How to Repot a Cactus

How to Repot a Cactus

It seems like cacti are receiving an unnatural amount of attention, from Pinterest boards to Instagram posts to graphic t-shirts. Although they make a cute pattern, cacti are best appreciated in live form (aside from their prickliness). They’re an adorable plant to liven up any space: your living room, your nightstand, even your office cubicle. The best part, however, is that they’re hard to kill unlike other plants

Many nurseries offer eclectic collections of cacti and succulents in a variety of sizes. You can also find the basic offerings in 2” pots at Home Depot or Lowes at extremely affordable prices.

So now you’ve given in to the cactus trend and picked up one (or half a dozen, no judgment) from the store. You don’t want to leave your plant(s) in their depressing store bought pot for too long. More often than not, these chain stores tend to provide poor care for these plants so it is essential to repot them within the first week you purchase them.

Have no fear though, repotting a cactus is rather simple:


    Purchase cacti soil or mix 1:1 indoor potting soil with sand


Gently remove the plant & loosen the roots

Cacti and succulents at stores have usually reached their root capacity in their pots. Therefor their roots are tightly wound and need to be loosed up to generate root growth in their new pot. Gently squeeze the roots in alternating directions to separate them a bit, you’ll know you’re doing this right if dirt falls out. Some root breakage is expected but make sure not to tear too many.


Prepare the new pot according to its function

Terracotta Pots- these are your typical pot that some in brick color and have a hole at the bottom for excess water drainage.
Decorative/Other Pots- if your pot does not have a hole at the bottom, add a layer of rocks at the bottom of it. This allows excess water to drain from the soil and avoid root rot.


Place the cactus/succulent in the middle & surround with soil
Some cactus may be too prickly to just grab out of their store bought pot with your bare hands. Thick garden gloves are the key here but if you don’t have those laying around (chances are if you just bought a cactus you’re probably new to gardening overall) then you can use a dish towel.

Layer a few rocks on top
This will stabilize your new little succulent or cactus. 


Depending on the growth rate of your plant you shouldn’t have to worry about repotting it for at least a couple months.