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Cactus Repotting - Cactus en ligne

How to Repot a Cactus: A Quick Guide

Cactus Repotting - Cactus en ligne

Repotting a cactus might seem daunting, especially given their prickly nature, but it’s an essential task for maintaining a healthy plant. Whether you’ve just bought a new cactus or your old one has outgrown its pot, this guide will walk you through the process step-by-step. With the right tools and techniques, you can ensure your cactus thrives for many more years.

Why Repot a Cactus?

Before diving into the process, let’s understand why repotting is important:

  1. Growth: Cacti, like all plants, need room to grow. As they expand, their roots can become cramped in their current pot, leading to stunted growth and poor health.
  2. Soil Quality: Over time, soil can lose its nutrients and become compacted, affecting water drainage. Fresh soil provides essential nutrients and better aeration.
  3. Pest Control: Repotting gives you a chance to inspect the roots for pests or diseases and take necessary actions.

When to Repot

The best time to repot a cactus is during its growing season, which typically falls in spring or early summer. Avoid repotting during the winter when the cactus is in a dormant state.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Gloves: Thick, preferably leather, gloves to protect your hands from spines.
  • Tongs or Newspaper: To handle the cactus safely.
  • Pot: A new pot slightly larger than the current one, with drainage holes.
  • Cactus Soil Mix: Specialized soil that provides good drainage.
  • Trowel or Spoon: For scooping soil.
  • Mesh or Coffee Filter: To cover the drainage holes and prevent soil from escaping.

Step-by-Step Guide to Repotting

  1. Preparation

    • Water the Cactus: Lightly water your cactus a few days before repotting. This makes it easier to remove from its current pot.
    • Choose the Right Pot: Select a pot that is one size larger than the current one. Ensure it has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  2. Prepare the New Pot

    • Place a piece of mesh or a coffee filter over the drainage holes to prevent soil from washing out. This step is optional.
    • Add a layer of cactus soil mix at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Removing the Cactus

    • Wear Gloves: Put on your gloves to protect your hands.
    • Handle with Care: Use tongs, a folded newspaper, or a piece of cloth to gently wrap around the cactus for better grip. Carefully tilt the pot and tap the sides to loosen the soil. If the cactus is stuck, use a trowel to loosen the edges.
  4. Inspect the Roots

    • Once the cactus is out of the pot, gently remove the excess soil from the roots. Inspect the roots for any signs of rot or pests. Trim away any damaged or dead roots with a clean, sharp knife or scissors.
  5. Repotting

    • Position the cactus in the center of the new pot. Hold it steady and start filling around it with the cactus soil mix. Gently tap the pot to settle the soil. Ensure the cactus is at the same depth it was in the old pot.
    • Leave some space at the top of the pot for watering.
  6. Aftercare
    • Watering: Do not water the cactus immediately after repotting. Wait for about a week to let any root damage heal and prevent rot.
    • Placement: Place the repotted cactus in a shaded area for a few days before moving it back to its usual spot. This helps it acclimate to the new pot and soil.

Tips for Successful Repotting

  • Soil Mix: Use a commercial cactus mix or make your own by mixing potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite. This ensures good drainage and prevents root rot.
  • Pot Material: Terracotta pots are excellent for cacti as they allow better air circulation and prevent water retention. However, plastic pots can also work if they have adequate drainage holes.
  • Handling Large Cacti: For larger cacti, you may need an extra pair of hands. Use a piece of carpet or a towel to wrap around the cactus for easier handling.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overwatering: Cacti are drought-tolerant plants. Overwatering can lead to root rot. Ensure the soil is dry before watering.
  • Poor Drainage: Always use pots with drainage holes and well-draining soil. Standing water can be fatal for cacti.
  • Incorrect Soil Depth: Planting a cactus too deep or too shallow can affect its growth. Maintain the same soil level as in the previous pot.


Repotting a cactus may seem like a challenging task, but with the right approach, it’s quite manageable. It’s a crucial part of cactus care, ensuring your plant continues to grow healthily. By following this guide, you can confidently repot your cactus, giving it the best chance to thrive in its new environment. 

Repotting doesn’t just enhance the aesthetic appeal of your cactus; it’s a vital step in maintaining its health and longevity. Remember, the key to successful repotting lies in preparation, gentle handling, and proper aftercare. With patience and care, your cactus will reward you with robust growth and, possibly, beautiful blooms. Happy gardening!

Cactus en Ligne Team ∙

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