- Your cactus, of course
- Clay pebbles, potsherds or other chunky material
- Potting mixfor cacti and succulents
- Protection gloves
- A piece of sturdy fabric or newspaper
- A string
- Scissors or pruners
- A new planter
- Optional: a stick or a hole pincher
There comes a time in every cactus’ life when it longs for a new pot. A prickly affair for you, the plant parent – but a rare occasion, too. Luckily, you’ll only need to repot if one of the cases below apply.
- The cactus is top-heavy or is outgrowing its pot
- You can see cactus roots creep out of the pot. This tells you the cactus root bound and is your cactus way of asking you to give him some more space to grow.
- It has been about two or three years since the cactus got new soil and it’s time to take him out and give him some new soil filled with fresh nutrients.
- Or, like in our case, your cat pushed the poor thing from the sill and peed on the soil, thinking it’s litter (this really happened).
Repoting a cactus: Step-by-Step
Wrap the cactus
Wrap the cactus carefully with a sturdy fabric or newspaper. Here we used a felt cloth that we folded a few times. But really, any sturdy material will do.
Fix the wrap
Fix the cloth or newspaper with a string.
Remove the cactus
Gently remove the cactus from the pot. Wear thick gloves for extra protection.
Shake off and prune the roots
You’ll probably see a packed root system.Tease the cactus roots free with a stick or a hole pincher. Gently separate the roots. This makes it easier for them to spread and grow in the new pot. Prune any dead or foul roots you might see.
Create a false bottom
Fill the bottom of the new pot with a few (clay) pebbles, potsherds or other chunky material. This will help with avoiding water logging.
Fill in the potting mix
Fill the pot three quarters of the way with soil. Make sure you use a special potting mix for cacti and succulents. A standard potting soil retains too much moisture, which can cause the cactus roots to rot.
Place the cactus into the new pot
Place the cactus on top of the fresh potting mix, making sure it is centered. Add a little bit more potting mix around the plant. Do not fill too much soil into the pot, as you want the roots to breathe. Leave some space below the lip of the pot to avoid that water rushes off the sides when you water the cactus.
Secure the cactus
Remove the wrap and gently pat the soil around the cactus until is secure.
Move the cactus to its new home
Most cacti need a sunny and dry spot. A sill with a window facing south would be ideal, especially if you want to encourage the cactus to bloom during the growing season. But an east- or west-facing window will otherwise do as well.
Wait a week with watering after repotting.