When To Transplant Cacti

Cacti are low-maintenance houseplants that don’t often need repotting, but when they do, it’s crucial to do it properly and correctly. It is time to transfer your cactus if the roots begin to protrude through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or the plant seems to have outgrown its container. Cacti normally only need to be transplanted every 3–4 years, or every 2–3 years for kinds that grow more quickly.

Sharp spines are a common feature on many cacti species, which serve to defend the plant. This makes transplanting cacti a challenging and occasionally risky task. Use of a towel or folded newspaper is one of the greatest ways to properly transplant a cactus. Purchasing a pair of sturdy, protective gardening gloves is another smart move. Avoid using fabric gardening gloves in place of heavy canvas or leather since most textiles are easily penetrated by cacti thorns.

When the plant has started its active growing season in the early to midspring, it is ideal to transplant cacti. This will make sure the cactus has the energy to bounce back from being handled and adapt to its new surroundings.

Warning

Wearing protective protection while transplanting a cactus is always advised because most cacti contain sharp spikes that are painful and challenging to remove from the skin if they come into touch.

When should a cactus be repotted, and how?

If you notice roots protruding from the container’s bottom, it’s time to repot your cactus. This suggests that it is excessively root-bound. The majority of cacti enjoy being in small areas and can remain in their container for many years. You’ll know it has grown too much and needs repotting when you see roots.

Since they prefer it snug, the container in the next larger size will be suitable. Repotting should be done every two to four years as a general rule. The latter is preferable if you fertilize annually, but if you don’t, you should repot after two years to restore soil fertility. The optimal time is in January or February, when there is active growth.

How can a cactus be effectively transplanted?

Plants should be hardened off (acclimated) to direct sunlight and frost by being placed outside in a location with morning sun and afternoon shade before the last date for frost (early to mid-May). Unless frost is anticipated, avoid going outside at night. Bring plants inside if there is a threat of frost; let them outside the next day if it has warmed up above freezing. To keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, water as needed. Continue for around 10 days, after which the plants will be prepared for planting and unaffected by either frost or sunburn.

All hardy cacti and succulent species need soil that drains quickly. The ideal soils are loamy, rocky, or sandy.

Place succulents and cacti in your garden on a slope, on a raised area (like a berm), or in a level place that doesn’t retain water after rain or snowfall. Pick a bed that receives direct sunlight.

To guarantee appropriate drainage in heavy clay soils, it is crucial to replace half or more of the dirt from a 10×10 or bigger hole with coarse sand and small gravel that have been thoroughly mixed with the remaining soil. To the planting hole, add a handful or two of Yum Yum Mix.

Utilize a planting mixture consisting of two parts garden soil, one part coarse sand, and one part aggregate (coarse perlite, red volcanic scoria or expanded shale). To the dirt, add some Yum Yum Mix.

planting a pot indoors Use Black Gold Cactus Mix and expanded shale to mix with the sand for indoor potted plants (or red volcanic scoria). Use a ratio of 2:1 potting soil to coarse sand to shale or scoria.

Transplanting bare-root is recommended for cacti, agaves, and tap-rooted succulents (Aloinopsis, Titanopsis, and Nananthus). For a few days, allow the soil in the pot to dry out. The earth should slip away from the roots once you remove the pot and gently loosen it. Any broken roots should be cut off. 2 to 3 inches of earth should be added to the planting hole. After that, uniformly distribute the roots like a skirt and fill the hole with the adjusted soil. The soil should be on top of the plant’s base. To keep the plant’s base from drying out and from coming into contact with damp soil during the winter, mulch the area with a 12-inch layer of pea-sized gravel.

Ruschia, Delosperma, Sedums, and other succulents with fibrous roots don’t need to be transplanted bare-root; instead, the root ball should be scored and roughed up like other perennials.

When growing cacti in the summer, place a tall rock or board on their south side to provide shade for 7–10 days. This aids with cactus acclimatization and prevents sunburning of the stem. Using Bobbex ANIMAL Repellent 32 oz., repel rabbits. Ready-to-Use.

Wait a day or two (but no longer) before watering bare-root cacti and tap-rooted succulents to give the roots time to callus over any broken or damaged regions. You can start watering additional succulents right soon. Including Medina Fish Blend as a root stimulant to promote robust new root growth, at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. For the first month or two, use Medina Fish Blend multiple times a day.

fresh plants After transplanting, outside beds should receive watering at first once every 5 to 7 days for around a month. During the summer heat, cacti and succulents benefit from routine irrigation and develop quickly. If there hasn’t been enough rain after the first year, most cacti species simply require a good bath once every 2-4 weeks in the spring and summer.

New outdoor potted plants need weekly watering during the summer, especially if it’s hot and dry outside. Indoor plants in pots require watering every 7 to 10 days.

When should a tall cactus be repotted?

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.

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.

Pot Size

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.

Soil

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.

Repotting

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.