When to Water Succulents After Repotting

Succulents are native to different habitats around the world. They come from deserts, semi-arid regions, and rainforests. Regardless of their origin, these hardy plants thrive in little moisture that’s why it’s crucial to know when to water succulents after repotting.

We recommend waiting until the plant has soaked in all the moisture from the freshly prepared potting mix before watering it. Doing it right away at this delicate stage can cause the roots to lose hold of the soil. It can also lead to over-watering and root rot, which is terrible news for your plants.

In this guide, we’ve put together everything you should know about watering newly repotted succulents.

The Best Time to Water Your Plants After Repotting

Your succulent is finally in its new home and you’ve put away your trowel and pruning shears. Now, you’re wondering if you should water your succulents right after repotting.

Your plant is quite vulnerable at this stage, so it’s best to hold off watering for a week. This will give your succulent plenty of time to adjust while soaking in all the moisture from the new soil.

We recommend monitoring the moisture level of the soil after repotting. This way, you can determine the exact time to give your repotted plants a drink.

You’ll want the soil to dry out before you whip out the watering can and give it a splash. Otherwise, you risk overwatering the soil if you do it immediately.

Repotting succulents

Effects of Over-watering After Repotting

Soggy soil cuts off the succulent’s access to oxygen and invites a host of plant issues, from fungus gnats to root rot.

Fungus gnats are easy to spot. Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to detect root rot once it has spread out to the leaves and stems.

This means there’s already considerable damage underneath before you notice any outward signs. So, watch out for these symptoms of root rot:

  • Pale or yellow foliage
  • Unstable or wobbly plant
  • Brown mushy roots
  • Wilting stems

Like with other houseplants, it’s easier to treat an underwatered succulent than one that’s been overwatered. However, both can exacerbate the transplant shock that your plant is probably going through at this time.

Causes and Effects of Repotting Stress

Your succulent may show signs of stress for these reasons:

  • Physical damage to the plant, such as bruising or scarring
  • Significant reduction in plant size
  • New soil and environment
  • Repotting done at the wrong time (early spring/fall is ideal)

Here are some common effects brought on by repotting stress:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Wilting
  • Yellowed leaves

How Often to Water Succulents After Repotting

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Succulents can come from dry, semi-dry, and moist habitats, so their care may vary from species to species. That said, watering your succulents takes a lot of patience and common sense.

Yet, it’s nearly impossible to establish a strict schedule for hydrating your succulents. Several factors play a role in how much water they need or how often to give it to them, including:

  • Succulent type
  • Lighting condition
  • Soil type
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Pot material (terracotta is absorbent, whereas plastic isn’t)

One thing that’s true about all succulents, though, is their impressive water-storing capabilities. They have shallow roots that can collect water effectively. The waxy coating on their leaves also helps to fight heat and retain moisture.

On top of that, they have a unique method of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM). Unlike other plants, they only open the tiny pores on their leaves to purge excess water at night. This way, they can conserve water during the hot daytime temperatures.

All these features make them drought-tolerant, which is why they don’t require regular watering. Instead, the soil needs to be completely dry between waterings.

However, you shouldn’t wait long enough for your succulent to dry out. If their leaves turn soft and limp, that means they’ve used up their water reserves.

Also Check: What Is the Difference Between Cactus and Succulents?

How to Water Succulents After Repotting

The soak-and-dry method is the most effective when it comes to watering your succulents after repotting. Follow these steps:

  1. Water your plant until the soil is thoroughly soaked.
  2. Let the water drain through the bottom holes.
  3. Remove excess water from the dish tray.
  4. Wait for the soil to dry out before watering again.

The trick here is to water your succulent sparingly to avoid going overboard with watering.

Why Do You Need to Repot Succulents?

If you’ve just bought succulents from a garden center or flower shop, odds are they came in flimsy nursery containers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to move them right away into sturdier, more stable pots where they can settle in their new environment. This is also your chance to spruce up your space with some decorative planters.

Apart from this obvious reason, here’s a quick guide to help you determine if your plants need repotting.

1.   Overgrown Succulents

Perhaps the most compelling reason to repot your succulent is if it’s outgrown its containers. Succulent plants need plenty of room to stretch their legs.

Pots that are too small can restrain the roots and stunt their growth. However, containers shouldn’t be so deep that water accumulates in the potting mix. Remember, succulents never do well in waterlogged soil.

Common signs that your succulent has become too large for its pots and needs repotting are:

  • A compact rootball
  • Roots poking out of drainage holes
  • Waterlogged or poor-draining soil
  • Top-heavy succulent
  • Poor health

2.   Propagating Succulents

You might find that your ‘hens and chicks’ plant has become a dense mat in your rock garden. Or your ‘string of pearls’ is tumbling over the pot and needs a new hanging basket. These are just a couple of examples that your succulent is ready for repotting.

Propagating your plants is the cheapest way to grow and diversify your collection. Plus, you can share your cuttings or exchange them for other species with your succulent-loving friends.

Check out these four methods of succulent propagation:

  • Stem cutting
  • Dividing the pups or offsets, which are the baby plants surrounding the mother plant
  • Single leaf propagation
  • Sowing seeds

3.   Poor Soil

Repotting succulents

Good potting soil for succulents should be coarse, loose, and well-draining. It should stay moist long enough for your plant to plump up its stems and leaves. If the soil dries up within hours of watering, then you need to replace your growth medium and repot your succulent.

In addition, watering can wash the soil out of the container, forcing small soil particles to escape through drainage holes or spill over the edges of the pot. If left unchecked, this can leave your succulent with not enough soil, which means it’s not getting the nutrients it needs.

Plants can also strip the soil of nutrients, and you’ll need to uproot and repot your succulent. Here’s a quick recipe for a DIY succulent potting mix:

4.   Poor Succulent Health

Your succulent sits in a sunny spot on your windowsill. You water it properly and feed it every few months. Yet, for some reason, it still looks like it’s wasting away despite giving it the best care.

That’s when you know it’s time to look beyond the obvious and get to the bottom of the situation. By bottom, we mean to dig the soil and examine it for:

  • Bugs
  • Root rot
  • Fungal or bacterial disease

If your succulent is positive for any of the above, your quick actions can still save your plant. At this point, you need to rinse the roots of contaminated soil and snip off diseased parts. You also have to disinfect the pot with bleach or boiling water if you plan to reuse it.

Read more: What Size Pot for Succulents?

Wrapping Up

Succulents are forgiving plants, but they’re not immune to neglect or improper care, especially after moving them to a new environment. That’s why experts recommend you should never water succulents after repotting.

Instead, wait for a week or until the soil dries out. By that time, their water reserve will have depleted and they’ll be ready to quench their thirst once again.