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Repot your Cacti


Every cacti species is different, in its requirements for growing. This is just a guide to how to repot, and when.

With most low growing, especially globular, types of cacti, it is often best to wait until the crowns  reach the edges of the pot. Once they begin to get root bound, it is time to repot. With taller growing columnars, try to see when the roots are crowding the pots. If the roots are coming out of the bottom you should repot as well. It is best to repot your cacti's in the summer and when the plant is dry.

The general rule about the size of pot you use is it is better to under pot rather than over pot. Especially in the case of slow growing and rot prone species, eg. Astrophytum, Rebutias, Lophophora, Ariocarpus to name a few. The hardier types like the Cereus, Stenocereus, Opuntias, to name a few are usually OK in a larger pot as they are not so water sensitive.

When getting your cacti out of the pot if it is a spiny one wear gloves and I fold newspaper up to put round the plant like a scarf if it is a tallish one, then take out gently, If really pot bound you may have to cut the plastic pot to get it out.If in a clay pot then you will have to try and work away the soil from the top of the pot with a knife or something till you can prise it loose.
Once you have got the cacti out clean off the roots gently to get rid of some of the old compost.

When potting, care should be taken not to damage the roots. Holding it in the middle of the pot (above the bottom) and adding your compost around all edges to center it in the pot is the way to go. when the pot is half full, tap the sides to try and let the mix get into the root mass (if there is one). Once filled, tap again for same reason.

When potting, it is important (especially for the water sensitive species) not too plant it too deep into the pot and not to plant it too high. You don't want the root base to be sticking up above the substrate line, nor do you want half the plant under the substrate. Try and follow where it was before, often there is a clear green and brown border you can see.

And once you have repotted leave a week or two to settle down before watering.Unlike many other plants that are watered directly after planting, cacti should not be. They need time to settle, in dry situations. Once healed, and adjusted, they may be watered. The number one killer of cactus is too much water!

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