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How to Repot Succulents the Right Way

So, some time ago, you bought yourself a baby succulent. But, the baby has grown, and now you are thinking about repotting your succulent to a new home. And finally, you are wondering how to repot succulents.

Right? I know.

We have got your back. In the next five minutes, you will learn all about: when to repot your succulents, the essential tools you will need, and a complete step by step guide will equip you with the knowledge to safely repot your beloved succulent.

Let’s get started!

When To Repot Succulents?

How to Repot Succulents

Before we dive into the process of repotting, let’s walk through a few different ways to know you’re ready to repot your succulent.

  • The plant has grown, and now it is roughly the same size as the container, preventing the roots from serving their purpose, which is causing ineffective watering. This could cause it to stop growing.
  • The plant might not outgrow the pot, but the roots are visible and protruding from the drainage holes.
  • When you first bought the plant from the store or the greenhouse, it possibly came with the black plastic pot. Not very pleasing to look at, is it? Choosing the right container will give the plant the aesthetic edge and generally make it look nicer.
  • As a general rule of thumb, repot every eighteen months to refresh the soil and expel the grown bacteria in the earth over time, stimulating better growth.

Tools You Will Need

Alright, you made it to the next section!

That must mean you feel the need to re-pot your charming succulent or cactus.

The tools you use will significantly impact how effective the transfer is. Below is a list of essential tools that will improve your potting experience.

sucuclent in white pot

A larger pot

This one is tricky. Always choose a larger pot than the last one, but how larger? Succulents grow relatively slowly. So, select a container that is about two inches wider than the previous pot. Secondly, the vessel must have drainage holes at the bottom to remove excess liquids.

Also, gardening is a hobby, don’t let it become a chore. Spice it up a bit, choose a funky pot; it might make the plant happy.


Are you wondering how to choose the right soil?

Succulents prefer nutrient-rich soil, drains well, and is moisture control. However, succulents are relatively tolerant and won’t die if put in unsupportive environmental conditions. But, you don’t want your succulent to suffer because the whole point of repotting is to replenish nutrients in the soil?

How to repot succulents

For that, your soil should consist of materials such as compost, manure, and pine bark, which are more effective and economical than vermiculite, peat moss, sand, topsoil, or perlite.

A Trowel

Now, you must have decided on the soil and pot. But, how are you going to remove the plant from the old potting mixture? You will need a trowel and some good old metal tongs.

A trowel is like a mini-shovel and is used to dig the soil for the plants. The metal tongs are smaller than the scoop, making it easier to remove smaller masses stuck between roots.

Coffee filter (to cover drainage hole)

Use a coffee filter to cover the drainage hole

Short on money?

No problem. You can now use a coffee filter to cover drainage holes of the pot. You could also use newspaper if you don’t want to use up a coffee filter!

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How to Repot Succulents Step by Step

How to Repot Succulents Step by Step

Now that you have your tools ready, it’s time to do the exciting bit, repot your succulent plant. Below are the steps.

1. Preparation

A pro-gardener once taught me that moisture is the key to successful repotting. Hence, make sure you frequently water the plant you want to re-pot. Secondly, prepare the ingredient rich soil beforehand and spray it if it seems dry.

2. Remove your succulent plants from their existing container.

This step might be somewhat complicated, but you will be okay. Gently, use the trowel to tap and soften the soil of the pot. Then, tilt the pot sideways. It is a good sign if the ground is itself beginning to run out of the vessel.

Remove your succulent plants from their existing container.

If the soil is stubborn, you might have to be a degree harsher on your beloved plant. Give it gentle shakes, and using tender pulls, try to remove the plant from the pot. You might break a few planters, but that is normal.

3. Clean and dry the roots

Now that the plant is out of the pot, healthy and kicking. You might notice that the roots have a lot of old soil stuck in them. Try to remove as much of it and leave it to dry.

In some cases, the roots might be tangled into each other. Use your hand and untangle them. Feel free to trim.  If you accidentally cut or break the hearts (ahem), it’s not the end of the world; the planter will be okay.

4. Place the planter in the new potting mix

Almost there.

Remove the top two-third of the old potting mix and pour a layer of the new potting mix laden with nutrients that your succulent is going to love. Place the plant in the pot’s center and slowly add another layer of that nutrient-laden soil mixture.

