Are you facing the task of having to repotting cactus? The thought of having to repot a cactus can be somewhat intimidating.
How to repot a cactus plant indoors? How do you handle all those prickly spines? It really isn’t that hard to do you just need to know how to not get hurt.
When to Repot a Cactus Plant
Due to the fact that it is always growing (just as any plant), it is bound to overgrow the initial pot. And this necessitates a change for your cactus to keep glowing.
You will know when to repot a cactus plant if you see roots coming out the bottom of the container. This indicates it is overly root bound. Most cacti find small spaces very cozy and can stay in their container for years. The sight of roots will let you know it has expanded too much and will need repotting.
Typically between 2-4 years, your cacti require repotting, don’t you wish you had a new home this often? Right below, you’ll learn about repotting a cactus (the right way) without killing your plant.
General important tips for repotting cactus
Don’t water your cacti before or after you transplant them. Let the soil dry so that roots stay intact. Also, wait for a week to 10 days after repotting before you water your cactus again. This is very important, because you might damage its roots while handling, and any contact with water can cause plant’s death.
Some cacti have very sharp spines, so you will need an extra protection for repotting. This can be newspaper, an extra glove or cloth.
You will need to protect your hands for repotting cactus. Some cacti will have longer and sharper spines, so double up your protection! The best supplies for protecting your hands from prickly cacti are gloves. If you have a cactus with sharp spines, wear two pairs of gloves or get gloves with double coating.
A good soil mix is crucial in repotting cactus. It should be gritty, well-draining, and slightly acidic to provide an optimum environment where the roots will establish. Hence, a potting mix made of 70% inorganic materials and 30% organic materials is recommended.
Inorganic materials commonly used are perlite, sand, grit, and pumice while the most common organic materials are regular potting soil, coco coir, compost, and peat. Experienced gardeners use a mixture of more than two materials to utilize the advantages of each. For example, pumice is lighter than sand but provides better aeration so a mixture of both as inorganic components will keep the medium stable and well-draining.
Mixing your own potting blend may be a trial and error process but it is best to be familiar with what works for your cacti to keep them healthy. When in doubt, there are succulent and cactus potting mix available commercially you can use instead
How to Repot a Cactus
You Will Need
- Tea towel or sheets of newspaper
- Slightly larger pot
- Free-draining compost or cactus compost
- Horticultural grit
- Watering can
Fold a tea towel into a loop, or roll layers of newspaper. Wrap it securely around the body of the cactus to protect your hands against the sharp spines.
Carefully lean the plant, in its pot, onto its side and, using the tea towel to grasp it, gently slide the plant out of its pot.
Choose a new pot one size bigger than the original and half fill it with specialist cacti compost or a sharply draining mix.
Check the roots for signs of pests or disease and gently tease out any roots that have become compressed, with a fork.
Use the looped tea towel to help you lift the cactus into its new pot, positioning it at the same depth as it was in its previous pot.
Fill in around the root ball with more compost, firming it gently to remove air pockets and then top-dress with grit. Water.
Caring for your newly potted cactus
Once your cactus is happily sitting in its new home, put it back in the same location it was thriving in before. If there was something wrong with the environment (for example, it didn’t have enough light), this is also a great time to try out a new spot! Although you’ll be tempted to water right away, you should let the cactus acclimate to the new pot for about a week before watering regularly again.
Cacti are notoriously hardy and can handle transplanting with ease so long as nothing was damaged. Be sure to always use metal tongs gently, without squeezing tight as you could puncture the plant. With the right care, your cactus will continue to thrive.