POTTING AND REPOTTING CACTI AND SUCCULENTS

Before a plant is placed in a pot, the roots should be examined carefully. All roots that show any indication of being rotted should be cut back to clean, healthy tissue, and any dead roots cut off. If all the roots are in bad condition, then cut them all off, and re-root afresh, to ensure that the plant is free from diseased tissue.

Select a pot just a little wider than the plant body, which will comfortably accommodate the roots; for instance, use a three-inch pot or pan for a plant that is two inches in diameter. Allowance, however, must be made for the height and general size of those plants which grow taller.

Use a clean pot and place a piece of crock archwise over the drainage hole, so that there is a hollow space over the hole, then place sufficient smaller crocks, about a quarter of the depth of the pot, to ensure good drainage, and then a little of the compost on top. The plant is held in one hand, and the soil is filled in with the other and pressed firmly around the plant. To leave room for watering, the pot is not filled to the rim but to within half an inch or so. Newly potted plants should not be immediately watered, but only after a few days, for moisture might easily cause decay in broken or damaged roots.

Repotting is an operation governed by the same principles as those followed in original plantings.

Some enthusiasts repot both small and large plants annually, but this is not normally necessary. As long as a plant appears vigorous and healthy, it is best left undisturbed, except perhaps young plants in small pots which require a change of compost and, of course, any plants that have become too large for their pots.

Large specimens are repotted every two or three years.

The best time to repot is in the spring, as soon as the plants show new growth.

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