Repotting Succulents: The Ultimate Guide

Repotting succulents is sometimes necessary. There may be excessive root growth or unhealthy succulents, amongst other reasons. We may also wish to repot recently bought succulents into better pots. In any case, there are things to remember when attempting this procedure.

To repot a succulent, keep in mind the following:

  • Choose an appropriate pot with drainage holes.  
  • Prepare the pot with a well-draining soil mix.
  • Carefully remove the succulent from its current pot.
  • Observe the root system and remove excess dirt and rotted roots.
  • Place the succulent in its new pot.
  • Let the succulent rest and water it after about two weeks.

Although these steps might be enough, read on for more tips on repotting succulents and succeeding in this essential caring task.

Repotting Succulents Considerations

When and why should you repot a succulent?

For starters, succulents will eventually outgrow their pots and need to be moved into larger pots to continue to thriving.

The trick, of course, is to be able to tell when exactly to do this. There are several things to watch out for. Amongst those are the following:

  • First of all, the roots will seem too tight and even excessive. In fact, they may even begin to stick out of the drainage hole at the bottom, for instance.
  • Secondly, a crucial sign that repotting succulents is necessary is that the plant seems unhealthy. Even in spite of normal conditions, such as good light and water, it still doesn’t seem to be doing well. 

Many owners usually think about repotting every two years. The best thing we can do is to take a look at the root system itself, though. If there is too much growth, a larger pot may be needed.

Repotting after buying

So, repotting is necessary when roots get too large, but there are other moments when repotting may be necessary. The most notable of these is right after the purchase of the plant.

Many succulents are sold in cheap, undesirable pots. Therefore, some owners like to repot as soon as they buy the plant and take it home. This can be a good idea in many cases.

How often should you repot a succulent?

Most owners find that repotting takes place about every two years. However, here shouldn’t be repotting during the dormant phase. During this phase, the problem is that the plant is not actively growing, so it’s not advisable that repotting take place during this time.

How do we repot?

First of all, we want to remove the plant from its pot carefully. Sometimes, to achieve this we may need to use some tools. We must be careful not to hurt the root system.

Now then, we need to inspect the root system. We want to tap the roots and remove excess dirt. Some owners like to clean the roots with water. There will be times when it’s necessary to trim the roots as well, particularly in cases of rot.

We want to choose a pot that is slightly larger and has a new and dry soil mix. Refrain from watering for a couple of days after repotting succulents. Afterwards, start giving them a strict ‘soak and dry’ watering as usual.

Materials and supplies that you will need

There are several things we can use when repotting. These tools will make things easier for us:

Soil Mix

There are different soil mixes we may use when repotting succulents. The key component, however, is that the mix should have good drainage properties. It’s important to remember that we must protect our succulents from overwatering and root rot.


It’s obvious that we need a new pot. What sort of pot though? It’s essential that it be slightly larger than the one we have been using. This is because repotting generally occurs precisely because the plant has outgrown its pot and needs another one.

Gardening Gloves

Some owners like to use gardening gloves when repotting. They may be useful to avoid injury.

Coffee Filter

Sometimes drainage holes in pots are too large. Soil will therefore fall through them. Some owners like to use coffee filters, to let the water go through the drainage hole, but to keep soil inside.


Repotting is actually quite stressful for our plants. After the procedure is done, some owners like to wait about two weeks before watering in the usual ‘soak and dry’ method.

Steps to Repot a Succulent Properly

When repotting succulents, we want to make sure we are following proper steps. In this section, we’re going to try to emphasize the correct procedure of repotting:

First of all, we want to prepare the pot. To this end, we want to fill a pot at about ¾ capacity, with a well-draining soil mix. Such soil mix may be bought commercially. Some owners like to create their own soil mix too, by mixing potting soil and perlite, for example. It’s important to remember that if we’re repotting it’s because the pot needs to be bigger.

Then, we need to take the succulent out of the pot. This step is important, and must be done carefully. Once it’s out, it’s important to try to clean excess soil from the roots.

