Repotting Christmas (Zygocactus) Cactus

Question:

 I was given a blooming Christmas Cacti from a relative. I want to transplant it into a larger container, but I'm scared to touch it. Can it be moved now to another pot without shocking it and how do I care for it?

Answer:

  • Christmas Cacti, also known as Zygocactus, can be transplanted while they’re still in bloom. Although, there is no horticultural reason why you couldn’t wait until after the flowers fade. This also applies to other blooming plants. This is when an evergreen plant is technically dormant, as they’re not actively growing.
  • You need to select a container that is one size or maybe two sizes larger than the present container. Most containers are available in even sizes; hence, you should find six, eight, ten, etc. inch pots available everywhere.
    • It doesn’t matter if its clay, plastic or ceramic.
    • It’s quite common for folks to repot it into a clay pot and then slip it into a larger decorative container.
    • It’s not necessary to use a specialized soil for Christmas Cacti, as any of the commercial potting soils is acceptable.
    • When repotting, the drainage hole needs to be covered, so the soil doesn’t wash away. I like to use a circular mesh-like screen, available at most garden centers, or you can use an old piece of window or door screen. It’s not a bad idea to place gravel over the screen, but it’s not a requirement.
    • Soil is then added to the container. You press firmly to compress the new soil, removing the air pockets.
      • Next, removed the Christmas Cacti from the present container and placed it in the new container disturbing as few roots as possible.
      • The top of the root ball should be within an inch of the top of the container, filling in the sides with potting soil. Again press the soil firmly.
      • Next water well and the job is done. They like to stay evenly moist but not soggy wet. You’ll water again when the soil dries out on top but not all the way down.
    • Christmas Cacti are grown both indoors an out. Indoors they like a brightly lit location with good air circulation. In the spring, they can be moved outdoors. They thrive on a patio, deck or under a tree as long as they receive a good dose of the morning and or indirect sun. During the summer months, the foliage burns in the hot afternoon sun. They’re brought indoors when the nighttime temperature drops into the low forties.
    • Christmas Cacti is fed monthly with one of the many liquid organic fertilizers during the spring and summer growing seasons. You stop fertilizing in early September to allow buds to set. Christmas Cacti is one of the easiest seasonal plants to grow. They are long-lived with few pests or diseases. It is an excellent plant for novice gardeners because of the high success rate.
    • Your plant should grow larger and more handsome every year, producing more flowers with a minimal amount of care.