How to plant cactus in a pot and in the ground

To plant cacti you need gloves

Do you want to know how to plant cacti in a pot or in the ground without being damaged? Especially if they have thorns, and they are very long, and even more so when the plant is large, all possible precautions must be taken. Human skin is very thin and sensitive, so we have to use the right tools to keep ourselves protected, and at the same time so that the cacti remain whole and do not suffer injuries either.

For this reason, below I am going to explain to you step by step when and how to plant cacti, and what do you need to carry out this task that, believe me, can be harmless.

When to plant cacti?

Cacti are planted with care

Cacti should not be planted at any time of the year. They are plants that grow in arid and semi-arid regions (with a few exceptions, that live in tropical forests). For this reason, if we plant them for example in winter and a hailstorm falls, the plant would be damaged. And it would not be a good idea to do so if they bloom, since taking it out of the pot to put it in another place could cause the flowers to close prematurely.

But there is even more: if it is a cactus that has not been in the container for a long time, surely it has not yet rooted well, so if we remove it, the ground bread, that is, the root ball, will crumble, and when doing so they could damage the roots. So that, will be planted in spring, and if necessary (For example, that has a substrate that does not drain the water well, or is very worn, or because of suspected problems such as excessive watering or pests) it could also be in summer or autumn.

So summing up. We will plant a cactus only if:

  • The temperatures are warm but without reaching extremes (30ºC or more).
  • Its roots come out through the holes in the pot, and / or we see that its body has taken up all the space in it.
  • In the event that you have received more water than necessary, or we suspect that you have pests.
  • If the substrate you have is of poor quality.

Once this is known, let's move on to planting it.

How to plant a cactus?

First of all, let's see what we need to plant it:

  • Protection gloves. It will depend on the cactus: if they are small and have few thorns or these are harmless, a few gardening will suffice; but if they are large and / or have sharp thorns, then it will be better to look for ones that protect the hands well but at the same time allow us to work comfortably.
  • Water. Either in a watering can, hose or any other irrigation system, which will depend on how big the cactus is, and where it is going to be planted, since if it is small and it will be in a larger pot, with a watering can we would water it well.
  • Place to plant it:
    • If it is a pot, it must be a few centimeters (more or less 5) wider and taller than the previous one and it must also have holes in its base. We will fill it with a suitable substrate for cacti, such as peat mixed with perlite in equal parts.
    • If it is on the ground, let us remember that the earth has to drain the water well. But it also has to be light.
  • Others: if the cactus is large, in order to protect it and protect yourself you will also need cardboard to wrap it and a resistant rope, such as raffia. You may even need the help of another person to lift and move it.

Once you have everything, you can move on to planting it.

How to plant a cactus?

As it is not planted in the same way in a new pot as in the ground, I am going to explain the steps you must follow in each case. In this way, you will be able to know how to act depending on the situation:

Planting a potted cactus

Cacti are planted in pots when they root

If what you have to do is plant it in a pot, it is important that you look for one that is large; that is to say, that it measures between 5 and 7 centimeters in diameter, and that it has holes in its base (it is better to have several small ones, and not a large one, because this way the water that is not absorbed, will come out more uniformly. prevents land from being lost so quickly).

Now, in order precisely for the plant to run out of soil, it is highly recommended to put pieces of plastic mesh that are used a lot for bonsai (for sale here) over the holes. Then, you have to put a layer of 1-2 centimeters of some substrate such as volcanic clay (for sale here) or la arlita (for sale here).

The next step is put substrate for cacti, either a prepared one, or a mixture that you have made with, for example peat and perlite (for sale here) in equal parts. Take into account the height of the 'old' pot to know more or less how much soil to add. If necessary and if possible, insert the cactus - without removing it yet from its 'old' pot - into the new one. This way you will see if it is very high, in which case you will have to remove dirt, or very low.

Ariocarpus hintonii in flowerpot
Related article:
How to choose the soil for cacti?

Then, you have to extract the cactus from its 'old' pot. If it is small, you can do it simply by taking the old pot with one hand, and the plant from the base with the other; but if it is large and / or heavy, it is better that you cover it with cardboard -one or two layers, whichever is necessary- and tie it with a rope, and lay it on the ground carefully, on cardboard.

Lastly, put it in the new pot, and add dirt to finish filling. You can water now or wait a few days.

Echinofossulocactus before transplanting
Related article:
How to transplant a small cactus?

Plant a cactus in the ground

If you are going to plant your cactus in the ground, the first thing you have to do is find the right place for you. It is necessary that if it is of a species that needs sun, it is put in a sunny place provided that it has previously been accustomed to receiving the rays of the sun directly, otherwise it would burn; and if it is semi-shaded or shaded, put it in protected areas. In addition, you have to take into account the adult size (height and width) that it will have, in order to plant it in the correct area.

densispine puffin
Related article:
Is it true that all cacti are sunny?

Now you have to make sure that the soil in your garden is correct, that it drains water well and that it is light. To do this, you have to make a hole of about 50 x 50 centimeters more or less, in the place where you want to put it, and fill it halfway with water. This water has to begin to be absorbed as soon as it comes into contact with the earth. In the event that you see that it takes half an hour or more to absorb it, then you will have to improve the drainage by making the hole twice as large, and filling it with a layer of about 40 centimeters of clay, volcanic clay, or construction gravel.

Then, You have to add suitable soil for cacti, such as peat mixed with 50% perlite, high quality cactus soil, or the like. Do not fill it completely, take into account the height of the pot to know how much soil you have to add.

Then remove it from the pot carefully. If it is large and / or heavy, cover it with cardboard and tie it with rope and then bring it closer to the hole and extract it so that when it comes out you only have to insert it and lift it.

Once inside, finish filling with substrate. Don't water for a couple of days.

Cacti that are in bloom should not be transplanted

Hope you found it easy to plant your cactus.

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