How to Repot Succulents
Why to Repot Succulents?
We all love baby succulents. They are cute little additions to our window sills or serve as the perfect companion on our desk at work but just like all babies, they will inevitably grow. Little succulents are indeed babies and not minis which means they all have the potential to grow as big as the mother plant they were most likely propagated from. Here is a guide on how to know when to repot your succulents. I will also discuss how often you can expect to do this. Don’t worry! When it comes to these highly adaptable plants you have a lot of flexibility.
What helps Baby Succulents grow the best?
As I often tell my customers, it is helpful to think about the plant's natural habitat. They typically grow in sandy, sometimes rocky soil on mountain sides or even in the crevices of rocks. They thrive in both conditions but in a place that has more soil the succulents are able to set out a much deeper root system allowing them to grow larger. In more limited spaces, such as in tight nooks with little soil, the plant will grow to the capacity of the space and then pretty much stay that size. These plants can thrive with very little space. To give you an idea of how strong their will is, in the nursery sometimes we will find succulents that have rooted into the side of a table with only the soil that has settled from other surrounding pots. Talk about working with what you have!
Signs it's time to repot your succulents!
All this being said, back to the big question. How do I know when to repot my succulents? First I will say, only repot your succulent if you want it to grow bigger. Leaving a succulent in a small pot will not harm your plant. Once you have decided that you do want your baby to grow bigger, here are three good signs that it is the right time to repot succulent:
- The plant to pot ratio is much more plant than pot- If your succulent is significantly larger than the pot it is in and has perhaps become unstable this is a good sign that your plant is more than well rooted and is ready to be repotted.
- There are more roots than soil in the pot and roots may be growing out of the bottom of the pot- In order to see if there are more roots than soil you will have to gently take the plant out of the pot. If the soil clump feels very dense and does not have any give when you squeeze it gently, this means there is probably more roots than soil in the pot. This makes it harder for the plant to stay hydrated and nourished. When a succulent is like this it can be very happy however you will have to monitor watering more closely. If you see roots coming out of the bottom of the pot then this means the roots have either run out of room in the pot or the succulent is trying to grow deeper roots. Repot your succulent now and it is sure to increase in size.
- The succulents soil does not hold much moisture - If you find that you are watering your succulent and it is dry a day later this is a sure sign that there is more root than soil and it is a good time to repot your plant allowing more space for more soil. While succulents do not like their roots to stay wet for long periods of time, allowing the roots enough space to further develop will encourage growth.
Keep these tips in mind when considering repotting your succulent but also remember not to go too big when repotting. A good rule of thumb is to only go up one or two pot sizes. You do not want to have a pot so big that the succulent is sitting in wet soil for prolonged periods of time. Another problem that can occur if the pot is too big is that when do water, it can sink to the bottom of the pot not allowing the roots to reach it and the plant does not actually get water.
How to know when I repot my Succulents?
The next big question is how often do I have to repot my succulents. Succulents are typically slow growing and can stay in their pots for quite some time without needing to be repotted in any rush. How often they need to be repotted will vary greatly depending on the conditions they are growing in. A succulent that is grown outdoors and in warm weather is going to grow much faster than a succulent that is grown indoors. Once or twice a year is going to be, on average, as often as you would want or need to repot your succulents. They are very low maintenance plants and adapt to their environments.
As we discussed before, baby succulents can stay in smaller pots if you want to keep them as small and cute as possible. It will not hurt the plant and they do not begin to die if they are root bound, like some other plants. This is one of the beautiful things about these plants. You really do have a lot of control when it comes to size so if you are one of those plant parents that doesn’t want to see their baby grow up you do have the option to slow it down.
Caring for our succulent friends is easy and thankfully they are able to thrive in almost any potting conditions. Remember first to decide if you want your plant to get bigger and then take into consideration plant to pot size ratio and examine the roots and soil. These steps will guide you on deciding when to repot your succulents and how often.