How to Repot a Large Cactus
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Although a cactus prefers slightly cramped growing conditions in a container, it may come when it outgrows its pot and needs a larger one. When the cactus roots reach the edge of the container, you must repot the cactus. With attention to detail and following recommendations, you can give your large cactus fresh soil in a larger container to continue to thrive.
Choose a container that is only 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) larger than the present container to ensure that you do not place the cactus in a pot that is too large. A cactus in a container too large may begin decaying because the soil will stay too wet. Fill the container approximately halfway with a cactus potting mix.
Wear leather gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms from the cactus. Loosen the cactus from the container by inserting the trowel gently around the perimeter of the container. Wrap the cactus with newspaper so you can grasp it and work it loose from the container carefully.
Transfer the cactus from the old container to the new container. Set the cactus into the container so the plant will be at the same depth as it was growing in the old container. Fill additional soil around the cactus' roots and firm the soil down gently to finish repotting it.
Place the repotted cactus into its regular growing location with direct sunlight. Do not water the cactus for two to three days after repotting.
Tips and Warnings
Repot a cactus in the spring before the plant begins growing actively again.
Install a stake in the new container at the time you repot if your large cactus requires support. Choose a stake that is as tall as the cactus and place it into the container as you place the cactus into the container. Fill soil around both the cactus roots and the stake, then tie the stake to the cactus with stretchy plant ties.
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Tools for Cactus Repotting
Cacti are succulents and tend to favor dry, hot conditions. They store moisture in their pads and use their spines as both defense and to provide some protection from burning hot sun rays. Cactus grown in the home can almost be ignored but they do require light, warmth, water and repotting to refresh the soil. Cactus repotting requires a special soil mix, well-draining container and some tactical protection.
The first issue to deal with is the handling of a spiny plant. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can wrap the plant in several layers of newspaper and secure lightly with tape or twine. You can also use a pair of leather gloves or, for smaller plants, just grab your oven mitts.
One of the safest repotting tips is to use kitchen tongs. You will also need a cactus mix which you may purchase or make. A good combination is equal parts sand or bird gravel, potting soil and leaf mold. Your container must have excellent drainage holes and preferably be unglazed so the clay can direct away and evaporate any excess moisture.
Potting and repotting are crucial parts of growing cactus at home since they ensure you maintain the ideal pot size at all times. As long as you follow the steps outlined in this guide, you can pot/repot your plant without a problem.
Thanks for reading our potting guide, and we hope you learned something new. Let us know if you have any tips or advice you feel like we didn’t share. Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list for awesome cactus gardening tips.
What Is the Best Soil for a Cactus?
Now, the pot won’t be enough to ensure sustained growth for the cactus. We could go as far as to say that soil is more important. You need to choose the ideal one to prevent any unwanted results later on.
For that, we recommend nutrient-rich soil . This includes a compost mix that does the job well. And more importantly, it needs to be easy-to-drain soil, as cacti thrive more in dryness than in moisture.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can always find mixes specially made for cactuses. These mixes include a third of potting soil and two-thirds of combined perlite, peat moss, rock dust, and sand. In the right quantities, these would be enough to make a quality soil mix for cacti.