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It’s no secret that I love plants, and its probably genetic because my mom, aunt, and grandma all have/had beautiful gardens, planters, and greenhouses. In my previous post Following In Their Footsteps, I wrote about how I used to help my grandma in her greenhouse every year over my spring break. Pretty much any time we went to my grandma’s I would end up in one of her three greenhouses. I loved looking at all of the different flowers that she grew and cared for. I was always asking how I could help, did they need watering or plant food, did she need to re-pot anything? Sometimes I’d spend 20-30 minutes looking through her organizer of plant labels (those little plastic stakes you see in the pots), wishing that I could have that many gorgeous flowers. Grandma’s greenhouses were always a happy place for me.
Since my last plant related post my collection has grown quite a bit, and unfortunately one of my previous plants has perished (I’m thoroughly convinced that he was sick to begin with though). While I love all plants, I believe that succulents are currently my favorite. They are (typically) easier to care for and there are so many varieties! I love trying to find a fun combination of different varieties to put into a planter.
One reason succulents are typically easy to care for is because they can usually survive a bit of neglect (ie. not watering them enough). While you don’t want to completely forget about them you also don’t want to care for them the same way you would a fern or other house plants. Succulents and cacti don’t like to be sitting in water and if they are left to soak in the soil too often their roots will rot. And while any plant can suffer from root rot, succulents are more likely to develop it quickly. Root rot happens when a plants roots are sitting in water for too long and they become brown and mushy. Sometimes plants with root rot can be saved by cutting away the rotten part and repotting in fresh soil, sometimes they can’t. It really just depends on the plant and how much of its root system has rotted. That being said, it is sometimes best to err on the side of under-watering your succulents because you can easily give them a tad more to perk them up if they are a bit too dry.
Now, let’s get to repotting those baby succulents! First you will need to gather all your supplies. You will need a well draining cactus soil like , a pot (preferably with a drainage hole) like these , your succulents, and possibly a if you don’t want to scoop the soil with your hands. To determine the size of pot you want you need to determine if you want to create a planter (multiple plants in one pot) or just a single potted plant. Single plants will need smaller pots than the planters.
Once all your supplies are gathered fill your pot with cactus soil, I fill mine completely to the top because it usually settles after you water it the first time around.
If you are creating a planter get an idea of how you want it to look. Keep textures, heights, and colors in mind when doing this. Typically succulents are green, green-grey, blue or bluish purple, or red. I tend to like to keep cool and warm colored plants separate in my planters, but you do whatever you think looks the prettiest!
Next you want to take your baby succulents out of their current pot. Many will just slide ride out of the pot if you gently tip it over (make sure you have a plastic bag to catch the dirt!). Some may require a bit more effort and I find that gently squeezing the pot (if its plastic) to loosen the soil helps a lot. Once your succulent is out of its pot you need to gently brush away the soil to expose the root system. Some single pots have multiple smaller succulents in them, each with their own root system. You will need to be very careful when separating the root systems.
Once you have taken all the plants out of their old pots and exposed their root systems it is time to put them in their new home! You may notice that your succulents root system wraps around and forms its own “pot” within the soil. This means that the plant is root bound because the roots had nowhere else to grow. These little guys will be extremely happy to be planted in a new larger home. The new soil will be nice and loose so you don’t have to worry if you don’t get them placed exactly right the first time. Gently pull the plant out of the soil and try again.
To pot them in their new pot I use my fingers and make a hole that is deep enough to cover the entirety of their root system. Place the succulent in the hole you’ve created and gently cover the roots with the excess soil. If the plant is particularly top heavy I will gently press down on the soil around its base to help stabilize it. Repeat this step with all your plants.
Once finished you can use your fingers or an old paint brush to remove any soil from the succulent leaves. I typically wait a few days before watering because I don’t want to shock the plants too terribly much right after repotting them. This gives their roots a chance to get used to their new home. If you are worried about them becoming too dry you can lightly mist the soil prior to planting them so they can soak up a bit of moisture before their first watering.
And voila you have a succulent planter!
Do you have a favorite succulent or plant? Where is your favorite place to purchase them? I’d love to hear from you!