If you have a Christmas cactus (not to be confused with the Thanksgiving cactus), then you know that it’s one of the best holiday plants to have in your collection. But even though they’re low maintenance, that doesn’t mean they don’t need some TLC from time to time.
One task that you’ll eventually have to do is repotting your cactus. But when is the best time to do that? And how do you repot a Christmas cactus? Here are a few things you should keep in mind so that your beloved plant remains healthy.
When to Repot
Repotting your Christmas cactus can be an exciting task that helps keep your plant stay healthy and vibrant while providing it a new home to thrive. Below you’ll find the signs your Christmas cactus screams to show you its time to repot them, as well as an outline to doing the task with ease.
Read on and find out all you need to know about when to repot your beloved holiday blooms!
You should repot your Christmas cactus if there is evidence of mealybugs and other pests. Mealybugs are common problem with these potted plants since they thrive in moist soil environments. If you notice your Christmas cactus leaves becoming lackluster or see specks on your green friend, it’s time to treat it with an insecticide. Remember to quarantine your plants while they are being treated to avoid an outburst in your house.
If your plant appears shriveled, limp, and there is a bad odor coming from the soil, you have a case of root rot. In this situation it’s best to cut out the infected part of the plant and repot in clean soil to prevent further damage.
Remove any brown, dying, or stunted roots and foliage so the plant can redirect it’s growth in its new container.
Even if your Christmas cactus looks healthy, it’s important to repot it every so often. This will ensure that the soil nutrients replenish and that there is adequate drainage for excess water. Additionally, a larger pot can provide more space for fresh growth and help keep your Christmas cactus looking its best. If the plant outgrows its pot it can drop its leaves and stems.
How to Repot Your Plant
Repotting your Christmas cactus is a great way to ensure it has the best chance of thriving and achieving healthy growth. It’s recommended to do this at least once every one to two years, ideally at the beginning of March, at the start of their growing season.
To get started, pick a container that’s slightly larger than the existing one. Christmas cacti prefer snug pots and rarely like too much extra space. Then fill it with either standard cactus compost or a loam-based compost peat substitute. You can add some sand for drainage as well.
Next, carefully remove your plant from its current pot and break up the root ball if needed (but try not to damage any roots). Ensure you remove as much soil from the roots as possible. Place it in its new pot and fill it in with more soil, pressing it down lightly.
Finally, water the newly potted Christmas cactus until moist and you’re done!
How to Care for Your Christmas Cactus
To make your Christmas cactus look its best, proper care is key! Here are some tips for caring for your precious plant.
Watering During Bloom Season
During the flowering period, regular watering is essential for maintaining beautiful blooms. If your plant dries out too much, it may drop its beautiful blooms.
The Right Temperature
Once the flowering period is over, from the end of January to late March, a resting period for your cactus is necessary. Reduce the frequency of watering to occasional so that the compost does not dry out and place it in a cooler room or reduce the temperature to 55 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help prepare your cactus for its next blooming cycle.
This flowering plant needs a period of darkness in order to display their blooms.
During the growing season (April through September), be sure to give your Christmas cactus plenty of water and start feeding it with a houseplant liquid feed. It’s important to maintain the temperature at 65 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit, as this is the ideal range for the healthy growth of your plant. When watering, don’t forget to check the soil moisture before you add any more water. Too much can lead to root rot!
Take Them Outside
During the summer months, when frost is no longer a risk, place your cactus outside in a shady spot for some indirect sunshine. This helps start new growth and encourage buds. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for slugs that may take up residence on your plant.
New Bud Formation
When fall arrives and daylight hours decrease, it’s time to prepare your Christmas cactus for a second resting period. To encourage your cactus to produce beautiful, bright blooms by the holidays, you’ll need to reduce both its watering and temperature.
Once the flowering buds have formed, it’s time to get your plant ready for its big debut! To care for your Christmas cactus during this period, increase the temperature back up to 65 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit and start regular watering.
Plant, Repot, Repeat
Christmas cacti are a popular holiday decoration, but they can also be a beautiful addition to your home year-round. Follow these simple guidelines for repotting your cactus and it will thrive for years to come!
Have you ever repotted a Christmas cactus? What tips would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Share this article with your friends and family who may also want to learn more about caring for their Christmas cacti!