Today, we’ll talk about another aspect of caring for cacti. In this article, we’ll discuss how to repot or transplant a tiny, tall, or huge cactus and share our insider knowledge and advice. We’ll also go over when to repot your cactus and how to do it safely so you don’t get stabbed or harmed. Then we’ll cover how to take care of cacti after repotting them.
Should I repot my cactus and how often should I do it?
Yes, you must repot new cacti every year and adult plants every two years. Because cacti grow and eventually require additional space and new growing material, repotting or transplanting them is crucial.
Growing cacti will require additional room because their roots will spread out inside the soil mixture. By inspecting the rootball at the pot’s base, you can make sure (which should have drainage holes). You should repot your cactus as soon as possible if any roots are showing.
The same holds true if you remove the cactus from its pot and can see its roots wrapping around the root ball. Repotting also typically “wakes up” your cactus and promotes healthy growth.
What is the best time to repot a cactus?
The conclusion of the dormant season is the ideal time to repot cacti. Your cactus will experience less stress as a result. For many plants, the dormant time will vary. However, the majority of cacti that are found in regions with harsh winters are compelled to hibernate from November until the end of February.
General important tips for repotting cacti:
- Before or after transplanting your cacti, avoid watering them. So that roots can continue to grow, let the soil dry. Additionally, you should hold off on watering your cactus for seven to ten days after repotting. This is crucial since handling the plant could harm the roots, and any contact with water could kill the plant.
- Since certain cacti have extremely pointed spines, additional protection is required when repotting them. This can be a spare glove, newspaper, or piece of cloth.
- When repotting cacti, you must safeguard your hands. Several cactus will have longer, sharper spines, so be extra cautious! These nitrile coated gloves, which function far better than leather gloves since they are thicker, are the ideal tools for defending your hands from spiky cacti. Wear two sets of gloves or get gloves with double coating if you have a cactus with sharp spikes.
How to repot your cactusstep by step overview
- Prepare the materials and the area before you start repotting your cactus. Have ready-mixed soil, a plastic container for handling root balls, a brush, nitrile gloves, a wooden stick, some folded newspaper, and shears with micro-tips or scissors on hand as well.
- Select a container for your cactus. A pot should be larger than the one before it and cleaned and sanitized. Avoid choosing a pot that is too big since cactus want a snug fit. When choosing a pot, make sure it isn’t too deep and that it is at least 1-2 inches wider than your cactus. However, there should be enough room for the roots of the cacti to sit comfortably in the pot. Pick the same-sized container and repot your cactus if it has extremely weak roots and hasn’t been growing steadily. This will encourage growth. Add bone meal, egg shells, or time-release fertilizer to the soil. Read more about selecting a container here.
- Add charcoal and some rocks or gravel to the pot you’ll be using. This will facilitate drainage and stop soil from escaping drainage holes. Add some fresh soil mixture on top before planting your cactus.
- Remove your cactus from the pot (we’ll go over how to do it in a moment) and clean the roots of any old soil. If the old soil is difficult to remove, soak it.
How should a cactus be replanted?
When you’ve decided whether to repot your cactus, it’s time to grab your equipment and exchange the old soil or container with the new one. Fresh soil is an excellent idea even though every cactus doesn’t require a new container. Only plants that are pot-bound require a larger pot.
Gently tong, glove, or wrap the plant out of its pot. If the soil is dry, they normally come out easily, but you might need to use a trowel to remove the soil around the edges. Plant the cactus at the same depth it was growing in the old soil after shaking off the old soil. Put it in a bright southeast or east window, filling in the area around the roots with your medium.
Not watering the plant right away while it is accustomed to being handled and new soil conditions is one of the most crucial repotting cactus advices. A few weeks later, you can water the plant, let it dry up, and then water it once more.
When should a cactus plant be potted again?
Cacti come in a wide range of colors, textures, and sizes for their flowers. Cacti can be divided into two primary categories: desert cacti (which are typically armed with spines) and jungle cacti (often without spines and most are epiphytes). You can have an interesting houseplant that is trouble-free and long-lasting if you choose the proper cactus for the right location.
When to repot
As soon as the roots start to peek through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, cacti need to be repotted. Fast-growing plants should typically be repotted every two to three years, whereas slow-growing species should be done so every three to four years. The optimum time to repot cactus is in the spring when they are actively growing. Two days prior to repotting, water the cactus to keep the roots moist but not soggy.
