Saturday, November 19, 2016

Repotting the Unfriendliest of Plants

I don't do many container plants and when I do, I try to make sure that they are easy-care as possible. Translate to low water plants and BIG(ger) containers.   Last spring I gathered up some small pots and put them together in a mixed succlulent-ish container.   I thought I had the nice mixture of size,  texture, and color.   One plant was the cutest cactus with long, soft looking, yellow thorns in a 8 inch pot.   I had bought that little pot to decorate for a party and the cactus had just stayed exactly the same for 4 or 5 months.

I don't remember, but that little cactus must have been rootbound because once it got its roots into a larger pot of soil, it grew . . . and then
grew some more.   Within a few months, it looked like this.

The cactus was taking over. 

Time to re-pot and this cactus is COVERED with LONG spines.    First things first . . .   I am using a new terra cotta pot so it needs a good soaking.   If I omit this step, the clay will suck all the moisture from the potting mix.   Instead of watering continually post-planting, I'd rather just soak the pot pre-planting and then water normally. 

The first time that I transplanted the cactus, a piece of folded newpaper was the only tool I needed.   It could work again . . .   Well, the newspaper hack was helpful to hold the cactus while I added more potting mix.   To actually remove it from the pot, I ended up taking it to the lawn and very carefully removing it with a shovel.  (Hand tools didn't keep even a gloved hand far enough away from those spines!)  There were actually three cacti growing together so I split them up and shared with a friend.

And the finished product   It has room to grow BUT I will be happy to let it become rootbound.   I sure don't want it to get too big for me to handle!

I wish I knew what this little guy is.  But as it grows and blooms, maybe I'll be able to identify it.   Frankly, I'm not very good with cacti.   

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