Repotting cacti is a task some may consider daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy and fun. Most cacti require repotting every 7 years or so, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need one of those huge pots.
The key is to have the right soil and to follow some simple steps to get your cactus back to perfect health.
Cactus plants are extremely popular as house plants in the world right now. They are easy to take care of and can generally survive in hardy conditions with extreme ease.
However, just because these cactus plants can survive doesn’t mean that they’re able to thrive. There are many ways to ensure your cactus is healthy.
Like any other plant, the cactus plant also needs certain things to grow – water, sunlight, and nutrients.
However, like any other living thing, the environment of a cactus is also important. To ensure your cactus has definite room to grow, you may need to report it at any point in time.
If you’re a beginner in taking care of plants, you might not feel ready to repot a cactus. This thought might stem from thinking repotting is something that takes up a lot of time and effort, the kind you can’t give.
If you think this way, you need to read this article. Sometimes repotting a cactus becomes a necessary hassle that people have to engage in so that the cactus plant can grow beyond the boundaries of the smaller vessel.
In the article below, we will talk about ways to repot a cactus safely from scratch.
Table of Contents
Is Repotting Cactus Plants Important?
Cactus plants are similar to other plants because they have similar requirements. However, they have drastically different adaptations and dimensions, so some people may get confused about the right time to repot cactus plants.
The urgent need for repotting comes from the cactus plant you have. If you have a columnar cactus, you may need to repot it, moving it to a bigger pot, much sooner than if you had a Christmas cactus.
If you don’t repot cactus plants at the right time, your plants might die one after another. If plants aren’t given the right amount of space, they tend to get knotted and congested, which can cause different problems in their growth.
Thus, plants require space to grow, which they can only get in a bigger pot. You can say that it’s crucial to repot cactus plants.
Repotting plants gives them room to grow bigger and healthier. It also helps return nutrients to the soil so that the plants can grow even more.
When you repot cactus plants, you’re essentially adding more soil and nutrients back into the plant.
Thus, this nutrition can be exactly what the plant needs to grow. If you’re unsure about the frequency of repotting, it helps to repot the plant whenever you find that its growth is less.
So, you can likely repot a plant once every two to four years.
There can be other reasons that you’ve repotted a cactus plant. You may have added too much water to the plant, and now, it’s not growing.
Sometimes, people will repot the cactus plant to save it from rot. We can infer from these cases that providing plants with the right environment is extremely important.
If you feel like your cactus plant is not performing as well as it should, you must try changing up the entire environment of the plant by attempting a repot.
Is There a Certain Time/ Period to Repot?
We have mentioned how repotting a plant is important for its growth. You should also bear in mind that repotting can put a cactus plant in a space of extreme distress.
Thus, you must ensure that everything else is pleasant when making a move. If you take a weak cactus and put it against the odds of forming roots all over again, then you’re setting it up for disaster.
However, if you take a relatively healthy cactus, the odds are more likely to be in your favor.
The time of the year also affects how well your cactus plant can hold on to the soil and grow. The best time for repotting a cactus is when it’s in the active growing season.
In this active season, the plant will be at its healthiest. Another indicator of knowing that your cactus is well taken care of is when the roots start to appear through various drainage holes at the bottom.
Depending on the level of growth your cactus shows, you’ll be repotting every two years or repotting every four years.
The timeline that you set up for repotting is just an approximation. You can repot in less than two years and even after four years; the amount of time that needs to pass before you repot depends on the age of the cactus and how quickly it can grow.
If you fertilize your cactus plant more often, you’ll find that it has a greater growth rate. Due to this growth rate, you can use the same soil for a while without considering repotting.
If the cactus grows too fast, you may have to shift it to other pots to display its growth.
Be careful about every variable involved when you’re thinking about repotting a cactus. So, you’ll have to think of possible negative outcomes and work on avoiding them during the repotting.
Steps to Report Cactus/Succulent
You may think repotting cactus plants is just as easy as repotting any other plant. However, this isn’t the case.
