My sweet friend and neighbor was discarding some cacti she no longer wanted.
I was more than delighted to take it after having just shopped for cactus and succulents a few weeks ago.
Hello?! Sticker shock! Cacti is EXPENSIVE!
Transplanting the cacti to different containers proved a bit of a challenge. You can’t just grab it and dig those roots out. Those prickers will get ya and itch for hours afterwards (speaking from experience). So after some trial and error here’s the best method I found for transplanting cactus.
1. Pick your container. There’s no magical planter pot but make sure your pot isn’t too small for your cactus. You need a minimum 1/4″ between the cactus body and edge of pot. Also, make sure there is a drain hole to allow excess water to exit the planter at the bottom of your container.
2. Fill the bottom with a good layer of rocks, pebbles or gravel. This will allow for better drainage.
3. Start filling the pot with your potting soil. If you really want to get fancy you can make up your own soil for premium cactus growth. Mix 8 parts potting soil, 5 parst perlite or pumice and 3 parts granite sand. However, I’ve used regular potting soil and haven’t had a problem. It’s sort of like the difference between shopping at Whole Foods and your regular grocery store. You can also purchase a pre-made cactus mix like this one:
4. Fill your container approx 3/4 full.
Now for the fun (aka slightly intimidating part)…transplanting the cactus.
Like I said earlier, you can’t just grab the cactus with your bare hands. Even using gardening gloves can sometimes prove useless (yes, speaking from experience again). Those pokers are brutal and unforgiving. Crumpled up packaging paper or newspaper works great. Simply wrap the paper around the cactus, loosen the roots and pull right out of it’s soil.
Next, make a hole deep enough in the new soil so the roots will be fully covered when more soil is added to cover the base.
To keep the cactus from flopping or tipping over it is necessary to pack the soil down. Firmly press your fingers in to the soil to give it a secure, dense pack. Add more soil if necessary and repeat pressing down.
There you have it…your cactus will be correctly transplanted.
My biggest tip for keeping it alive…DON’T OVERWATER!
The soil should be pretty dry before watering. In fact some species can even go months without watering.
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