6 Guides How to Repot a Small, Tall, And Large Cactus

A cactus is a beautiful succulent plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. It requires very little maintenance and thrives in dry climates. However, they do require repotting every couple of years to maintain their health and beauty. Read on for our guide on how to pot up your cacti!

This blog post will teach you how to plant a cactus so it will thrive in its new home! We’ll show you step-by-step instructions for the process, as well as tell you what tools and materials are needed before we get started! First off, let’s take a look at the tools that are necessary: gloves (garden), spade (garden), garden fork (garden) & watering.

When you should repot your cactus

Yes, you need to repot or transplant your cactus every year for young plants and every 2 years for mature ones. Repotting is also important because the plant will need more space as it grows and gets bigger, so it’s necessary to provide a fresh growing medium too.

A growing cactus will have its roots stretching into the pot area and will need to be repotted as soon as possible. You can check this by examining the rootball from the bottom of your pot (which should have drainage holes). If any roots are sticking out, you need to repot your cactus as soon as possible.

The same goes if you take the cactus out of its pot and see its roots around the root ball. What’s more, repotting stimulates healthy growth in your cactus.

What is the best time to repot a cactus?

You can minimize any negative stress on a cactus by repotting them after they are finished with their dormancy period. Some plants will have more dormant periods than others, but for most cacti that grow in cold climates such as U.S.-based Arizona, they are naturally forced into dormancy from November to the end of February every year.

General important tips for repotting cacti:

  • Before or after transplanting a cactus, allow the soil to dry out to prevent damaging roots. Wait roughly a week after repotting before watering it again, as water can cause plant death.
  • Some cacti have sharp spines, which means you may need to purchase new protection when repotting. Possible protections are newspaper, an extra glove, or cloth.
  • You should always protect your hands when repotting cacti. Some different types of prickly cacti have longer, and more sharp spines, so it is important to wear two layers of protection on your hands such as a nitrile coated style like these that are thicker; this will be better than using thin leather gloves. If you need double the layer of protection with a sharper-spined cactus pot, then get heavier-duty nitrile coatings or use heavier gloves in combination.
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How to repot your cactus – step by step overview

  1. You will need to prepare supplies and space before you start repotting your cactus. That means getting a container, soil mix, gloves made of rubber or nitrile, one or more sticks that are not completely rigid, some newspaper for covering the roots when they’re exposed to avoid dehydration, and some scissors or shears with very sharp blades.
  2. Consider these points when choosing a pot for your cactus. A big enough pot washed the right way, will ensure that it stays hydrated and healthy. Plant so deeper than you typically would meet their needs; water penetration is key for making sure they do not die while sitting in soil.
  3. If your cactus has been not growing consistently, or the roots are very weak, choose a pot of similar size and repot it. Add time-release fertilizer in the soil or add bone-meal or eggshells to help stimulate growth.
  4. Place some rocks or gravel on the bottom of your pot. Put a layer of fresh soil mix before planting your cactus to prevent soil from leaking through the drainage holes.
  5. Remove your cactus from the pot and remove any old soil from the roots. Soak if old soil does not come off easily.
  6. Place your cactus in a pot and gradually fill it with soil.

How to remove your small to medium-sized cactus from an old pot for repotting

There are a few ways to repot your cactus without pricking and hurting yourself. To handle small-to-medium-sized cacti, wearing nitrile-coated gloves (two pairs or double coated) and using newspaper might be enough.

An alternative to the traditional method of handling small cacti is using silicone tongs instead of metal ones. Be gentle and don’t squeeze your cactus plant. You could also use foam sponges or similar material.

Before repotting your cactus, do not water it for 3-5 days to help loosen the roots. After cutting around a wire or plastic pot with scissors, remove each root ball individually and place them in a new pot of soil.

You should find curly roots coming up from the main root ball that needs to be carefully unwrapped or cut straight down the center before going into the vegetable.

If your cactus is not sliding out on its own, use this method. Take a thin wooden stick or else and remove the topsoil layer. Then hold an item from your pot (wear gloves if necessary) and try to slide it out of the pot by gently knocking it against the table. Don’t pull the container as this way you will damage very light and fragile roots!

