How To Transplant Succulents

by Succulent MarketApr 15, 2021

how to transplant succulents


Succulents can be touchy. Just when you think you’ve got things under control, things can get out of control and they need to be replanted. But this doesn’t have to be so scary. In fact, repotting your succulent is beneficial to its health.

With that in mind, this guide will explain how to transplant succulents and why this is helpful.

When Should You Transplant Your Succulent?

If you suspect that your succulent is experiencing any root health issues, you must replace soil at the very least. You may not have to transplant it, but the problem is likely to repeat in its original container.

Most succulents need to be repotted once every two years. They don’t grow very quickly and they take an age to outgrow a pot. You’ll know it’s moving time when the crown of your succulent’s foliage starts overlapping the edges of its pot.

Transplant the plant one “pot size” up. If you can’t work out what the next stage up is, just find one that’s around two inches wider than your succulent.

Important note: bigger does not always mean better. Transplanting your succulent to a pot that’s too big can cause problems. For example, the risk of overwatering can increase if the plant’s roots haven’t grown large enough relative to the new pot. This means the soil stays wet for longer which leads to rot.

How To Transplant Succulents

Gather The Materials

At the bare minimum, you’re going to need fresh well-draining soil and another pot for your succulent to call home. Why new soil? Because old soil is an easy way to transport pests and diseases. You may need to consider a pair of gloves to handle your plant so you don’t accidentally cut yourself, especially if you’re transplanting a cactus.

Remove The Succulent

Hold the plant at the base of the stem as close to the soil as you can. Avoid any contact with the leaves, give it a firm wriggle until it starts to get loose. If you’re replanting a succulent without a stem, like an Echeveria, use a towel to loosen the dirt first and remove the whole plant.

Gently rub the soil off the roots using your fingers. You don’t have to get every last bit off but do your best. Use water if necessary.

Transplanting The Succulent

Fill the new container about one-third of the way with the new well-draining soil. Make sure that it has drainage holes in the bottom - make a few small holes yourself if not.

Place the succulent on top of the soil. Hold the plant in place and continue filling the pot with soil until it sits around two centimeters below the rim. Ensure that all of the stem is above the soil - only the roots should be covered. Lightly pat the soil around the base of the stem to keep it in place. 

From here, take care of your plant as normal. 

The best time to transplant your succulent is around watering time. This way its normal routine isn’t interrupted.

Why Is Transplanting A Succulent Helpful?

First, it’s an opportunity to check on your succulent’s health. Regular checks on its wellbeing are important because some problems can’t be easily identified without close examination. How can you gauge the health of the roots without seeing them, after all? And it’s these issues that can pose the biggest threats to your plant.

While transplanting your plant, as you remove the old soil from the roots, check for any signs of infestation or decay. Don’t be afraid to prune such roots - this is beneficial to your plant’s health and encourages new growth.

Then there’s the soil to consider. Soil quality degrades over time as plants absorb nutrients from it. Giving the plant fertilizer can slow the process down but it won’t last forever and cannot replenish the soil’s nutrients.

Further, with repeated watering, soil tends to compact and harden. As such, this reduces how much air can get to the roots, making it harder for new roots to grow. You can somewhat get around this issue by placing large particles like perlite into the soil mix, but compaction is inevitable.

Finally, if you’re not buying the plant directly from a specialist nursery, most soil mixes aren’t suited for succulents; it’s probably just regular potting soil. You need to replace it with a special succulent soil mix as soon as possible.