complicated. With a bit of planning and know-how, you can make sure your succulent flourishes in comfort for years to come.


Preparing your soil

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Before you get up to your elbows digging and repotting, gather your basic supplies. Soil should be at the top of your list. Succulents do require a specific type: look for a general cactus blend.

Of course, you can make your own succulent mix, too. The simplest way is to add equal parts dry sand and soil. It's not a bad idea to incorporate pumice or perlite — small, lightweight, porous stones that break up the soil and allow for optimal water drainage.


Choosing a container

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Many succulent owners make the mistake of choosing a pot that's too big. Large containers increase the amount of soil, which increases water retention. You want your succulent's soil to almost completely dry out between waterings, and if the pot is too big, this process takes much too long and can even kill the plant. Repot your succulent in a container no more than an inch wider than your plant's diameter on all sides.

When choosing a new pot, it's critical that the size also comfortably fits its intended location. You don't want it to fall from a windowsill or get knocked off a shelf. If your plant is top-heavy, go with a heavier pot to act as a counterbalance.

Most importantly, ensure that whatever container you decide upon has sufficient drainage holes.


Setting up your pot

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Begin by placing mesh tape, netting, or some type of screen at the bottom of your container to prevent loose soil from falling out. Small rocks will also work for this purpose.

Fill your pot a little over halfway with your soil mixture. You'll be adding more later, so it doesn't have to be precise.


Getting your succulent ready

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Carefully remove your plant from its current pot. Loosening the soil around the container's edge with a gentle instrument may help if it is stuck. Hold the plant by the main stem, turn the pot upside down, and softly tap the base until the root ball slides out.

Once your plant is free, get rid of as much soil as possible without pulling off the roots. You don't need to remove every last piece of old soil, but take your time and gently brush or shake off as much as you can. Never wash off soil from the roots, as this will cause problems in the future.


Planting your succulent

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In the center of your fresh soil, make a small hole that doesn't go down to the bottom of the pot. Insert a few roots into this area while leaving the remaining roots and plant at the current soil line.

Add more soil, but don't fill it quite to the top. Cover the remaining roots but don't bury any leaves.


Dressing it up

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Gently aerate your soil with a stick to remove any air pockets and prevent future collapse. Then add a little pizzazz to your succulent's new home. Dress it up with something fun. Peat moss or aquarium gravel can look great. Now softly press down on everything to keep it in place.


When to water

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After planting, do not water your succulent. If you're a seasoned plant owner, this step may seem a bit odd, but it's extremely important. Let the roots settle for a few days, first. This allows them to adequately heal and adjust to their new environment before they're tasked with taking in moisture.


Keep repotting to a minimum

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You shouldn't have to transplant your succulent frequently unless you encounter problems. The average timeframe for an upgrade is three to five years. This prevents your plant from becoming root-bound but doesn't shock it too often, either.

Your succulent should be able to stretch out comfortably, but it doesn't like too much extra space. If you see that your plant is overtaking the current pot's surface area, it's time to give it a new home. For most species, if there isn't at least a half-inch of room between the growth and the container's edge, then your succulent needs a larger pot.


Transplanting due to environment

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The condition of the soil may prompt your repotting. If it becomes waterlogged, you might see this echoed in yellowing, flat, moist, blackened, or decaying leaves. Root rot is another common indicator of too much water, and so are fungus gnats.

At the first sign of any problems, it's best to rehome your succulent. Act quickly to increase its chances of survival. Give it a fresh living space with an all-new mix of dry and gritty soil. Refrain from watering it for a while so it can heal. If you catch the issue early before the stem shows signs of deterioration, you might save your plant baby.


Mixing succulents

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Most varieties of succulents don't have a problem living in close quarters with their neighbors. This explains all the fascinating succulent container gardens popular these days.

Use a large container and prepare it following the typical steps. Add as many plants as you want, emphasizing color, shape, or any other theme. This is a wonderful way to display your artistic and gardening talents. Just keep in mind that while most succulents have similar needs, there are exceptions. Be careful not to plant two widely different plants together, or it's unlikely both will survive.


Materials for drainage are essential

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When cultivating a thriving indoor garden, the devil is in the details. One such detail? Proper drainage. Think of it as the unsung hero of plant care. By simply placing small stones or clay shards at the base of your pot, you create an escape route for excess water. This not only mimics the natural arid environments where many succulents hail from but also prevents the root rot that can sneak up on even the most attentive plant parents. It's a small step, but one that can set the stage for your succulent's long-term health and vibrancy.


Soil composition can make or break your repotting success

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Succulents, with their plump leaves and hardy dispositions, have a secret: they're particular about their soil. A dense, moisture-trapping mix can spell disaster. However, by adding elements like perlite or sand, you transform your soil into a light, breathable haven for your plant. This adjustment ensures swift drainage and replicates the sandy terrains that many succulents naturally thrive in. So, next time you're prepping to repot, remember: the right soil mix is like giving your succulent a first-class ticket to its natural habitat.


Root maintenance is more than just a trim at the salon

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Unpotting your succulent isn't just about a change of scenery; it's a chance for a health check. As you gently remove your plant, inspect its roots. Tangled masses can benefit from a gentle tease to separate them, while damaged or overly long roots might need a trim. This isn't plant vanity; it's about fostering optimal growth. Healthy roots can absorb water and nutrients more efficiently, ensuring your succulent remains vibrant and robust. Consider it a spa day for your plant, with lasting benefits.


Leaf care: Keep them high and dry

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It's a detail that's easy to overlook, but ensuring your succulent's leaves steer clear of the soil is paramount. Continual contact, especially with damp soil, can lead to leaf rot. As you nestle your plant into its new home, be mindful of this spacing. Ensure the soil level sits below the leaves, giving them room to breathe. This small act of diligence can prevent potential pitfalls down the road, ensuring your succulent remains a picture of health, with leaves reaching skyward in their full glory.


Soil compaction: A firm foundation

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After repotting, there's one final step: soil compaction. By pressing down gently on the soil, you anchor your succulent, providing stability against toppling. But it's not just about keeping your plant upright. Compaction ensures the roots maintain solid contact with the soil, optimizing nutrient absorption. It's like tucking your plant into bed, ensuring it's snug and secure. This foundational step, while simple, can make all the difference in your succulent's overall health and vitality.



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