5-steps guide on repotting overgrown succulents

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Repotting succulents isn’t particularly challenging or different to repotting other plants. You just need to understand a few crucial things and repeat the process with each and every plant. Now I will briefly explain how you can repot such a succulent, and then we will look at some things you should consider, and some mistakes people make. Let’s start directly with the repotting process:

  1. Pull from the base of the stem and gently remove all plants from the old container–or just one plant if you do not grow an arrangement of succulents. 
  2. Second, fill the new, larger pot partly with a gritty, well-draining soil like a cactus/succulent potting mix.
  3. Prune back any undesired leaves with a clean pair of scissors or pruning shears and arrange the plants in the new pot.
  4. Fill the rest of the pot with soil then if you want some decorations cover the soil surface with a top dressing (such as pebbles for example).
  5. Lastly, place the pot in the recommended light conditions and leave them dry 2-3 days, water deeply, then wait for the soil to dry completely before re-watering it again.

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


Important things to Consider

When you buy succulents in a store, they often come in a pot and soil that isn’t particularly good for them. This is because the sellers know people will repot them anyway, so it makes no sense spending extra money on the pot or the best possible soil. When repotting, however, you should consider the following:

  • 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 in the bottom of it.
  • 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 sun and your plants should receive 6 to 8 hours of sun each day in an ideal case. However, many succulents will do just fine indoors in bright indirect light. Consult the plant tag to be sure of the light requirements.
  • Water. If you aren’t sure when to water your succulents after repotting them, gently squeeze a leaf. If the leaf is firm, it needs no water; if there’s a little squishy feel, you can water again.
  • 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.

Related article: How To Propagate Succulents With Honey?

Trimming succulents–do not make the mistake with the succulents you repot

Pruning or simply trimming can be done on your plants anytime, but you will achieve the best results if you do so before the start 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.

When you repot your plant, however, you should never trim it immediately. Leave it some time so it can invest all its forces into establishing itself in a new pot, new soil. Trimming is always some stress for the plant, so is repotting. Combining several stressful experiences may yield undesirable results for the plant…


Arranging Your Plants when repotting them

Before repotting your overgrown succulents, think whether it won’t be a better idea simply trimming them, shortening them, and then they may not need repotting at all. You want to consider your desired height for the plants, and how it should look in your garden or house. 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. See my guide on growing succulents from cuttings for more information. The base plants will eventually produce new sprout so you can leave the arrangement as it is. 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. At the end of the day, repotting isn’t always necessary. Sometimes you can simply prune the overgrown succulent and leave it in its original pot.


Do not repot plants that are almost dead

If your base plant is not doing well, you may think repotting will solve the problem. But this is rarely the case, unless you had your plant in a bad pot and bad soil right from the start. With dying plants (or succulents in bad condition in general), it is better to simply take the cuttings, propagate the plant, and leave the mother plant to die…

Sure, if you have some emotional attachment to the plant in question, you will try everything to save it–including repotting. But in my experience it won’t solve the problem in 90% of cases. Everything has its lifespan, including plants. Keep it on your mind.


Final thoughts

Repotting overgrown succulents is no rocket science. Succulents are hardy plants, and they will survive environmental changes. Having said that, you do not need to stress your plants more than necessary. Follow my tips when it comes to repotting (the five steps guide and considering all the important factors such as pot, soil mix, light source, etc), and you will achieve optimal results. 

Last but not least, do not make the same mistakes like many other people do–such as trimming the succulent right after you repotted it, or trying to save dying plants by placing them in a new pot. Gardeners and growers can change a lot in the life of a plant, but we should not forget that we cannot do miracles… Repot a plant when it makes sense to do it, but do not rely on it as a remedy for the problems your plant may face. Hope you enjoyed this post, and do not forget to check also my complete guide on growing succulents.