Repotting Christmas Cactus Plants

Repotting Christmas cactus is not the easiest part of growing one. How do you know when your Christmas cactus needs to be potted up? How big a pot do you use? What kind of soil mix is best? I will answer these and other questions about growing Christmas cacti.

Pink-flowered Christmas cactus in a terra cotta colored plastic pot.

Christmas Cactus Care covers the growing needs of the Zygocactus. Once you've been growing a Christmas cactus for a few years, it will need to be repotted. Once the plant has become so large that you can barely see the pot, it's time to either shift it into a larger container or divide it.

Another way you can tell that your Zygocactus needs a bigger container is when its top growth becomes heavy enough to tip the old pot over. This is undesirable because the plant's stems are very brittle and will break at the slightest provocation.

Perform this operation in the spring when the plant is not in bloom.


Repotting Christmas Cactus Plants

My overgrown Zygocactus, ready to be repotted.

This Zygocactus has overgrown its 4 inch pot and is ready to be potted up.

Newly repotted Christmas Cactus plant.

Newly repotted Christmas Cactus plant settling into a 6 inch pot.

Propagation Tip:

The trickiest part of this project is trying not to break the fragile stems while shifting the plant from one pot to the next.

No matter how careful you are, a few stems will break off.

Stick these into a small pot of fresh mix and start yourself another plant.

The first thing you need to do is decide if you can accommodate a larger plant. A Christmas cactus plant can spread to 3 feet wide when growing in a 12 inch pot. If you don't have a space that wide, it might be better to divide your plant and make 2 smaller plants out of it instead.

Usually a pot of Christmas cactus will consist of at least 3 rooted cuttings. When you slip the root mass out of the pot, cut it apart leaving at least one main stem (but preferably more) in each division.

Pot each division into a pot the same size as the one this plant was growing in before you divided it.

If you are shifting the plant, intact, into a larger container; choose a pot just 1 or 2 inches larger than the one the plant is growing in now. Too large a pot will encourage root rot.

Use a coarse, peat-based soil and pot the plant at the same level it was at previously. Firm the soil and water it well. Now set the pot in the shade until you see new growth. Then you can shift it into brighter light and begin feeding it on a monthly basis.

Use a liquid fertilizer at half strength for the first few feedings. Be careful of over watering the plant as the roots need air in order to thrive.


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Related Pages:

How to Repot Bonsai Trees

Repotting Orchids Made Simple

Cactus Garden Design Tips

Orchid Cactus Growing Tips

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