Can you use ordinary soil to repot a cactus?
the ideal potting mixture Because they are succulents, cacti need potting soil that drains effectively in order to maintain the water-scarcity environment to which they have become used. So your typical soil mixture is prohibited.
Do cacti prefer little pots?
Your cactus or succulent plant’s survival depends on the pot size and soil type you choose.
In this section, you will learn how to pot or repot your plant, how to knock out a plant, and how to manage prickly plants, as well as everything else you need to know about properly caring for your cactus or succulent plant.
When they’re young, succulents and cacti can be kept in a dish garden. For a start, the common clay bonsai trays are excellent.
The plants can be moved into their own pots when they become too large. No matter the temperature—45°F or 85°F—the plants will remain the same size if you keep them dry. The plants will rot if you water them in cold weather or when they are dormant.
Avoid overpoting. Rotting roots are frequently caused by overpotting. Put the smaller pot into the larger pot and fill the area in between with gravel if the plant is top heavy. This will provide the plant with a sturdy foundation without putting it at risk of decay.
Cacti and other succulents should be potted in the smallest containers possible. Use a pot for cactus that is just big enough to accommodate the plant. Use a pot that is just a little bit bigger than the root ball for other succulents.
The drainage provided by the holes on the pot’s bottom is insufficient for some plants. Make the hole in a clay pot bigger by using a hammer and a screwdriver. For a plastic pot, use a hot knife or hot ice pick.
In either scenario, take care to avoid burning yourself or breaking the pot. If the clay pot does crack, save the fragments for your subsequent planting endeavor rather than throwing them away.
The potting material is less significant than excellent drainage. A thick layer of gravel or crumbled bricks should be put over the porous soil. More humus (organic matter) is preferred by spineless succulents in their potting soil.
We typically use the terms “heavy,” “organic,” and “light” to describe different types of soil. These definitions mean as follows:
Heavy. This is composed of clay, loam, or good garden soil with roughly one-third humus. It should contain roughly one-third washed builder’s sand or perlite where good drainage is necessary.
Organic. This is humus-rich soil, leaf mold (decomposed leaves), or some other organic material-rich soil. The drainage will be improved by using perlite or coarse builder’s sand.
Light. This describes a material with an open texture that has great drainage and can be kept damp but never wet. Plants that spend time in trees in the natural world benefit from it.
How to Pot
1. Choose a pot that is not excessively huge.
2. Fill the bottom with enough drainage material.
3. Insert your potting material into it until it is roughly one-third filled.
4. Check the plant’s size (make sure it won’t be too high above the pot’s top or too far down in the pot). Unless the plant prefers to move horizontally, in which case it should be placed at one edge, place the plant in the middle.
5. Fill all the crevices between the plant and the pot with your potting medium while holding the plant gently where you want it to stay.
6. Shake the pot to help the soil settle, then gently press the earth down around the roots. Add extra soil if there isn’t enough or if it starts to pack down. Older plants get more earth packed around them than seedlings do. So that there is room for water, leave a space between the top of the medium and the top of the pot.
7. Give the plant water.
The process is essentially the same when working with plants that are already potted, with the exception that you must start by taking the plant out of pot 1.
Sometimes the plant can be readily removed, but other times it can be more difficult. Do not pull on the plant if it is stubbornly refusing to emerge from the pot. The container breaking can be preferable to the plant being damaged or having its top broken off.
How to Knock Out a Plant
If the plant is stuck in its pot, try gently tapping the pot against something hard, like wood or concrete, to see if you can squirm it out.
If it doesn’t work, try carefully slicing the inside of the pot with a knife to see if the plant will now emerge.
If that doesn’t work and the pot is made of clay, use your hammer to smash it with a few controlled strokes that won’t harm the plant.
Take part of the soil around the root ball out once the plant has been removed from the pot. Prune away a portion of the roots if they appear to be overgrown.
You can take a knife and simply chop off the outside of the root ball, including the roots, on some plants where the roots become extremely, extremely thick. If you wish to retain your plant in the same-sized container, you can also utilize this root pruning technique.
You can keep your plant “growing on” in the same container for years by first cutting some of the roots and then portion of the top.
How to Handle Spiny Plants
Handle prickly plants by wrapping them in a narrow band of newspaper. Using the band like a belt or harness, wrap it around the plant. For each plant, use a new band.
Gloves are uncomfortable to handle because the small spines break off inside the glove and the huge spines stab right through the glove.
Actually rather simple to propagate are cacti and other succulents. Learn everything you need to know about successful plant propagation in the section that follows.
