Tips & Tricks

Cactus Potting Guide

Repotting is a necessary and cathartic way to connect with your houseplants. You may already know how to repot your tropical houseplants, but when it comes to cacti, the steps are slightly different.

Before you get started, it's important to determine if your cactus is in need of a repotting. If one or more of following statements apply to you, it's time to get dirty:

  1. You purchased Adam or a DIY Cactus Kit from heyrooted.com.
  2. Your cactus has not been repotted for 2+ years.
  3. You inherited your cactus and have no idea when it was last repotted.
  4. Roots are visible from the bottom drainage or top soil.

If it doesn't apply, let it fly, but if any of the above statements are true for you, here's what you'll need:

  • A cactus
  • Fresh, well-draining soil
  • A pot
  • Gloves. Don't get pricked!
  • A broom and/or newspaper or any recyclable surface to work on for easy cleanup

When it comes to choosing a pot, be sure that your cactus has at least 2" of space between the base and the pot wall. Oftentimes, cacti have shallow root systems and may need a little extra support throughout the potting process. If you can, grab a friend to keep the cactus stable while you get down and dirty. 

  1. Gently massage the root ball to loosen up roots and rid of old soil. If you're planting a bare root cactus or a cutting, skip this step.
  2. If there is no drainage hole, add a layer of lava rocks to the bottom of your pot. We strongly recommend drainage holes, so if you're able to drill into your pot safely, do so. If your pot has a drainage hole, you can mix lava rocks into the soil for added aeration.
  3. Line the bottom of the pot with soil.
  4. Place your cactus in the pot and fill it with soil, packing down as you go. Be sure to plant it deep enough so that it is stable, but not too deep, as this can cause rot. Always leave at least 1" between the soil and the top of the pot to avoid spillage.
  5. Place your freshly potted cactus in a window with bright direct or indirect light. The more light, the better! 
  6. Lightly water the base of your cactus to help it acclimate its new home.

Now that your cactus is freshly potted, consider grabbing an Organic Fertilizer Shaker for succulents. It won't need it just yet because the fresh soil is packed with key nutrients, but in about 6 weeks, it will appreciate the boost. All that's left to do now is high five your friend and give yourself a pat. You can dust the soil off later, but for now, admire your cactus in all its potted glory.

Shop the post