Cactus plants have needle-like spines that get in the way of many things. They act as protection, which means that they can harm you in the process.
So, you have to be very careful about protecting yourself when repotting. You will have to buy gardening gloves that are thick enough to protect you from any needles.
When working with the cactus plant, use tongs since it is delicate during the repotting process.
Step 1: Gather Materials
Like any process, you will have to gather materials before getting started. You will need protective gloves, metal tongs, paper or newspaper, cacti potting mix or soil, and a new pot.
Use a cactus potting mix instead of a standard plant soil mix because the cactus needs to get specific nutrients.
The cactus plant is special, and so are its features. As a beginner, you can’t know what soil is best for the cactus plant itself; thus, it’s better to opt for a store-bought version instead.
When choosing the pot, you must ensure it fits the cactus and has the necessary drainage holes.
Step 2: Pick the Container or Pot
The pot in which you are transferring the cactus plant has to be different from your cactus plants’ current pot. Having the right container is extremely necessary for your plant.
Cactus plants are tricky because they need enough room to grow but can’t grow in too large of a space. Cactus plants have consistent growth rates.
So, it’s unlikely that they will have rapid growth. Instead of getting a big pot, you can choose a pot that is one size greater than the pot your cactus plant is in currently.
If you’re confused about the material, you can go for a terracotta or clay pot. This earthenware helps roots breathe as they are.
You will have to drill in a drainage hole in these pots so excess water can escape. If you let the water stay, the cactus plant’s roots will rot, negatively affecting its growth.
The drainage hole can also act like a “check engine” light as it informs you when the cactus is done with the current pot and can move on to a new one.
Step 3: Gather Your Supplies
Make sure you have all the materials in one place before starting the process. Wear the gloves and then get to work.
Step 4: Remove the Cactus from its Old Pot
You want to loosen the soil around the cactus by using a dull knife. You want to remove the plants and roots and then use the tongs to shake the cactus loose.
You can use newspapers to wrap the cactus in so you don’t hurt yourself. Then, you can slowly allow the roots to shake off the soil.
Step 5: Check the roots
You should ensure you’re not repotting the cactus if it has any rotting roots. Therefore, you should look at the roots and ensure there’s no rot.
Also, make sure no pests or diseases can potentially harm the roots’ growth. If you find any roots not doing well, remove them by cutting them using shears or scissors.
Step 6: Repot the Cactus
Once you’ve picked your pot, work on repotting. You will put some of the potting mixes on the bottom of the new container.
Then, you can place the cactus accordingly. You can place the cactus in the pot so that it’s at its necessary depth. Fill the pot until the cactus is stable.
Points to Remember After Repotting to Keep Cacti Healthy
Once your cactus has settled into its new pot, you can consider moving it to a new spot that will affect its growth differently.
You want to ensure that the cactus plant gets the right amount of sun, water, and nutrients. However, you also need to give it some challenges.
When you change spots, don’t water the plant right away. Give it time and space to acclimate.
Cacti are incredibly hardy and can be transplanted with ease as long as nothing is damaged. Be sure to handle the cactus gently with tongs.
You don’t want to squeeze the cactus tight as you could damage the plant. With the right care, your cactus will continue to thrive.
Pots for Cactus Repotting
The best pots for cactus repotting must have the following features:
- A pot should be around the same size as your cactus. The reasoning behind this is that the cactus doesn’t have roots that are too long. Thus, you don’t want the roots to remain in the middle.
- The best pots for cacti have a cylindrical base. They are short and square-shaped. Don’t use containers that are thin, tall, or too deep.
- Your cactus would make use of all the space in the container. So, make sure you don’t overfill the pot with soil. Cactus plants also need space for drainage, so you should ensure that there’s enough space for it.
Repotting your cactus plant is a must for maintaining the ideal pot size. As long as you follow the procedure mentioned above, you won’t face any problems.
In conclusion, this post has given you all the necessary information on ‘How To Repot a Cactus from scratch‘. Hopefully, this post has helped you and will be able to repot your cactus and make them happy too.