How to Transplant Succulents Into Pots

Succulents need repotting or transplanting as long as they’re growing. So how do you do it? Let's find out, it's pretty straight forward!

Succulents need repotting or transplanting as long as they’re growing. So how do you do it? Let’s find out, it’s pretty straight forward!

Here’s how to transplant succulents into pots:

  1. Prepare your new pot with new potting soil.
  2. Extract your succulent from the current pot. Be Careful not to injure the plant and watch out for spikes in some succulents.
  3. Place your succulent in the new pot. Ensure it’s only the roots that are below the soil.

These are the basics but there is more that goes into transplanting a succulent successfully. You need to be ready with supplies, know when to do it, and, of course, be able to handle the plant safely while minimizing any damage to it.

So let’s take a more detailed look at this whole business of transplanting your succulents.

Preparing to Transplant Succulents Into Pots

Here, you’ll need to gather your supplies and get your plant ready for its new home. We’ll look at getting your plant ready later on. Meanwhile, check out what you’ll need for transplanting, aka the supplies.

Transplanting Supplies

To repot your succulent, you’ll need the following items:

  • New potting soil – nutrients reduce with time in potting soil, especially with succulents since they can pretty much thrive without fertilization. New potting soil ensures your succulent gets a fresh supply of nutrients for healthy growth. Also, fresh soil can help address persistent pests and diseases.
  • A new pot – succulents grow, even though at a slightly slower pace compared to most houseplants. Eventually, the initial pot gets a bit smaller which can hinder the growth progress of your succulent. So you’ll have to switch to an entirely new and bigger container every few years to maintain steady healthy growth.
  • Thick gloves – this will depend on the type of succulent you’re looking to transplant. Some succulent species like cactus, for instance, have spikes while others like the agave contain an irritant sap that shouldn’t be in contact with your skin. So it’ll definitely help to protect yourself. Just because these plants are adorable doesn’t mean they won’t use their defense mechanisms against you.
  • Small mesh – your new pot must have a drainage hole. This is a must for every succulent. It helps with limiting the length of time the potting soil remains wet. But with the hole comes another challenge – the new potting soil is certainly still loose so it’s going to pass through the drainage hole. A mesh will stop this for the time being as the soil becomes firmer.

When to Transplant Succulents

So, what’s the ideal time for transplanting your succulents into pots? For established plants, about once every 2-3 years is good enough.

This is the approximate amount of time it takes for most succulents to show a significant increase in size, which ultimately makes the initial pot a bit smaller.

That aside, answering the question of when to transplant your succulent you should also consider the seasons – this is of utmost importance. It’s always a good idea to transplant/repot succulents in their active growth period so they can pick up faster and eliminate any chances of them dying.

For those that grow actively during summer, it’s best to repot/transplant them in fall or spring at the start of their growth phase. Look up your succulent to determine both its growth and dormant phases before attempting to move it into a new pot.

Why Transplant Succulents?

Besides the succulent outgrowing its pot, is there any other good enough reason to repot the plant? Turns out, yes. Here are five of them.

Your Succulent Is Root Bound

As your plant puts out new leaves and branches, the roots grow too. It’s only natural. But remember the pot is limited, so with time, the roots spread through the entire potting medium. You can observe the roots trying to grow through the drainage hole at the bottom.

That’s not a good thing since the amount of nutrients available for the plant will be quite small. Also, a root-bound succulent will certainly stop growing even when it hasn’t reached full maturity. You certainly don’t want that.

You’ve Just Brought Home Your Plant

It’s always a good idea to repot new succulents right away. The containers they come in are certainly not meant to be their long-term home.

Also, they actually don’t look that good – a con if you’re trying to spruce up your interiors with a bit of plant life.

Overcrowded Pot

Offsets are one of the ways by which succulents reproduce. Hens and chicks is especially known for this.

If you have such a succulent, it’s only a matter of time before the pot fills up with tiny plants. Transplanting these baby plants once they’re big enough will help their growth – and boost your succulent collection.

A Compact Potting Mix

You’re not going to till a potting mix which, combined with the action of water, leads to the soil sticking together over time.

This negatively affects its drainage and could deprive the plant of enough water. Additionally, it could also lead to stem rot as most of the water remains on top of the soil mix.

How to Transplant Succulents Into Pots

Here’s, in detail, how to transplant succulents into pots:

  1. Prepare your plant. This just means getting it out of the current pot. Tilt the container and gently tap the bottom and tag on the plant a bit if need be. Also, be sure to rid the roots of the old soil using either your fingers or tap water. And if the roots are too long, trim them a bit with a SHARP cutting tool.
  2. Grab your new pot made of either terracotta or ceramic, slightly bigger than your previous container but not too big for your succulent. An ideal pot should allow 2-3 inches of space between it and the plant. Cover the pot’s bottom with the mesh.
  3. Fill your new pot with a new well-draining potting mix. Of course, not all the way up – just a small fraction. Then hold your plant at the center of the pot and add some more potting mix making sure to leave just a small space at the top. Also, remember not to keep any portion of the stem below the potting mix.
  4. Gently tap the pot on a surface to ensure the soil isn’t loosely packed. You can also poke the potting mix directly if you have a fork.

That’s it. You’ll be done with transplanting your plant. Don’t water it just yet. Let it sit for a week before you bring out the water can. And when you do, give the plant enough water, that is until it flows out through the drainage hole at the bottom.

Final Thoughts

That’s some of the stuff you need to know about transplanting your succulents into pots. It’s an important part of your succulent care regimen and might have to be done every 2-3 years under normal circumstances.

Other times, observing various aspects of your plant, pot, and potting mix will tell you when you need to find a new pot.

Whatever the case, be sure you follow the right steps as you’ve seen above – nothing complicated by the way. Just be sure not to do it when your succulent is dormant.