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Repotting Your Christmas Cactus: Step by Step

Christmas cactus repotting
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / chakoteh

When it comes to Christmas cactus repotting, it can be difficult to know when to do it. Follow this easy guide with step by step instructions and learn how to properly care for your plant.

Christmas cacti are lovely winter blooms, bringing in early spring before many other plants. Yet, it can be tricky to know when and how to repot this plant, as they require a different timeline. Read on for the most important Christmas cactus repotting tips. 

When to Repot a Christmas Cactus

If the blooms have started to wilt, it may be time to repot your christmas cactus.
If the blooms have started to wilt, it may be time to repot your christmas cactus.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Schwoaze)

Christmas cacti have lovely flowers that bloom in various hues that sprout in winter. While other plants may need to be repotted when they show new growth, the opposite is true for this special plant. You should look to repot your Christmas cactus when:

  • The blooms are finished: once the flowers have wilted and stopped blooming, in late winter or spring, you can repot the cactus. Do not repot the plant while it is still blooming as it can damage the roots.
  • The roots are showing: if you can see some roots showing through the drainage hole of your pot, it is time to repot the plant.
  • 3-4 years have passed: these cacti can stay happily in the same pot for a few years, and may be damaged if repotted too often. Maintain the correct soil and check the drainage hole for roots, otherwise leave these cacti to be for a few years.

How to Repot a Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus repotting only needs to happen if the plant shows signs of needing it.
Christmas cactus repotting only needs to happen if the plant shows signs of needing it.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / shinichi4849)

If you’re starting to see roots through the drainage hole in your pot, and the blooms have wilted, it’s time to repot your Christmas cactus. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Have the correct soil handy: Christmas cacti need light and well draining soil. If you have other succulents, the soil you use for succulents is adequate for christmas cacti. Or you can make your own using compost, bark, pumice, sand and grit. Add one scoop of the soil to your new pot. If you are purchasing soil, be mindful of its contents and look for peat-free soil. Peat mining is an environmentally damaging process. 
  2. Use a large enough pot: in order to give your cactus a chance to grow larger, choose a pot that is one size larger than the pot you currently have your cactus in and ensure it has a drainage hole so that the roots do not rot.
  3. Remove gently: the roots of the cactus should easily come out of its old pot. If it doesn’t, gently shake the plant to dislodge any soil from grabbing on and take the entire plant out of its old pot and place it in the new. Loosen the roots slightly by giving them a gently squeeze to give them more air flow.
  4. Fill the new pot: once you have added the cactus into its new home, add more soil on top until only one inch remains from the top. Pat down the soil to release any air bubbles.
  5. Give it adequate water: place the cactus in the sink and let water gently flow over the plant until you can see water escaping from the drainage hole at the bottom. 
  6. Find a cool area to start: these cacti need a slightly cooler air flow than other cacti, so once you have repotted, put the cacti aside in a cool place for a few days before bringing it back out to its previous location.
  7. Avoid fertilizer or plant food: it’s important to not give your Christmas cactus too much love after repotting. This generally means a resettling period of approximately 2 weeks without any fertilzer, or even homemade plant food. The plant will experience some shock after being repotted, so it’s best to let it acclimatize first. 

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