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Should I Transplant This Succulent?

(Zone 5a)

I bought it at Lowe's back in April, but don't remember its name. They were sold along side the cactus plants. There has been some new growth, in spite of my usual black thumb. I don't need to water it often and it sits in a room with a south facing window.

I am pretty pathetic with any plant, but if my normal care doesn't kill it a transplanting usually does it in. If I need to transplant can you walk me through this a little? What would be the best type of soil, and does it need to be a deep pot, or maybe more of a shallow but wider one?

It does seem to be attracting fruit flies, is there a remedy for this? We have cups of vinegar and soap nearby to help with that, but there are still some around. I spray it occasionally with an insecticidal soap, but don't want to overdo it. I have a hanging plant of some variety, but I haven't seen any fruit flies congregating around that.

Thank you so much for your help.

Thumbnail by Chillybean
Fargo, ND(Zone 4a)

I think it looks ok in the pot for a little bit yet, but then again I am no expert. Check the bottom to see if roots are growing out of the drainage holes or if you can lift the plant out of the pot to see if the roots are coiling a lot. If not then it is probably fine for a while. Some plants even like to be a little bit root bound, but again I have no experience with this succulent.

As far as the flies go, they might actually be fungas knats. They live in moist soil so the best way to discourage them is to keep plant soil pretty dry (not always easy to do depending on the plant). Also, you can put a piece of yellow paper or stiff plastic on a stick, cover it with vasaline, and put it in the pot next to the plant. It just acts like fly paper and catches them as they are buzzing around (this would probably help regardless of whether they are flies or knats). If they are fungas knats, I can speak from experience that they don't really harm the plant, but they are annoying and very hard to actually get rid of permanantly. I got them in my plants last summer, and by late fall they were gone. I thought I had beat them, but they came back in the spring much to my dismay, though not as badly as last year.

Hope at least part of this helps!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I agree that the "fruit flies" are probably fungus gnats. While the adults don't hurt plants, the larvae can munch on the roots, although typically the excess moisture that's causing it to be a hospitable environment for the gnats will kill your plant faster than the gnat larvae will. Generally when I've had problems with them, things have been too wet even for normal plants, and since this is a succulent, you most likely need to back off significantly on your watering. I can't tell from your picture whether your pot has drainage holes or a saucer that it sits in--if you're not watering frequently, you can still overwater if the container doesn't have drainage holes, or if it drains into a saucer and you just let water sit in the saucer instead of dumping it out shortly after you finish watering.

Fargo, ND(Zone 4a)

Haha I knew something didn't look right but I was in too much of a hurry at work to fix it....silent g not a k in gnats. My bad!

(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the info. I just looked at the plant and yes, there are drainage holes at the bottom and there are very little roots I can see right now. When it is time to transplant what type of pot would be best for this fellow?

I knew I was hardly remembering to water it, so didn't think that was the problem, but I talked to my "little green thumb" and found out he had, so I asked him to leave it be. We'll see if that helps. Would you water something like this once a month?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Nobody can tell you an exact watering frequency--it's going to vary depending on the size of the pot, how well your soil drains, how warm it is where the plant is, etc. With succulents, you want to make sure the soil has a chance to dry out a bit in between waterings--two ways to check are by testing how heavy the pot is, or by sticking your finger down a few inches into the soil and see how wet it feels. When the pot feels light or when you stick your finger in and it's dry a few inches down, then you can water. I generally advise people to start off with the finger test, but along the way you can also learn to tell when it's dried out by how heavy/light the pot feels. I generally do that with my potted plants since it's faster & less messy.

Victoria, TX(Zone 9a)

The soil mix I use for all my succulents is................
1/3 pearlite 1/3 spaghum moss and 1/3 miracle grow cactus and succulent soil. I have had great success with this mixture. I also let my succulents dry out completely before watering them.
They will need more in the summer and growing season of course . Especially if kept outdoors like mine. Mine also get morning sun only due to the severe heat here. Cut back on the waterings in the winter.

Good Luck!

(Zone 5a)

Thank you for the additional info about watering and soil. When I need to transplant I want to get something prettier than the pot that its in now. I tend to keep my house plants indoors all year as I used to take them out, but they'd be all buggy when I brought them back in. I am sure there was a cure for that, but I knew less about plants then than I do now.

Due to a child developing an allergy to cats, we had to take our cat to the adoption place, but this means I can freely put plants around the house again. She had always eaten them. We kept our few in a south facing bathroom and tried developing the habit of always closing the door. I want to try and experiment a little to add more greens around the house.

One interesting thing you can do with these plants is remove the lower leaves. This will focus growth on the apical meristem and will cause the plant to elongate, forming a tree-like specimen. They look really cool and can be kept in a much smaller pot!

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

All top growth/extension originates in apical meristematic regions, so removing lower leaves doesn't 'cause' the plant to focus growth there - it's the only place from which the plant CAN grow/extend. Natural senescence (aging) will cause the plant to shed older proximal foliage after it salvages what nutrients & other biocompounds it can from the leaves to be shed. Removing viable leaves proximal to the apical meristem actually inhibits growth/extension by reducing the photosynthesizing surface of the leaves, which reduces the plants food supply, which is what fuels growth.


Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)


I found most success in transplanting when the succulent got bigger that the pot. Is this a good method?

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

No. We only need to consider the degree to which roots are congested, and act to repot or pot up at the most appropriate time. We can grow very large plants in very small pots, if paying proper attention to the roots. Conversely, we can also grow very small plants in very LARGE pots if the soil is appropriate - that is to say, if the soil is porous and free draining enough that it supports little or no perched water. When it comes to choosing appropriate pot size, the current size of the plant and the size of the root system in particular, only need to be considered if you're using a water-retentive soil. When using a soil like the gritty mix, seen below, there is no upper limit to pot size and minimal pot size should be large enough to comfortably accommodate the size of the current root mass plus at least 1 year's growth (assuming you're repotting at the appropriate point in the growth cycle - usually very late spring [just before Father's day] to mid-July).


Thumbnail by tapla
Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

OK thanks ill do that from now on. That means I could grow a jade plant cutting in a 1/2 inch pot lol!

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Mmmhmm - in case you need proof:



Thumbnail by tapla
Carmel, CA

i was given many plants some time ago (a very long 'some time'); i'm quite sure they need transplanting:
all cramped (hard to see any real soil), pale, many reaching up on old looking, woody stalks.

how to approach this?
what sort of soil?

i'm in monterey, california area, a few miles inland; apartment dwelling, pots only.

many thanks.

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