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6 Signs Your Cactus or Succulent Needs to Be Repotted

Lyn is a horticulturist and YouTuber with over 35 years of experience growing succulents and cacti.

Here's are six ways to tell if it's time to repot your plants.

Here's are six ways to tell if it's time to repot your plants.

How to Tell When Your Cacti and Succulents Need Repotting

Though they may seem sturdy and consistent most of the time, cacti and succulents still need a little TLC from time to time, including the occasional repotting. Here are six ways to tell if it's time to put your plant in a new pot.

The most obvious sign it's time for a new pot it if your plants roots have started to show.

The most obvious sign it's time for a new pot it if your plants roots have started to show.

1. The Roots Are Growing Out of the Pot

Now, this first one is obvious: if the roots start to come through the bottom of the pot, it's time to size up. This is a clear indication that it's time to pot on your cactus or succulent.

Yellowing or shriveled leaves are another sign it's time for new soil.

Yellowing or shriveled leaves are another sign it's time for new soil.

2. Your Plant Is Yellow or Shriveled

The second one is if you have a cactus or succulent and it's looking a little bit yellow or it's looking very shriveled. This can happen for two reasons:

  • The soil is exhausted and needs changing.
  • There are soil pests on the roots.

In either case, the first step is to get the cactus out of the pot. If there are no signs of soil pests, then pot it up in fresh soil. If there are soil pests, you'll need to treat them before potting your plant up again in fresh soil.

If your plant is tipping to the side, it's a clear sign that a new pot is needed.

If your plant is tipping to the side, it's a clear sign that a new pot is needed.

3. Your Plant Is Top-Heavy

The next sign is if a plant is too top-heavy. The Sansevieria 'Moonshine' pictured above is clearly overhanging—a classic example of a plant that is desperate to be potted into a new, bigger pot.

Strange as it may sound, anytime you buy a new succulent or cactus, you should repot it!

Strange as it may sound, anytime you buy a new succulent or cactus, you should repot it!

Read More From Dengarden

4. You Just Bought It

The next sign your plant needs repotting is when you've just bought a new cactus or succulent, and that's because even though it might be in a lovely pot and it might look lovely how it is, you don't know what type of soil they've used or if there are any soil pests.

A lot of garden nurseries often use a lot of peat and other materials that aren't good for cacti and succulents, so any time you buy a new plant, it's a good idea to take it out of the pot, remove the old soil and pot it up into good-quality, well-draining cactus and succulent mix (here's how to make your own potting mix).

If your plant has been in the same pot and soil for many years, it's time for a refresh (even if it still looks happy and healthy).

If your plant has been in the same pot and soil for many years, it's time for a refresh (even if it still looks happy and healthy).

5. It's Been in the Same Pot for a Long Time

If you have a cactus or succulent whose soil hasn't been changed for a long time, say about five years, it's a good idea to repot it, even if that only means adding fresh soil (rather than swapping to a larger pot).

The plant might look healthy and the roots might not be coming through the bottom, but it's always good to give the soil a bit of a refresh. Refreshing the roots with fresh soil will give the plant a bit of a burst because soil does get exhausted over time.

If your plant has stopped growing in spite of getting proper care, it's time to repot.

If your plant has stopped growing in spite of getting proper care, it's time to repot.

6. Your Plant Has Stopped Growing

Lastly, if you have a cactus or a succulent that seems to have stopped growing, and you're not quite sure why (it's got the right amount of light and water, etc.), it's likely time to repot.

In these cases, the lack of growth could due to something going on with the root system. So this is another good opportunity to take it out of the pot and freshen up the soil, which often gives the plant a bit of a burst and encourages it to come into new growth again.

I hope you found those tips useful and now know when to repot your cacti and succulents. Have a wonderful plant-powered day!

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© 2021 Lyn Kimberley

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