Repotting overgrown succulents is a process, and we would work you through it in a step-wise manner in this article.
What’s indisputable is that succulents are uncomplicated when it comes to care and maintenance.
But as many gardeners also know, you can’t just forget about them, cross your fingers, and hope nothing goes wrong.
As well as making sure the succulents receive the right amount of water and sunlight, sooner or later, you’d have to go the extra mile in terms of caring for them.
One of these extras includes repotting overgrown succulents.
Basically, if your succulents are overgrown, you would be doing them a heap of good repotting them.
How to repot overgrown succulents would be the focus of this article. The article also includes critical pitfalls to avoid during the process, the best time to repot succulents, and much more.
Repotting Overgrown Succulents
With over a 1000 varieties of succulents, it’s comforting that mastery of just one or a couple of repotting methods is sufficient for the majority of the common succulents.
Repotting your overgrown succulents creates adequate breathing and growing space so they can continue to thrive as healthy plants.
Some folks might find the process daunting because it involves uprooting your precious succulents and thoughts of killing the plant are always lurking.
That said, the process is quite easy and is not so different from how to repot most houseplants.
The major difference is ensuring that the growing conditions (in terms of soil, light, water, and temperature) specific to succulents are present and maintained for the plant to thrive in the new pot.
First, though, let’s quickly talk about the best time to repot overgrown succulents and how to know your succulents are ready for repotting even if they don’t seem overgrown.
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How to Know Your Succulents Need Repotting
Legginess is the first indication that the succulents are overgrown and need to be repotted. At this point, they might even appear listless.
For some succulents though, you would have to use other methods to figure out that they have outgrown their pots.
Root-bound – You could start by checking the drainage holes to see if the roots are poking out.
No matter how the plant looks up top, roots poking out of the drainage hole is a good indication of an overgrown succulent.
The succulent is clearly root-bound and is now looking for more space to grow.
Quality of potting soil – The soil quality can also indicate that plant is overdue for repotting.
You can easily tell the soil has lost its potency when you water the soil.
Two things can occur either exclusively and at the same time while watering:
– The water exits the drainage holes too fast and
– The soil shrinks down the side pot. The succulent might topple over in the process.
Remember, the ideal soil for succulents is a well-draining one that holds enough water to keep the soil moist without letting it become soggy.
Soggy soil or too much soil moisture can lead to the fatal root rot disease.
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When to Repot Overgrown Succulents
Generally, succulents should be repotted at least once every couple of years.
But one query that keeps coming up linked to repotting overgrown succulents is this: can you repot succulents during their dormancy?
The short answer is no. This is because the plants, though tough and able to survive some form of neglect, are actually very fragile, especially in the dormancy stage.
There are too many risks attached to repotting them at this time.
For instance, the roots would find it quite challenging to grow and get established if they are damaged while repotting the plant.
The major fallout from this is the inability of the succulent to thrive in the growing season; at the same time, the chance of developing root rot later is boosted.
Also, it is critical to give repotted succulents time to acclimate to the new pot and potting soil before the growing period.
This ensures a healthy and thriving plant in the growing season.
The basic rule is this: if your succulent usually goes into dormancy in the summer, it is better to repot it during the fall season which is the beginning of the growing season.
For succulents with dormancy in winter, the ideal time to repot them is in spring.
Now that you know the best time to repot overgrown succulents and when not to do it, let’s get down to the main business of the day: how to repot your overgrown succulents.
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How to Easily Repot Your Overgrown Succulents
Things you’ll need:
Well-draining potting soil – you can purchase some from a garden store or reputable online gardening stores.
You can also make your own potting soil by mixing loamy gardening soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice in a 2:2:1 ratio.
Planter – Terracotta or ceramic pot would be great since they are both made from breathable materials. Just makes sure the pots come with drainage holes. The pot should be about a size larger.
Pebbles – To help anchor the succulent so it stays upright and as a soil dresser
Gardening tools – Like small shovel or trowel, mini rake, brush, etc.
- Remove the plant from the old pot – Gently ease the root ball out of the old pot. You can use the trowel to help scoop the plant from the pot. Just be careful not to damage the roots while doing this.
- Once the plant is out of the old pot, carefully remove as much of the old soil as you can from the root system.
Tapping the root gently to get the soil off is one way to do this without hurting the roots.
You could also use a gentle stream of water to clean the soil out of the root system.
Let the roots dry before transferring the plant to a new pot
- Next, fill the pot about a third of the way with the new potting soil.
- Gently place the succulent, root first, on top of the potting soil; then fill up the pot with more soil to about a couple of inches from the rim.
- You can now place the pebbles to cover the surface of the soil
- If you have a small brush handy, use it to clean any soil you see on the leaves.
The root system of the newly potted soil is fragile at this point. So you want to give it at least a couple of days or three to rest and recover before watering the plant.
- Finally, soak the soil deeply with water. Quit when excess water starts coming out of the drainage holes.
Remember to place the pot where it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight daily or in bright indirect light.
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Tips for uprooting hanging succulents
Uprooting hanging succulents like, String of Pearls, would require a different approach to reduce the risk of damage to the plant.
- Start by raising the hanging tendrils and holding them at the top with your hand.
- Turn the pot over so that it is facing downwards without letting go of the tendrils.
- Then slowly, slide the pot out to reveal the root ball
- You can now clean out the old soil from the root systems as described above before repotting.
Repotting overgrown succulents is a vital care and maintenance routine.
Fact is, sooner or later, succulents outgrow their pots with the plant becoming either root-bound or leggy, or both.
Essentially, overgrown succulents need a bigger pot to thrive.
Fortunately, the process is quite easy and can be accomplished in less than an hour as long as the right materials, such as the larger pot and new potting soil, are available.