How To Repot Succulents, Cactus | Everything You Should Know

Succulents are easy to maintain plants. Like other potted houseplants, succulents repotting is essential. These arid plants do not require annual repotting. As a gardener, the biggest challenge you face is how and when to repot succulents?

Since these plants require minimum maintenance, but that doesn’t mean we can forget them. Every two or three years, they need to change the potting mix. It will give enough room to grow and provide crucial nutrients for the plant to thrive without worries.

One reason for repotting is that while the plant has outgrown, it needs bigger pots to establish its root system. Another common cause is once you purchase a plant from the nursery or shop, its potting mix should change and introduce a bigger pot to thrive. Moreover, after the successful succulents propagation, the new baby plants require repotting.

Repot succulents and cacti

These plants are slow growers and not heavy fertilizer feeders. Therefore succulent repotting is minimum.

This article will cover how to properly repotting succulents right-way and answer some common questions that you may face.

When To Repot Succulents and Cacti?

You can quickly identify succulent that needs to be repotted by closely checking the plant and pot appearance. If you see one or several of these signs, your succulents need to repot.


How do I know if my succulent needs to be repotted?

If you can identify one of the following appearance changes, it is time to repotting succulents and cactus plant.

  • Plants’ roots grew out of the pots’ drainage holes (Root-bound).
  • Roots are stick with container walls and overly cramped.
  • Losing the soil quality. While you are watering, you may experience more rapid water flow out the pot.
  • Soil dries out more quickly than usual.
  • Container crowded by many new baby plants. If there are many baby plants around the plant, it will reduce all plants’ growth.


Tools that need.

Before we start, we have to collect few tools.

  • Gloves to protect hands from dirt.
  • A trowel to handle soil mix.
  • Brush to remove old soil and dead parts.
  • Container to mix potting soil.
  • Potting mix: Potting mix should well drain. Read more about how to make succulent cacti potting soil.
  • Pots: Pots should have suitable drainage holes.
See also  How To Check Soil Moisture For Succulents Cactus | When to Water

succulent tool set


How to Prepare Succulents to Repot.

Generally, when I plan to repot succulents, I water them before 2 or 3 days. Let the soil dry up, but not completely. It makes it easy to remove old soil.

  • Before the repotting, I usually water cacti and succulents before 2 or 3 days, subject to the potting mix moisture. I do recommend this to everyone. Because once repotted, it is not best practice to water the plant. Because we should let the plants’ damaged roots heal naturally. Minimal moisture should be present during soil re-planting.
  • Gather all the tools that you need.
  • Pull the plant by turning the plant upside down to get the plant out with a root bowl.

Repotting Succulents plants


  • Remove old soil from the root bowl as much as by hand or a brush. Do not use pressure water flow; it will damage the root bowl.
  • While cleaning old soil, you can see tangled roots, carefully clean them without damaging roots.
  • Let the row bowl air dry for a while. Generally, I let it dry for around 2-4 hours. It will depend on the environment’s humidity and temperature.



How to repot succulents.

Once ready your succulents plant, you can confidently start repotting. Now your plant almost ready to sit on the fresh soil.

You have to find a suitable pot. Make sure that its drainage holes large enough to flow out the water.

  • Cover the bottom drainage hole using a mesh pad.

succulent pot Drainage hole mesh pad

  • Then add a layer of small rock chips. This layer will help quickly flow out the excess water and prevent drainage mesh from blocking the soil.
  • Fill the succulent potting mix. In this stage, you have to fill 3/4 of the pot.
  • Then place the plant in the middle and cover the plant roots using potting mix.
  • After repotting, I do not recommend to water for three days. Let the plants’ roots heal.



How Often Should I Repot Succulents and Cacti?

Succulents and cactus are well known for slow growers. Unlike other houseplants, these slow-growers do not require annual repot. The ideal time to report succulents is between 18 and 24 months. You have to select the right period to transplant succulents and cacti. It would be best if you did not repot in dormant periods.



