Like any plant, succulents grow bigger over the years and you will eventually need to transfer yours into a bigger pot. More than just providing adequate space, this ensures that your succulent can derive the requisite nutrients from an adequate amount of soil.
If you did the initial potting yourself, then part of this process will be familiar to you. However, if this is your first time getting hands-on with succulents, this very simple guide will help you along.
Repotting Overgrown Succulents
When your succulents get too big for their breeches, repotting is in order. It is recommended that succulents be repotted every two years on average, but you will know it is time for this undertaking when you notice the following tell-tale signs:
1. The succulents start to look unhealthy despite receiving adequate light and water.
2. The plant becomes unbalanced in its overgrown pot and topples over.
3. The roots begin sticking out of the pot’s drainage holes, indicating that they need more room.
4. The potting soil no longer efficiently soaks up water, so the water drains too soon after watering.
Repotting overgrown succulents is more than just knowing when your plants are overgrown and putting them into a larger pot. There are some other important things to take note of before you go ahead and repot.
1. Repot overgrown succulents in the spring and fall, when they are actively growing.
2. Do not repot your succulents in the summer or winter, as this is when most are dormant. Repotting dormant succulents can be harmful as this interrupts their growth cycle.
3. Do not repot your succulents if they have started flowering. This may halt their blooming process and cause them to lose their flowers.
Before proceeding with this task, you should have all the necessary materials on hand to make it quick and stress-free for your plant.
The primary consideration should be the size of the pot. The new pot should be larger and should have adequate room for your succulent’s roots, but not too large that the roots end up taking in excess water absorbed by an unnecessary amount of soil.
When the roots are overwatered, they may begin to rot, which exacerbates fungal infections and problems with pests. This is why it is important to use the right-sized pot, to avoid excess soil and thus excess water. Additionally, the pot should have enough drainage holes.
Be sure to use the right type of potting soil for succulents. The ingredients typically include coco coir, pine bark, peat moss and perlite, all of which can retain water but also drain well. As previously noted, this is important to prevent root rot.
The pruning step of the repotting process will require bonsai scissors.
A catchall tray will come in handy for pruned leaves and cuttings for propagation.
Gravel will serve as a topper that not only serves an aesthetic purpose, but also prevents soil from splashing onto the succulent’s foliage when it is watered.
How to repot overgrown succulents
1. Step one
Prepare the new, larger pot and partially fill it with the right succulent potting soil.
2. Step two
Gently remove the succulent from the outgrown pot by pulling from the base of the stem.
3. Step three
Clean the roots by tapping them to dislodge the dirt. You may carefully trim them if they have grown too long.
4. Step four
Prune the leaves as desired, take cuttings for propagation if needed, and position the succulent in its new pot.
5. Step five
Fill the pot all the way with more potting soil. Add gravel or other ornamental toppers.
How to care for repotted succulents
Repotted succulents still require light, but shortly after repotting they will be more fragile than usual and should not be immediately exposed to direct sunlight. This exposure would result in wilting and sun damage, so gradual exposure is advised.
One might think that plants need to be watered immediately after repotting. On the contrary, they should be watered only after a few days have passed. The repotting process is traumatic to a plant’s roots, so they should be allowed time to heal before being water, or they may develop root rot.
What are the benefits of repotting overgrown succulents?
The ample space of a new, larger pot ensures the healthy growth of your now-larger succulent. If the space in a pot is inadequate, your plant will stop growing. Repotting it will give it more space and promote growth.
Repotting also requires fresh potting soil. This will provide your succulent with the nutrients it needs to thrive, and which may have become depleted in the old soil.
The process of repotting an overgrown succulent is simple enough and, followed to a tee, should see your succulent thriving in its new pot after an initial period of root healing and acclimatization.
For the repotting to be completely successful, however, the seasons and your succulent’s active and dormant periods should also be taken into consideration.
Image: istockphoto.com / ALEXIS