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How to handle and repot a large or tall cactus with sharp spines

If your cactus is outdoors, or tall & large, you’ll need to be extra careful. Wear nitrile gloves and use newspaper for moving it. In addition, you can wrap the cactus with a big towel.

If your cactus is stuck in the pot, use a wooden stick to push its rootball out through the drainage holes.

If none of these methods work to take a tall or large cactus out of the pot, you can either break the pot or cut it. If you’ve cut the plant with nothing coming out, try using a hose and spraying water on its roots. Be careful not to damage your plant by pulling it too hard! Remember that if you sprayed the root ball, be sure to let them dry before potting it into another container.

Make sure to hang the cactus so that the roots can dry faster. If the cactus is too large, place something underneath it for support (i.e. some bars under the cactus so it is hanging). It’s also better to hang it outside of the pot while its roots are drying so they finish sooner.

After you have removed your cactus from an old pot

After removing the cactus from an old container, wash away any leftover soil. If it is hardened and difficult to remove, place the rootball of the cactus in a plastic container and submerge it in warm water for 20-40 minutes.

After the rootball has softened from watering, wash off any soil with fresh water and then allow your cactus to dry for 12-30 hours.

When you transplant a cactus, hang the plant so that its roots are vertical. This will help acclimate your potted cactus to a new pot sooner and help keep your cactus’ natural healthy shape. When you transplant, carefully rinse off and soak the rootball with warm water in order to stimulate plant growth.

Take a look at cacti’s roots

Once you have removed the cactus and shaken off old soil, examine the roots. To examine them, you will need to check if they are infested with parasites or rotting. If you can find any rotten roots on them then try cutting them off with shears that have small tips.

You will want to use a small pair of scissors or a knife. Before cutting any rotten roots, make sure to sterilize the blades with something like alcohol, flame, or boiling water mixed with an antibacterial soap.

Place the cactus in its new pot

Once the roots have been examined, place your cactus in the pot. It should be filled with some gravel/rocks and charcoal as well as a small amount of soil on top. Slide the cactus into its new home and begin gradually adding more soil to fill it up.

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Be sure to only pat the soil gently with the pot and don’t use any tools while filling it. Leave 1-2 inches of free space at the top of your cacti’s container so that it can breathe.

After 5-7 days, water your cactus. If the soil has sunk down a lot, add some more on top. A healthy cactus should become stable and sit in the soil for an additional 2-3 weeks after repotting. If your cactus is shaky or in need of extra support then its roots are not healthy.

What to do after you have repotted your cacti

After repotting your cacti, you should provide it with a rest period of about 7-10 days. During this time, avoid watering or allowing the plant to dry out from evaporation around its stem. This is very important, otherwise, the plant will dry out.

To keep your cactus healthy, place it in a cool dark space and cover it with a piece of white transparent plastic. If the room becomes hot spray water onto the plant after 4-5 days. After 7-10 days, return to its permanent location and give it an initial watering for the first time since being repotted.

If you are successful in potting your plant, you will notice the plant “bloom” with extra growth and even foliage during the first two months.

Summary

A cactus is a succulent plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. It requires very little maintenance and thrives in dry climates. But, they do require repotting every couple of years to maintain their health and beauty. Read on for our guide on how to pot up your cacti. Allow the soil to dry out before watering it, as water can cause plant death.

Consider these points when choosing a pot for your cactus. How to repot your cactus – step by step overview
How to handle and repot a large or tall cactus with sharp spines. Before repotting your cactus, do not water it for 3-5 days to help loosen the roots. An alternative to the traditional method of handling small cacti is using silicone tongs instead of metal ones. When you transplant a cactus, carefully rinse off and soak the rootball with warm water in order to stimulate plant growth. After removing the cactus from an old container, examine the roots to check if they are infested with parasites or rotting.

If you find any rotten roots, cut them off with a small pair of scissors or knife. After repotting your cacti, you should provide it with a rest period of about 7-10 days. A healthy cactus should become stable and sit in the soil for an additional 2-3 weeks. If your cactus is shaky or in need of extra support then its roots are not healthy.

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