What Is the Best Time to Repot a Cactus?

Cacti prefer to be repotted in the spring, when they are active. Select a pot that will hold the roots comfortably and leave a small space at the top of your new pot for drainage. The cactus itself should be placed holeside down, so that its base is firmly anchored in the soil and its crown is exposed to light.
A person repotting cactus.

Cacti remain one of the best houseplants to have around. They come in various shapes, colors, and sizes. These succulents remain a perfect choice for beginners and experts alike. While these plants are generally low maintenance, they need to be repotted every once in a while. Knowing when the best time is for your cactus to be repotted can help it stay healthy and strong.

So, what is the best time to repot a cactus? The best time to repot your cactus plant is during the active growing season when it is healthy. The growing season follows the dormancy period, which is usually in springtime. When the weather starts to warm up, and your plant starts shooting out new growth, it’s time to repot. Make sure you use a well-draining container and soil for your cactus to ensure that it can thrive. It is essential to wait until the root system has filled the pot before repotting, as this can cause shock to the plant.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about repotting a cactus plant. Read on to learn more.

Why Should I Repot My Cactus Plant and How Often Should I Repot?

It is crucial to repot your cacti plants for the same reason you need to repot your other plants: It provides them with more room to grow bigger and healthier by replenishing the nutrients in the soil.

A pot with cactus fell.
If the plant is becoming root bound or has been more than three years since its last repotting.

On average, consider repotting your cactus plant every two to four years. If the plant is becoming root bound or has been more than three years since its last repotting, it is time for a new pot. This will ensure that your cactus has enough room to expand and grow.

When Should I Repot My Cactus?

Typically, the best time to repot your cactus plant is at the end of the dormancy period. This will play a critical role in minimizing stress on your cactus.

However, you must remember that the dormancy period is different for different cacti species.

While most cacti species go into dormancy during the cold winter months (between November and February), others slide into dormancy during the hot summer months (between May and August).

It is essential to know when your cactus species will go dormant so that you can plan accordingly. That way, you avoid repotting it too sooner or later.

What Should I Do Before Repotting?

There are a few things that you should do before repotting your cactus. First, inspect your plant’s roots to ensure they are healthy. If you notice any signs of rot or disease, wait before repotting.

Next, sterilize the pot you will use for repotting by washing it with a 1:4 bleach and water solution. This will help prevent any diseases from spreading to your new cactus.

Cactus soil ane equipments.
There are a few things that you should do before repotting your cactus.

Finally, choose an appropriate soil mix for your cactus. Cacti require well-draining soil and a pot with good drainage. A combination of equal parts sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand is popular for cactus soil.

After preparing the pot, you can move on to repotting your cactus.

What Do I Need to Repot a Cactus Plant?

You will need a few things to repot your cactus plant. These include:

  • Repotting pot with adequate drainage
  • Potting mix specific for cacti
  • A spoon or trowel
  • A pair of gloves to protect your hands
  • A sharp knife (if needed)
  • Pruning shears (optional)

Once you have all of your supplies, you can get started.

How Do I Repot a Cactus Plant?

Follow the steps outlined below to repot your cactus properly:

Step 1: Pull the Cactus Out of Its Current Pot

Start by carefully lifting the cactus from its current pot. Gently shake off any excess soil, then inspect the roots to ensure they are healthy and not root-bound.

A cactus on hand.
Start by carefully lifting the cactus from its current pot.

Be careful not to damage the roots or stems of your cactus when pulling it out of its pot.

Step 2: Prune Your Cactus (Optional)

Using a pair of pruning shears, cut back any dead leaves, shoots, and even damaged areas in the plant. This will help promote healthy new growth in your cactus.

Step 3: Soak the Roots in Water

If you find any signs of root rot or disease, soak your cactus’s roots in lukewarm water to help get rid of any pests or diseases.

Step 4: Place Your Cactus into Its New Pot

Once you have finished inspecting the roots, place your cactus into its new pot and fill it with a well-drained soil mix specifically for cacti.

Gently pack the soil around the plant’s base, making sure that there are no air pockets.

Step 5: Water Your Plant

Once you have repotted your cactus, water it lightly. Be sure not to overwater, as this can cause root rot and other issues.

Once you have repotted your cactus, it is essential to monitor its growth for the first few weeks as it adjusts to its new home.

A woman watering the cactus.
Once you have repotted your cactus, water it lightly.

You may need to adjust your watering schedule if you notice any signs of stress, such as wilting or discoloration.

How Big Should the New Pot Be?

Repotting means moving your cactus from the current pot to a bigger one.

When selecting a new pot for your cactus, make sure it is at least two inches larger in diameter and one inch taller than the current pot. This ensures enough space for your plant’s root system to continue growing.

For instance, if your current pot is six inches in diameter, then you should select a new pot that is eight inches in diameter.

Also, pay close attention to the material used for the new pot. Clay pots are better at allowing air to flow around the roots, while plastic pots retain more moisture and can cause root rot if not monitored properly.

Remember to add a few drainage holes in the bottom of your new pot if you feel like it needs more holes. This ensures that excess water can drain away from the roots quickly and keep them healthy.

Remember that your chosen pot can also impact your cactus’ growth rate. A bigger pot will allow for more root and stem growth, while a smaller pot will limit it.

Should I Mulch Repotted Cactus?

Mulching mainly serves two purposes: It helps keep moisture around the plant’s roots and protects your cactus from extreme temperatures.

If you live in an area with high temperatures, adding a light layer of mulch around your newly repotted cactus will help it adjust to its new environment.

A thin layer of organic material, such as pine needles or organic bark, can help protect the roots from extreme heat and help retain moisture.

Apply only a little mulch around your cactus, sometimes leading to root rot. Keep it light and remember to remove any excessive mulch during heavy rainfall.

Should I Fertilize a Newly Repotted Cactus?

Cacti are naturally slow-growing plants that don’t need too much fertilizer to thrive. However, if you feel that your cactus is growing slowly or needs a boost of nutrients, fertilizing it can help.

Try using a low-strength liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks during the active growing season (spring and summer).

A woman applying fertilizer on the cactus.
If you feel that your cactus is growing slowly or needs a boost of nutrients, fertilizing it can help.

Avoid fertilizing any cactus during the dormant season (autumn and winter), as this can cause damage to the plant.

What Should I Do If My Newly Repotted Cactus Isn’t Thriving?

If your newly repotted cactus isn’t thriving, it could be due to several factors.

Start by checking the soil in its new pot. Ensure it is well-draining and light enough for the plant’s roots to breathe. If you think the soil isn’t ideal, you may need to repot your cactus again.

Also, ensure that the new pot you selected is large enough for your cactus and has adequate drainage holes at the bottom. If it does not, then this could be causing problems with water accumulation around the roots.

It is also essential to check your watering schedule. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues in cacti, so if you’ve been giving your plant too much water, then this could be causing the problem.

Finally, ensure that your cactus’s environment suits its growth needs. Cacti plants do not do well in hot and humid environments, so if this is the case for you, you may need to move your plant somewhere cooler.

If none of these things is helping, then it is best to consult a professional before trying anything else. A professional can diagnose any underlying issues with your cactus and advise reviving it.


Now that you know all there is to know about repotting cacti, it is time to get out there and do it!

Be sure to follow the steps outlined above, and remember to give your plant enough water after placing it in its new pot.

With a little effort, your cactus will take well to its new home and continue to thrive for many years.

Last update on 2023-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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