How to Repot Succulents
Updated: May 4
I repot my plants whenever I get the chance to or when I have available pots to put it into. During this pandemic, when I purchased 20 succulents from a plant store here in Dublin, I did not have enough pots to transfer them into nor do I have the space to accommodate 20 additional pots. I just decided to recycle my takeaway containers and use them as pots for my new succulents. I grouped them together 4-5 succulents each container.
But why is it important to repot plants when you get them?
1. To check the status of the roots
I want to get into the habit of checking my plant roots once I got them. Not just the roots, but also the whole plant, the leaves and the stems. Look for any signs of pests, like leaf bites or dark spots on the leaves that should not be there.
One of the most common vectors are the aphids and mites. They are small and they can be white or brownish. They can be found on the buds or new shoots. I got a Crassula ovata from school and it was, let’s say, not looking great. It was leggy (no lower leaves just bare stems) and the leaves are yellowish with whitish web.
The one on the left is the plant I got from school while the one on the right is my plant. You can see how much less the leaves was on the left compared to the one on the right. I did check the roots when I got it, but I didn’t find any signs of pests. Eventually, I was able to check the leaves when classes got suspended and I found spider mites. I removed them and crushed them. I was checking my other plants to make sure it wasn’t infected.
This is why I put this in top of the list because you could be bringing home pests and diseases. I suggest checking the plant, roots to tips while you are in the garden centre or if it was delivered check it immediately.
2. To assess overall condition of the plant
It is important to do this before purchasing the plant but immediately if it were delivered, repotting it immediately would allow you to assess the status of the plant. What you need to determine is “does it need watering?”, “are the roots pot bound?” or “is the soil draining well?”.
These are, I think the top two reasons why repotting should be done as soon as the you get your new plant.
So, how do we repot?
I will talk about succulents on this blog since I mostly have succulents. But the reasons I stated above is applicable to all plants.
The things we would need for repotting succulents are as follows:
- succulent potting soil
- perlite or vermiculite (if the potting soil above don’t have one mixed in with the soil)
- pots (it can be bigger or small depends on you)
· If you pick smaller pots, you probably need to do root pruning in 3-4 years’ time to make sure you have healthy growth. Check my repotting blog to learn more.
Steps on How to Repot Succulents
1. The first thing to do is to pick a pot.
The pot should have drainage holes and in my case, since I am recycling takeaway trays, I punched holes at the bottom which wrecked it, but it will do.
2. Fill it with soil
The potting mix I used is mixed with seramis but i added one-part vermiculite for better drainage.
I usually water the soil, but since we are repotting succulents, it is actually safer not to expose the roots to water before they establish. Root rot is more likely to happen rather than a dehydrated succulent.
3. Make whole big enough for the roots of your succulent.
Take the succulent off from the pot and loosen the soil, gently with your fingers. Don’t worry if some roots fall off, they are old roots and it’s like you are pruning the roots to stimulate new growth.
4. Add more soil mixture on top or design it with small pebbles.
Sorry for the blurry picture. That was me trying to add more succulents in to one takeaway tray.
And that’s it, easy-peasy.
After a week or so, if the plants are tolerating the new environment, you can water them but do not overwater. I personally don’t like pouring water on the leaves, but some people do so, I guess it depends if your plants are used to it.
You can repot after 3-4 years, or when you see signs of deterioration on your plant (leaves falling off more than usual).
I hope you have more success and healthy plants.