If you’re a prospective plant parent, you might think that starting out with a succulent is a safe bet because they require very little water, so they must be low maintenance. Nothing could be further from the truth. As someone who got her green fingers dirty with a few Mammillaria cacti that didn’t last longer than two months, I can admit that tending to succulents is just as demanding as tending an orchid.
You’d be better off raising a hardy snake plant of geranium.
Though, in all honesty, there is nothing more rewarding than watching your dedicated efforts in tending to succulents pay off. So let me share some tips and tricks to repotting that might help you in the near future.
PICK THE RIGHT POT
People often fail at this first hurdle. If you pick a pot that is too shallow, your succulents run the risk of becoming root bound, too deep and your roots will shoot down without giving your plant the height you desire. You’ll also want to pick a pot with drainage holes so that water doesn’t sit in the soil and begin to rot the plant. Remember: succulents do well without water for days (sometimes weeks) at a time so if they sit in damp soil for a prolonged period, they will spoil very quickly.
PICK THE RIGHT SOIL
You wouldn’t expect the veggies from your potager to thrive in sea sad, would you? By that same logic, repotting your succulents in any old soil would be just as silly. Because succulents gather moisture from the air, and not always necessarily directly, you’ll need to purchase specific succulent/cactus soil that is rich in nutrients but that dries out quick enough that your roots don’t begin to rot. If you want to make your own potting soil, use 1 part coconut husk and 1 part pumice stones for outdoor succulents, while indoor succulents should consist of 1 part crushed pine park, 1 part surface and 1 part crushed granite.
Now that you have all the components to repot your succulents, you can get started.
- Fill your new pot up to ¾ with potting soil
- Gently remove your succulent out of its current pot
- ‘Tickle’ roots to get rid of any residue soil. This process is also effective in stretching out the roots of your plant.
- Place your succulent in the pot and tuck soil around the plant so it is packed comfortably into the new pot. Soil must reach the base of the succulent without covering any of the leaves or body of the actual succulent.
- If the plant hasn’t been watered in some time, add a little bit of water, though it is advisable that you wait a few days (up to two weeks) before watering your plant just so it becomes accustomed to the new soil.
BONUS: PROPAGATING SUCCULENTS
If you want to grow a few succulents for friends and family from your own plants, it’s fairly easy to do. Once you get the initial process down pat, you’ll be growing vegetative offspring in no time.
- Cut a leaf off as close to the stem as possible. Most people get this first step wrong and rack their brains for weeks after because nothing grows from their leaf, or it ends up going brown and dying.
- Place leaf on top of soil making sure the ends don’t touch the soil at all. Don’t plant it into the soil because it has no roots. The leaf still needs to mature before you start treating it like a succulent.
- Water the soil on a regular/daily basis. Again, this is a kind of gestation period so the succulent needs all the help it can get. Don’t be too heavy-handed with the H20 because it is a succulent after all and they thrive with little to no water, If anything, you’ll he dampening the soil do the leave doesn’t completely die, but it needn’t be drowned either.
- In three weeks, you’ll begin to see rosettes and roots begin to form at the ends of your leaves. When that happens, make sure your roots are always covered in soil and tend to them as you would your other succulents.