How to repot cactus plants

How to repot cactus plants

Prickly cacti can be tricky to repot. Follow our step-by-step guide to repotting them with ease.

Cactus plants make the perfect, low-maintenance house plants and are perfect for a sunny windowsill. However they need repotting every few years, especially if they’re growing happily, or if they’ve become lop-sided and need straightening up. That said, their prickly nature can make this a tricky job, so you need to take care.

Watch this practical video guide with Kevin Smith, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, to find out how to do it:

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You Will Need

  • Free-draining compost or cactus compost
  • Small plastic and terracotta pots
  • Horticultural grit
  • Newspaper

Step 1

Fold up a piece of newspaper into a thick strip and wrap it around the barrel of the cactus, gripping the two ends together so they can be used to hold the plant steady.

Repotting cactus Espostoa melanostele
Repotting cactus Espostoa melanostele

Step 2

Tap the cactus out of its pot and gently scrape away most of the old compost from around the rootball, but try not to disturb the roots too much.

Repotting potting on cactus Espostoa melanostele
Repotting cactus Espostoa melanostele

Step 3

Repot the plant in cactus compost, which is a gritty loam-based compost that won’t shrink when it dries out. Make sure the plant is central in the new pot and standing vertically.

Repotting potting on cactus Espostoa melanostele
Filling compost around repotted cactus

Step 4

Top-dress the surface of the compost with sharp grit to set off the plant and prevent it from being splashed with compost when you water it.

Repotting potting on cactus Espostoa melanostele
Topping off repotted cactus with grit
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