How can a cactus be safely replanted?
There aren’t many ways to repot a cactus without getting pricked and hurt. Wearing nitrile coated gloves (may be two pairs or double coated) and utilizing folded newspaper may be sufficient to handle small to medium sized cactus.
Utilizing silicone tongs is an additional technique for handling little cactus (not metal ones). Be very cautious with your cactus and avoid pinching it. Use foam sponges or anything comparable as well.
You must be careful not to harm the roots that are wrapped around the main root ball. Try to remove a cactus from its pot by turning the pot vertically. If you wait three to five days before repotting your cactus, it should be simple to perform.
Use this technique if your cactus isn’t coming out on its own. The top soil layer should be removed with a thin wooden stick or something similar. Then, while holding the cactus and using folded newspaper for particularly spiky cacti, gently tap the pot against the table to see if you can slide it out of the pot. By pulling your cactus in this way, you risk damaging its incredibly thin and delicate roots.
How to handle and repot a large or tall cactus with sharp spines
You must exercise extra caution if your cactus is large and tall, grows outdoors, or both. When moving your cactus, put on your nitrile-coated gloves and use some folded newspaper. Additionally, you could wrap your cactus in a large towel.
If you’re having trouble getting your cactus out of the pot, try using a wooden stick to push the rootball out of the drainage holes.
You can smash the pot or chop the cactus if nothing else works to get it out. If your cactus still won’t emerge after you cut the pot, you can use a hose to spray water on the roots of the plant. This will soften a rootball. You don’t want to hurt your plant, so always be kind. Remember that you must wait for the roots to dry after spraying them before potting them into a new container.
To ensure that the roots of your cactus dry out, hang it. Put something underneath the huge cactus to provide support (for example some bars under the cactus so it is hanging). Additionally, hanging it outside the pot will help the roots dry out more quickly.
Before planting the cactus, you must dry the roots if you used a hose to shower them.
After you have removed your cactus from an old pot
You must clean the rootball and get rid of old soil after taking the cactus out of its old container. Dry soil should make this task simple. However, if the soil has dried and you are unable to clean it, put the rootball in a plastic container and soak it for 20 to 40 minutes in warm water (about 122 degrees F or 50 Celsius).
Wash the rootball with water to remove any remaining soil after it has softened. Dry the rootballs of your cactus for 12 to 30 hours to ensure full drying.
A helpful suggestion would be to hang your cactus so that the roots are upright. This will hasten the cacti’s transition to a new pot and preserve the roots’ healthy natural shapes. The rootballs of your cacti will sprout more plants if you wash and soak them in warm water.
Take a look at cacti’s roots
Examine the roots after removing your cactus and removing any remaining soil by shaking (or washing) it off. You must inspect the roots to look for rotting and parasites. You must use micro-tipped pruning shears to remove any visible rotting roots.
Another option is to use tiny scissors. However, be sure to sanitize the blades with alcohol, a flame, or boiling water and antibacterial soap before cutting any bad roots.
Wash off the dirt and dab some alcohol on cuts if you notice any damage or cuts in the roots. Before putting the cactus in the pot, let the roots dry.
Place the cactus in its new pot
Place your cactus in the pot after looking at the roots. It ought to already be partially filled with gravel or rocks, charcoal, and dirt on top. Insert your cactus, then begin slowly filling in the sides with soil.
While adding the soil and once you are finished, pat the earth lightly without using any instruments. Be sure to leave the top layer’s soil free by 1-2 inches. Your cacti may be more susceptible to root rot if the dirt is overfilled in the pot.
You can water your cactus after about 5-7 days. Add extra soil on top if it has greatly drained. Two to three weeks after repotting, a good cactus should become sturdy and feel at ease in the soil. Your cactus’ roots are unhealthy if it is unsteady and need additional support.
What to do after you have repotted your cacti
You must give your cactus a 7–10 day period of relaxation after repotting. When your cactus are resting, avoid watering them. Additionally, throughout these 7 to 10 days, you need to stop any water from the cacti’s stem from evaporating. The stem will dry out if you don’t do this, which is really crucial.
Take your cactus to a cool, dark location, and cover it with a white transparent plastic veggie bag to make sure water is not evaporating from the stem. Spray your cactus with little warm water after 4-5 days and cover it again if the room becomes too hot. Take the cactus out and plant them in their permanent location after 7–10 days have passed. Additionally, after repotting, water them for the first time.
During the first month or two, you may notice additional growth and possibly even flowering if the repotting was successful.
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