We must now secure the plant in the new pot. To achieve this, we need to place the succulent inside the soil, making sure it’s stable.

Now that the plant is stable, it’s best to leave it be. Repotting can be rather stressful on a plant. It’s best to let it rest for a good while. We want to refrain from watering for a while, until the plant is strong enough. Most owners will wait about a week or two before watering. After that, we want to keep applying a normal ‘soak and dry’ method.

Related Questions

Do you water succulents after repotting?

Not quite. Repotting succulents is rather stressful for a succulent. It’s always best to wait a little while before watering. A one or two weeks pause seems to be the standard.

Can you plant succulents in just rocks?

Some succulents can actually survive if planted amidst rocks. At the end of the day, the succulent really is a hardy plant that can survive in extreme conditions, with little access to water. However, this really isn’t ideal. Succulents will really thrive if planted in an appropriate, well-draining soil mix.

Can you plant succulents in pots or containers without holes?

This is not a good idea. Succulents can survive if underwatered, but they will seldom survive overwatering. Excess water will easily rot the roots and kill our plant.

The problem with a closed pot, without a drainage hole, is that it will inevitably fill up with water. This can be very damaging for our succulents. It’s always necessary to create proper drainage. This is always a key issue to remember when repotting succulents.

Do coffee grounds help succulents?

Coffee grounds can actually be good for our succulents. Coffee grounds are about 2% nitrogen and this is very beneficial for the plant. They also contain potassium and magnesium.

We want to brew the coffee and dilute it with water. The key is to use equal amounts of coffee and water. The key is also to add already brewed coffee. Coffee that hasn’t been brewed is not ideal because it’s too high on caffeine, not serving the plants well.

Should I put rocks in the bottom of my planter?

Some owners like to use rocks in the pots. This is because pots can increase the speed of drainage. Basically, succulents are watered every time the soil is completely dry. The way to water is, as we’ve pointed out, to thoroughly drench the pot.

Now then, the idea is that we want to wait for the soil to dry off and then repeat the watering cycle. This ‘soak and dry’ methodology is usually improved if the soil mix is well-draining. The idea of adding rocks is to ensure a very good draining, making sure that the water really goes through the soil and doesn’t clog up and cause root rot.

It really is a choice for the owner, to decide whether to use rocks or not, particularly when repotting succulents. Well-draining soil mix and a drainage hole should be enough though.

Are eggshells good for succulents?

Eggshells can be good for succulents. Some owners crumble them but a better method is to quite literally make a tea out of them.

First of all, we need to rinse the shells and free them of any remaining yolk or white. Then, we must pour boiling water on them. We thus allow them to soak overnight. The following morning, we must strain the shells. We’re therefore left with a sort of eggshell tea.

This eggshell tea is quite useful for our succulents. We can pour it on the succulent and it’ll give it an extra calcium input.

Is Epsom salt good for succulents?

Epsom salt can be used to create homemade fertilizer and may be used in succulents. Some owners mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt with about four liters of water and then water their plants with this mix.

Are banana peels good for succulents?

Yes, banana peels are good for succulents. They contain essential minerals and nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese and sodium. They can certainly be used as fertilizer.

Can I use Miracle Grow potting mix for succulents?

Yes, it’s possible to use this on succulents. Their fast-draining formula is particularly useful when dealing with succulents.

Can I use cat litter for succulents?

Surprisingly, cat litter may be useful for succulents. The ideal cat litter is made from 100% molar clay. Such cat litter may serve as grit/perlite replacement or even as a top dressing for our potted succulents. The key here is that the cat litter used should be non-clumping.

Are teabags good for plants?

They can actually be used to fertilize plants. However, it’s important that they are really compostable before we use them for this end.

The procedure is relatively simple. First, we want to take the used tea bags and add them to a compost bucket. Afterwards, we have to take this bucket and take them to the garden. We want to dig the tea bags around the plants. They’ll reach the root system and help our plant out. 

Teabags will nourish the plant and are a good source of added nutrients.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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