Good or Bad: Repotting now

lenle(4)February 8, 2013

I recently acquired another true CC that I'm concerned about. The segments are paper thin and far too pliable when compared to my other CC's (plump and non-pliable) for my comfort. The CC is currently in a ceramic pot with a soil/sand mixture (at best guess) that is not fast draining. I'm fairly certain it's always been in this type of mix, and even though this plant has several decades behind its belt, my understanding is a mix like this will kill this plant.

Is it more of a risk to go ahead and repot it now than what it would be to cautiously water while waiting for warmer weather?

I would really love to see these segments plump back up and gain some firmness to them, but obviously not at the risk of losing the entire plant.

I can post pics when I reclaim the camera.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

How long has the plant been in the soil it's in now?

I would repot a CC into a fast-draining, well-aerated soil in your zone in early May I'd keep it barely damp, and move it outdoors as soon as temps allow.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Near as I can tell... A very long time. I watered it a couple of days ago just because I was worried about the segments being do thin. Checked it today and it's still damp.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:17AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


I don't see a problem, they look pretty good from here, tho' I've never tried bending a segment like that ;>).

Really, I'm surprised to hear these are a problem.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:51PM
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If there isn't an issue, I'll be very glad! My concern is with how flimsy the segments are. My other CC is far too plump to bend like that. I'm pretty sure healthy CC's don't/won't be that pliable. If I'm wrong, please do correct me. :)


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:27PM
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True a healthy CC wouldn't be that pliable: Not to mean you have a major issue either, if perched water and compacted aged soil isn't a problem.

But compacted soil and perched water is a problem

It's your call to re-pot now or wait, if and when you do re-pot strongly suggest use a bark based for a faster draining soil. While in the wait if you wait when you do water, bottom water to help loosen the older soil.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Jeni - the reason I asked how long the plant had been in the soil it's in now, was to get some sort of idea about how pressing the idea of a repot is, at this time. CCs are commonly known to be kept for years and years in the same pot. That shouldn't be regarded as an endorsement of the practice, but rather as an indication that a repot probably isn't immediately essential if the plant is still viable after a lengthy stay in what it's in now. I'd wait to repot, being judicious about my watering until then, and repot into a suitable soil in early May.

You might consider thoroughly flushing the soil it's currently in when you next water, fertilizing at that time with a half-strength dose of any of the popular 3:1:2 ratio soluble fertilizers after the flushing is completed.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Bark based is definitely the way I plan to go when I do repot. :)

Al - if I had to guess, I'd say it's been in its current mix for a few years if not more.

Thanks all for alleviating my concerns. I'll wait until May to swap out old for new.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 2:06PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep, I agree that re-potting isn't essential.

Part of the plant's condition may be due to the post-bloom period of lower activity that these
plants go through. Mine tend to look a bit limp for several weeks after the bloom; then,
as the plants return to normal activity, the color and turgidity magically improve ;-)

I love a bark-based mix for these jungle cacti, too. It helps to keep the container lighter,
even when the plants and containers become quite large. Amending the bark with coarse perlite
or another porous grit (scoria, pumice, turface) will stabilize the mix, open the mix, and
help to even out moisture/drying. Some folks feel the "need" to add finer particulate,
like potting mix, african violent mix, et cetera. However, this will hasten the breakdown
of a bark-based mix; nor is this fine particulate necessary for moisture-retention.
I can assure you, in a properly sized container, bark alone holds plenty moisture for these
particular arboreal jungle cacti.


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Thanks for the confirmation, Josh. :) I love your mostly bark recipe for these guys and definitely will be using it when I repot.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:17PM
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i would give it a hair-cut too while it's limp. to encourage branching and to decrease plant mass while it's limp. it looks like you have a lot of long single segments. i cut mine back to the 1-2 segments above the fork. and while you have long 'stems' - you can use them to start new plants. just put a bunch together in moistened perlite and bag them . you'll see arial roots develop too, it'll need just a little mist occasionally - you'll have a new plant in no time.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:47PM
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