If you grow succulents in pots or the ground then there may come a time when they need to be transplanted. Even though succulents like growing in tight spaces they may outgrow a pot. The position in your garden might become shaded and the succulent needs to be moved to a sunnier one or simply because they have overgrown an area.  You may want to transplant a succulent from a pot to the ground. Whatever the reason the question may arise – Can you transplant succulents?

The answer is: of course you can !  Succulents are not like other plants that turn up their toes and die if they are moved. They are very adaptable to pruning, transplanting, tolerate drought and numerous other situations.  They have very shallow roots that makes them very easy to transplant. They are the easiest plants to transplant.

Transplanting from pot to ground
If you decide to transplant a succulent into the garden you will need to consider the following:

Echeveria succulent

a) how much sun or shade has been received in the pot
If the succulent has received only morning sun in the pot the easiest transition to transplanting into the garden is to find a spot that receives the same type/amount of sun.  If you transplant to a position that receives full sun in the afternoon the leaves will get sun burnt as they wont be conditioned to this amount and type of sun intensity. Conversely, if the pot has received full sun and the garden area is shaded for part of the day it will be coping with different conditions.The succulent will ‘not’ die but will take time to grow back to its previous condition in the pot while is acclimatises.

If you want to transplant to different sun conditions and want to avoid the sun burnt leaf situation you can put the pot in the garden position and increase the amount of time it spends in that position until the plant becomes used to it. When you see that the succulent is doing well (in the pot) in that area of the garden you can go ahead and transplant it in the ground.

b) how often you have watered the succulent
The succulent will receive annual rainfall when planted in the garden so keep this in mind when you choose the position.  If you have a very wet winter it may affect the appearance of the succulent.  Planting succulents under trees is often a good idea as the tree roots will use a lot of the water in the ground.  (as long as it is a sunny position under a tree!)

c) the type of soil/ground area
I have planted all of my succulents directly into soil in my garden and have not used special succulent potting soil. Succulents can survive in many soil types except probably clay which holds water rather than letting it pass through. A good tip for succulent planting is to build a small mound of soil and plant them in the top of the mound so that any rainfall runs off. This is the opposite of advice for normal plants when you dig a hole and put the plant in so water stays around the roots of the plant.

d)best time to transplant
I successfully transplant succulents at any time of year but general advice is : autumn is best for succulents with a winter growing season and spring is best for summer growing succulents. If you transplant the succulent into the garden and it doesn’t do well you can dig it up and move it to a different position until it does thrive.

See before and after photos below (7 month growing period) of one of my succulent gardens.

Succulent Garden

Succulent garden planted – October 2016

Succulent Garden Australia

May 2017

When they have outgrown the pot
Succulents will happily grow squashed in any crevice or rockery and also any pot.  Its sort if their ‘thing’ to do so. It will not kill them to be squashed but they would be happier if they had more room to spread and grow.  The more room they have the further they will spread.  (see below)

Echeveria Elegans

You can transplant a succulent into another pot the same way you would transplant any other plant.  Choose a larger pot, put some potting soil in, carefully upturn the succulent pot and put in the new pot.  The only difference would be not to water the new pot straight away. When you have transplanted a succulent, whether it be in the ground or another pot.  Do not water it for a couple of days (at least) so that it becomes used to its new surroundings and the roots can heal.

The photo below is a good example of a pot which I need to transplant into a bigger pot.

Echeveria outgrowing its pot Echeveria pups

Transplanting from one area to another
If you want to move a succulent from one part of your garden to another.  It is as easy as finding an area with similar sun conditions, digging it up and moving to the new area.  If it does not do well after a month or so you can transplant it again. Most succulents will thrive and prosper in any soil in the garden with the right amount of sun and with soil that drains well.