Liner for Christmas Cactus?

sam_ny(5)October 13, 2011


I have a beloved Christmas cactus that I've been afraid to mess with for fear of killing it. It's about 25 or 30 years old and maybe 10 years ago was repotted into a wide shallow plastic pot set into a basket (about 12" W by 4" H). My wife desperately wants to be rid of the basket and I thought, now that I've propagated a few babies from this one, that maybe now's the time to try repotting. I'm not much with houseplants and was hopping someone might confirm or correct my plan before I dive in.

The pot we want to get is about 12" in diameter and 10" deep with straight sides and made of glazed ceramic. It's on a stand and doesn't drain, so I was thinking of potting the cactus into a plastic container (with drainage holes) to set inside the pot. Does this make sense? Should I raise the liner off the bottom with an inch of gravel or something?

I have a couple bags of Miracle Grow Cactus, Palm and Citrus mix ("a blended mixture of sphagnum peat moss, composted forest products, sand, and perlite..."). There's a picture of a Xmas cactus on the front and it seems to have worked fine for the small plants I've propagated. I don't have space or materials for mixing my own, but I'm open to buying a bag of something else if it comes recommended.

I've read through the other related posts on this board and found them useful. This old cactus has been pretty resilient to periods of semi-neglectful behavior on my part, but I'd very much appreciate any advice to help me not kill it.

Thanks. ~Sam

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Sam!

Short answer:
Yes, use a liner. No, don't use the Miracle Grow as your main soil.

Longer answer:
If you're using the glazed pot, definitely raise the liner high enough that it doesn't sit in water.
I would recommend watering at the sink, and then returning the plant to the glazed pot.

I would recommend that you purchase a bag of fine-grade Orchid Bark to re-pot your plant.
These jungle cacti grow in the crooks of trees, amongst bark and leaf litter. They receive
rain often, but the water flows over the roots and down the tree, so they never stay soaked.
Bark works very well for exactly this reason.

Here's my 33 year-old Christmas Cactus:


    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:18PM
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