Should I repot succulents after buying them?

Now you may need to know that, do I need to repot succulents after buying? My answer is Yes. Once you purchased the new plant from the nursery or plant store, it is an excellent practice to repot your newly purchased plants. Usually, these plants come in small cheap plastic containers. However, it is not recommended to repot the plant immediately. Give the plant at least three days to adapt to the new climate, but not more than two weeks.

See also  Select Best Succulent Pots? | Choose Right Size, Material

There are several reasons to report newly bought succulents. Here are the excellent ideas that you should repot/replant.

  • Introduce well-drain soil mix: Most of the time, new plants potted on nursery soil mix may not well drain water retain too much. Therefore you have to introduce well-drain cacti and succulents potting mix. It is beneficial for long-term health.
  • Clean plant: Nursery and shop plants may contain many dead, dries, and rotten leaves and roots. This cleaning is an excellent time to remove those parts and clean your succulents and cacti.
  • Introduce better pots: As I said earlier, local stores sell plants in cheap plastic containers. Unfortunately, these cheap containers can cut off the growth of your succulent plants.
  • Provide enough space: Cacti and succulents nursery pots may not be suitable for long-term growth. Generally, these nursery pots are smaller than the regular pots, and they limited plant growth. Providing enough room to plant helps to grow.
  • Prevent pest inflections: Newly purchase succulents and cacti may come with smaller pests and insects like mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, scale. These pests can spread to your healthy plants. When repotting cacti and succulents, you can closely check the deeply hidden pests.
  • Soil quality reduction: If the cactus and succulent shops are not properly maintained, the soil quality of the plants may deteriorate over time.



When to water succulents after repotting.

Another common concern that many gardeners face does you water succulents after repotting. The answer No. I do not immediately water after repotted or transplant succulents and cactus. In the repotting process, there is a chance to damage plants’ roots. Therefore we have to let the plant naturally heal the damaged parts before watering. That is why I recommended water the plant 2 or 3 days before repotting.

The best time to get water after reprocessing is on the 3rd day after planting. If the water touches the damaged parts, roots can rot because fungus activities increase in wet soil.

When watering the plant, avoids wetting the leaves. It can cause leaf rot. You can read my how-to water cacti and succulent guide for a more detailed guide.

See also  How to Propagate Succulents Leaves, Division, Cuttings Methods



When Should You Not Repot Succulents and cactus?

The best time to plant/transplant/repot succulents and cacti is spring, summer. These climate conditions plants actively grow. I do not recommend repotting succulents in winter. In the winter season, most of the succulents and cacti dormant. Therefore in these periods, plant growth reduces, especially roots. It could be harmful to the plants’ long-term growth.

However, if you replant succulents and cacti in winter, they will not die. During this time, the plant has to get more effort into restoring the damaged roots. This can lead to root rot later on.

Some of these plants dormant in summer, and the majority of them dormant in winter. Therefore before repotting succulents and cacti, you must identify their active growth season to get a better result.



When should I repot summer dormant succulents and cactus?

Summer dormant succulents and cactus actively grow in colder months, but they are alive. These hot months dormant plants actively grow in winter and fall. The best time to repot summer dormant succulents and cactus in winter. These cool-climate months help the plant develops its damaged root.


When should I repot Winter dormant succulents and cactus?

Winter dormant succulents actively grow in summer to fall and stop growing in colder winter. Therefore, the best time to report winter dormant succulents and cactus is spring and summer. During these hot months, the plant actively grows, and it helps to recover damaged roots to heal naturally.


What to do after repotting succulents and cactus?

Soon after you repotted succulents and cactus, you have to move the plant to a shaded place. Do not water the plant for two or three days. These days watering can be harmful to the succulent or cacti. After 3 or 4 days left, you can gradually introduce partial sun to full bright sun to the plant. Though, some of the cactus and succulents do not prefer bright full sunlight.

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