RL Tips: Repotting Succulents

Give your succulents a new home with the help of this easy step-by-step guide

Photography: Mark Francis Jesalva

If you love all things green and growing, you’ll find it hard to resist buying pretty succulents. If you’ve purchased them directly from the grower or supplier, they usually come in plastic planter bags or small plastic pots.

Repot them in containers of your choice to make sure they grow properly. Feel free to work with different containers—make sure they match your style and personality. Let this step-by-step guide you.

Prepare the following materials:

Your choice of succulents and cacti

  • A pot or container of your choice

RL Tip: Repurpose old containers such as mugs, teapots, or bowls to give your plant a unique look.

  • Potting soil mix

RL Tip: Succulents need soil with ventilation to dry out the roots. Adding sand or Perlite – a volcanic mineral –will help improve drainage.

  • Gravel, pebbles or rocks
  • Gardening implements such as a small shovel (or small plastic spoons)
  • A small paintbrush 
Follow these steps:

Cover your work area with old newspapers or an old tablecloth and place all your materials close at hand. You may also use plastic gloves to keep your hands dirt-free.

Prep your new container by adding a layer of gravel at the bottom. (Add an extra layer if your pot or container does not have any drainage holes.) Next, add some of the potting soil mix, at least 2/3 of the way. 

Choose a succulent or a small selection of succulents then arrange them the way you'd want it to look like in the container.

You can experiment with monochromatic arrangements by contrasting color combinations or combining plants with different sizes and textures to create an interesting piece.

RL Tip: Consider the water and lighting requirements of succulents before grouping them together. It’s best to place those with similar needs together to make sure that the arrangement will thrive.

Take the succulent and hold it gently in one hand while slowly easing the plant out of the bag or pot. Loosen up the compact soil by massaging the base of the plant until the soil crumbles, taking care not to destroy the roots.



Once you’re ready to transfer the plant to the new container, create a small well in the soil and place your plant in middle. 

Fill up the hole by adding more soil, pressing down on each addition to secure the plant. Do the same to the rest of the succulents until you’ve achieved your desired composition. Make sure each plant is firmly in place.

Add small rocks or pebbles to dress up the soil. Depending on your style, you may also use other decorative elements such as marbles or shells.

Use a small brush to clear away excess dirt and you’re all done!

Display your finished arrangement at home!

Repotting cacti

Love cacti but can’t figure out how to re-pot them without sacrificing your fingers? Here’s a simple technique: create a paper “belt” and wrap it around the cacti. 

This will protect your hands from the spikes but still allow you to have a firm grasp on it. Continue until you’ve removed the cacti from the old pot and transferred and firmly arranged it into the new container.

Do you have tips that you want to share with us? Send your tried-and-tested handy hints plus photos of your cacti and succulents to reallivingonline[at]

More on

RL Tips: Create an Organized Gardening Station

RL Tips: 3 Ways to Arrange Your Succulents

RL Tips: How to Propagate Succulents


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