How To Repot Kalanchoe

How To Repot Kalanchoe

Kalanchoe plants are popular indoor plants, but can also be grown outdoors. These thick-leaved succulents have clusters of tiny, star-shaped flowers that combine to form a large, attractive bloom. Native to Madagascar and tropical Africa, they are considered low-maintenance and have few problems with disease or pests. However, like all plants, these succulents also need to be repotted periodically for optimal growth and health. This article will explain when your kalanchoe needs repotting, and how to do this.

How to repot kalanchoe

  1. Ideally, you should repot your kalanchoe in late February or early March before it enters its active growing season and starts to bloom. 
  2. Do not water your kalanchoe plant for at least two weeks before repotting so that the soil dries out completely.
  3. When you are ready to repot the plant, loosen the roots by turning the plant upside down and tapping the bottom of the pot. Use the palm of your hand to support the root mass at the base  of the stem. Turn the pot back over and lift the plant out of the pot. 
  4. Break up the soil and separate it from the root mass.
  5. Mix a handful of peat with pro-mix potting soil. This will create a porous mix that easily drains moisture from around the roots, which is what these plants like.
  6. Saturate the soil mixture, spread it on a flat surface and allow it to dry slightly. 
  7. With a soil testing kit, test the soil’s pH and ensure that it is between 5.8 and 6.3. 
  8. The new pot that you choose should be one size larger than the current container. Put some foam packing material in the bottom of the pot to aid aeration and drainage. 
  9. Place half an inch of the soil mixture on top of the foam material and put the kalanchoe plant into the pot. There should be at least half an inch between the rim of the pot and the top of the root mass.
  10. Finally, fill the spaces under and around the roots with soil. Water the plant and add more soil as required, until the soil level is one-eighth of an inch below the top of the pot. Place the pot in a sunny window where the plant can get at least six hours of sunlight per day. 

When to repot your kalanchoe

You should repot your kalanchoe plant at least every two years to provide it with fresh, new growing medium. This way, the plant’s growth will be better and it will be healthier overall. Even if the plant shows no obvious signs of problems or poor health, you should repot it nevertheless. Transferring the plant to a new potting medium ensures better growth in the years to come. 

If you are purchasing a kalanchoe plant, transfer it to a new container when you bring it home. These plants usually come in small black pots that absorb heat and are too small to provide enough growing space. Ideally, use clay or terracotta pots, and each time you buy new succulents transfer them to new containers within two weeks. 

If you notice signs of root rot in your plant, you will need to repot it as soon as possible. This will happen if you have been overwatering the plant, or if the soil or pot have inadequate drainage for excess water to escape. You will need to trim off the dead or damaged roots before transferring the plant to a new, sterile pot, using fresh, well-draining potting mix. 

If the potting mix starts to dry out very easily, this is another reason to repot your plant, using fresh potting medium. Although these plants prefer soil with good drainage, the soil still needs to retain moisture long enough for the roots to absorb it. The fresh medium should be a mix of perlite and soil at a 1:1 ratio for better drainage. 

You should also repot your succulents if they have become root-bound.  This happens when the roots have grown to the point that the pot is too small for them and they are cramped and becoming entangled. If the container no longer has sufficient space for the growing roots to spread, you need to transfer the plant to a bigger pot so that the roots can grow properly. 

Benefits of repotting your kalanchoe: 

  • The plants will have improved health. 
  • You will refresh the potting medium and get rid of the old, depleted medium. 
  • You can trim off decayed or damaged roots. 

Conclusion 

Kalanchoe plants are grown both indoors and outdoors, and are popular for their star-shaped flowers and dark, glossy leaves. These succulents are easy to grow and suffer very few disease or pest problems. However, you still need to repot them periodically for optimal growth and to avoid them becoming rootbound. 

To do this, transfer the plant to a pot one size larger than its current container. Inspect the roots while the plant is out of the pot, and remove any dead or dying roots. Use fresh, pro-mix potting soil mixed with peat, water the newly-repotted plant, and place it near a window where it can get sunlight for at least six hours a day. 

Image: istockphoto.com / Valeriy_G