Repotting Overgrown Succulents: Best Tips

Repotting Overgrown Succulents
Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Repotting Overgrown Succulents

Succulents are some of the most versatile and easy to grow plants. You can easily repot succulents once they are overgrown. But if you are new to this type of plant, you might realize that repotting overgrown succulents can be challenging.

So, how to repot overgrown succulents? To do it, first, you must pull from the base of the stem and gently remove all plants from the old container. Second, fill the new, larger pot partly with a gritty, well-draining soil like a cactus/succulent potting mix. Third, prune back any undesired leaves with a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears and arrange the plants in the new pot. Fourth, fill the pot the rest of the way with soil then if you want some decorations cover the soil surface with a top dressing. Lastly, place in the recommended light conditions and leave them dry 1-3 days, water deeply, then wait for the soil to dry completely before re-watering

When repotting overgrown succulents always remember to be gentle and make sure each section you repot has roots along with it.

Related article: How To Propagate Succulents With Honey?

Things to Consider

While succulents don’t have the watering and maintenance requirements of other plant types, there are some things they need.

  • Bowl. Make sure you use a container with a drainage hole in the bottom. If the container doesn’t have one, drill several small holes.
  • Potting mix. Succulents don’t like wet soil, so your soil should drain easily (and that’s why you need the drainage hole in the container bottom).
  • Light. Succulents love the sun. Be sure that your location is in full sun. Ideally, your plants should receive 6 to 8 hours of sun each day. However, many succulents will do just fine indoors in bright indirect light. Consult the plant tag to be sure of the light requirements.
  • Water. Of course, all plants need water to live, but succulents don’t need a lot. That makes them very low-maintenance too. If you aren’t sure when to water your succulents need water, gently squeeze a leaf. If the leaf is firm, it needs no water; if there’s a little squishy, it’s time to water.
  • Temperature. Although some succulents, such as sedum, are hardy, others need protection in winter. Bring them indoors before frost. Growing these tender succulents in pots is perfect: They make striking specimens on bright windowsills in winter.
  • Gravel or another ornamental topper is optional, but provides a finished look and keeps soil from splashing on foliage.

Regular Maintenance

As time passes by, the lower leaves of your succulent will begin to dry up and die. When this happens, you should not panic, it’s just natural for their life cycle. But your succulent will grow best if you remove these leaves from time to time. If they remain on the stem for a long period of time, the soil may have a hard time drying it out and might lead to the rotting of the plant.

When removing the dead leaves, you can simply use your fingers gently. You may be even able to notice some sprout on the stem. Removing the leaves may boost the plant to produce another sprout. When your plants are growing outside, you may notice some leaves or sticks that somehow ruin the arrangement.

Removing this debris can help prevent the plants from being infested by bugs. You can remove dried leaves and debris frequently, but in both spring and fall, it should be at a minimum.

Summer and Winter Growers

Pruning or simply trimming can be done on your plants anytime but it will be at best when done at the beginning of the growing season. If you trim at the end of the growing season you may not see a new sprout quickly but it will actively start growing again slowly till the beginning season. A lot of the commonly found succulents are summer growers but there are still quite few winter growers.

Some of the plants are generally being trim in the spring after they’ve grown indoors in the winter. Pruning the plants enables you to refresh the arrangement disregarding the need to buy a new one. It is also another way of getting more plants without spending a lot of money.

Bonsai Scissors

The one thing that you will need the most for pruning is something that you can use for cutting. Some of succulents growers prefer using bonsai scissors (click here to see these scissors on Amazon) for they are extremely sharp and light that makes them convenient and effective to use. Before pruning, you must ensure that your cutting instruments (scissors or shears) are clean to avoid your plant from getting a disease.

Some of the things that you may also need aside from scissors are:

  • Long Hand Tweezers. This can be used for removing dead leaves in places that are difficult to reach
  • Towel. For removing the dirt from your hand and workspace.
  • Chopstick. When you need to create new holes for the plants as well as for loosening the soil, especially when you don’t have a hand glove and you don’t want to get your hands dirty.
  • Cactus Catch All Tray. Used for collecting leaves and a place for cuttings to propagate
  • Other succulent cuttings. In case you need to fill some gaps in your arrangement.

Arranging Your Plant

The first thing you will want to consider is deciding on which succulents need their heads to be chopped off and which does not. You may want to consider your desired height for the plants and how it can look balance and proportion. You can cut off the tall-growing plants while letting others remain the same. If you plan to reuse some of the cuttings you chopped off, you need to let it dry for at least a day to avoid rotting when you plant them.

It is recommended that you make and prepare all the cuttings that you desire to use so that you use and plant directly everything at the same time on the following day. The base plants will eventually produce new sprout so you can leave the arrangement as it is if you would like. Make sure to collect also all healthy leaves that may fall off from the plants. A lot of these leaves can be propagated to produce new plants and can add up on your plant collection or garden.

Dead Plants

If your base plant was not doing so well and may seem poor in condition, you may want to pull it out for you to be able to decide action on how it is going to survive and live more. You may also want to pull out some plants that may seem struggling as well as remove any dying plants to create another room for the cuttings that you took.

Serious problems in the arrangement you will do may arise when dying plants or dead plants aren’t removed. Take them out before it may lead to your plants to wither and spread diseases or cause rotting to the other plants.

Cuttings and Top Dressing

After a day of drying out your cuttings, they are now ready to be replanted in the arrangement. Fill any remaining holes and gaps to replace where your plants from before were removed. The type of arrangement that is tight is preferable for this helps to slow down the growth of the plants, making it look more organize and beautiful for a long duration of time.

After planting all the cuttings that you’ve taken and there are still remaining gaps, you can fill these in by the use of different cuttings from another arrangement or even from a rooted succulent because there is no such rule that stops you to use cuttings from the different arrangement and not just on the original arrangement.

The following step is using a top dressing or in other words the use of decorative rocks such as pebbles, dead corals, etc. on top of the soil when your arrangement was set. This step that is usually overlooked can transform a simple arrangement that look more beautiful and stunning. This procedure is just simple. In addition, the use of this is not just for making your arrangement more beautiful but also functions as a barrier that keeps the soil intact when you are watering your plant.

There are seven variations of colors that you can choose from. These include light to dark that can match your arrangement. The options include:

  • Light pastel
  • Dark pastel
  • Earth tone
  • Gold
  • Maroon lava
  • Black lava
  • Pumice (white)

Here are simple steps to take note when finally doing a top dressing:

  • Gently pour or arrange the top dressing over the soil. After your arrangement was done, you can now place the top dressing right above the soil.
  • Use tweezers and bead scoop. These tools are helpful for small spaces and using these can make a whole lot of difference on your top dressing.
  • Refrain from watering your arrangement for at least a day. Doing so will allow the roots and the plants to heal and adjust.
  • Use the soak and dry method. Let your plants dry before watering them again. This step will ensure that your arrangement will stay as healthy as possible.
  • Give it bright indirect sunlight. You can place your plant on a table or bookshelf where there is no direct bright sunlight that falls on them.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

Recent Content