Keep adding until you don’t have to hold the plant in place anymore. But, do not overflow it because then the plant will be unable to breathe.

Care Tips After You Replant Succulents

After you have successfully replanted your succulent, it is important to give it more attention and care so as not to kill it.

Succulents are cultivated for a variety of purposes, easy handling being one of them. Here are a few care tips to be mindful of after you have replanted your succulent:

  • Depending on the type and size of your succulent, make sure it gets the right amount of sunlight so that it can flourish. Excess or lack of sunlight will impede its growth.
  • Water the plant properly. A great tip to know when to stop watering the plant is when water starts running out of the drainage hole of the pot. Misting the succulents is not recommended as it can lead to brittle leaves. Water the stem and root area when you find the soil is dry to the touch.
  • If your succulent is kept as an indoor plant, make sure to clean the leaves with a damp cloth. The leaves are at the risk of accumulating dirt and dust, which can hinder them from absorbing enough sunlight and restrict the plant’s growth.
  • Keep rotating the plant and avoid letting it sit at a particular place for more than a few days. This will help ensure every part of the plant is exposed to equal amounts of sunlight.

Do Succulents Like To Be Crowded?

string of bananas

Although succulents can survive in a crowded setting, it comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

When succulents are crowded and multiple plants are potted together in a single container, it helps retain the shape of the succulents. But that comes at a price as it hinders the proper growth of the plant.

Crowding too many succulents together can prevent them from growing properly because of a lack of space. That is also why it is recommended to shift your succulent into a bigger pot and replant them in a container that will allow its roots enough space to grow in a healthy manner.

Why Is My Succulent Dying After Repotting?

There can be many reasons for your succulents dying after getting repotted.

ruby necklace


One of the most common reasons behind a failed replanting is the excess moisture content in the soil due to over-watering the plants.

Succulents already have high moisture content in their body. Succulents are drought-tolerant plants, so it is crucial for the soil to be adequately dry before the plants can be watered again. If the succulents are kept in damp soil for a prolonged period, it can lead the roots of the plant to rot and the leaves turn yellow, brittle, and eventually die.

Incorrect Pot Size

Another reason why your succulent couldn’t survive the repotting is that you may have used a small pot that cannot hold the size of the plant. If the pot is small or lacks proper space or holes for water drainage and air circulation, there’s a greater likelihood for water to collect in the pot, which will kill the plants.

snake plant in gold pot

Unsuccessful Replanting

Some plants cannot withstand the shock of getting repotted into new soil or coming in contact with different moisture and sunlight levels. Lack of sunlight, freezing temperatures, and wrong soil type can all contribute to a succulent dying after being repotted.

This goes to show how important it is to learn how to properly replant and handle succulents to ensure their health and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Repotting Succulents

Now that you have the basic idea about repotting your succulent plant. Here are a few specifics you might find interesting

burro's tail succulent

Why are my succulent leaves falling off?

In hot/drought conditions, succulent respond by dropping their leaves to conserve energy needed for other vital purposes. It is a survival mechanism.

However, in over-watering cases, the plant leaves become mushy, soft, and thick, which leads to them falling off.

Do you need particular soil for succulents?

Succulents plants enjoy a well-moistened, rich with nutrients, and a good drainage soil. A good quality soil can boost the plant’s growth, but succulents are a tolerant plant species and don’t need a unique potting mix to survive.

Do you water succulents after repotting?

Is a Snake Plant a Succulent?

Watering your plant is a significant part of a successful re-pot. Make sure to provide sufficient water to the plant because most of it will drain out quickly due to the new potting mix.


By now, I am sure you must be feeling pretty confident about how to repot your succulent. You can apply these tips and methods to most indoor plants.

Gardening is my favorite pastime. Whatever you do, be it as technical as repotting or as essential as watering, make sure to have loads of fun doing it. 

ALSO READ 7 Best Indoor Plants For Purifying Air


  • Jen

    Jen got her first plant in college from her mom and the rest, as they say, is history! She's owned hundreds of plants over the years and loves learning how to grow each one. She believes everyone needs to own at least one plant in their home and loves sharing her knowledge with others.

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