A cactus makes a great beginner’s houseplant, and people love them so much that even houseplant afficionados end up keeping their collection. Taking care of a cactus is fairly easy, but repotting a cactus can pose a problem. Where on earth are you supposed to grip the spiky thing to get it out of the pot? Well, we’ve got some tips for you, as well as some general advice for which soil to repot your cactus in.
There are several reasons why you might want to—no, need to—repot a cactus. If a cactus gets too big for its pot, you’ll need to give it a new home to keep it happy. A good rule of thumb is to repot a cactus every three to four years. That way, you’ll prevent it from getting pot-bound, which makes repotting much harder. You might’ve held off from repotting a cactus because you’re not sure how to repot it without hurting yourself. Here are our best tips.
First things first, though. Which soil should you use to repot a cactus? Hopefully, your cactus will have been in some special cacti soil in a free-draining pot. Terracotta is a good option, because it allows water and air to flow more freely than plastic or metal, for example. Once you’ve got the specialized cacti soil and the right pot, you’re good to get started.
With a bit of prep, repotting your cacti shouldn’t be too hard. Here’s how to repot a cactus without hurting yourself:
- Grab a dish towel, or an old magazine or newspaper. Wrap the padding materials around the cactus to protect your hands. Bubble wrap won’t work as it is too soft.
- Gently holding the dish towel (or other material), push the cactus onto its side, so that the pot is lying horizontal to the table or floor.
- Slide the cactus out of the pot by pulling the pot. If you pull the cactus, you’ll exert more grip on the plant, which could end up hurting you.
- If your new pot isn’t already filled, fill it up now.
- Lift your cactus into the pot. You can create a handle using another dish towel, for example, and looping it through the other. This runs the risk of dropping it though.
- Surround the base of the cactus with more of the potting solution and press down to get rid of any air.
- Add a little water to get your little guy settled in.
You’re all done! We hope you liked this guide for how to repot a cactus—if it’s been helpful, you might enjoy our other guides, such as tips on bamboo, planting pumpkins and caring for roses. Don’t forget to sign up!