My idea for my latest YouTube video was to show you how to use tweezers and kitchen tongs to repot a spiny succulent without touching it. For my overgrown corn-cob euphorbia, I picked an art pot with the perfect size, color and pattern. But after I tried unsuccessfully to slide the spiky succulent out of its old pot, I discovered (yikes!) it was firmly stuck.
How to extract it without harming it...or myself? Well! What a great opportunity to show you how to repot a stuck spiny succulent---a tricky, not uncommon problem. (Btw, in the video it sounds like I'm damaging my table, but it's fine.)
How to repot a stuck spiny succulent: Video stills
Tools and Materials
- Pot and spiny succulent
- Potting soil
- Trowel (hand shovel)
- Long-handle tweezers
- Kitchen tongs
- Optional: Turntable, pebble topdressing, paper towel, cheap paintbrush, pumice
Assemble tools and materials. Tidy and prune the plant. Use long-handle tweezers to remove debris from its center. Use kitchen tongs to grasp and pull the plant out of the old pot. If it won't come out, check to see if roots are growing out the pot hole. If so, snip them off. If the plant still won't come out, insert a pointed object (like a pencil, chopstick or long-handle tweezers) into the hole and push up. (In the video I use some force to do this, pounding the bottom of the tweezers on the table.)
If the root ball is still stuck, insert tweezers into the pot at an angle, push down so they grasp the root ball, and raise them---root ball and all---by using the edge of the pot for leverage.
Once plant and root ball are out of the pot, use a soft paintbrush to remove remaining bits of dirt and debris. Add enough potting soil (I amended mine 25% with pumice) to the new pot so that the crown of the plant rests about an inch lower than the rim. Add more soil as needed to cover the root ball, pressing firmly to anchor it.
Conceal soil with topdressing. I used small rounded pebbles that repeat the pot's color and pattern. Water the plant to clean it and settle its roots. Place it where you'll enjoy it and it'll receive optimal light. After several months, my corn cob euphorbia's tips had turned pink. Beautiful!
Have questions or comments? I appreciate hearing from you. Please post them in the Comments section below.
Find succulents and top dressings online at Mountain Crest Gardens
Watch the new video: "How to Repot a Stuck Spiny Succulent" on YouTube (5:47)
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