Evening out a Christmas Cactus

mlzellers(6)July 16, 2013

My mom gave me a cutting of a christmas cactus last year that has been in our family for close to 40 years. The cactus is do great! To great actually. As you can see from the picture most of the growth is on only one side of the plant. I would like to trim it down so its more even and less lopsided. Can I cut off most of the growth on the right side so there are more or less the same number if segments both sides of the "Y" Im afraid that over time its going to be so heavy on that one side that it wont sit in the pot with out risk of tipping.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

May I ask you what kind of potting medium that is? I don't think that I have ever seen anything quite like that.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:18PM
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mlzellers(6)

It is just potting soil I bought from walmart.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 1:20PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I strongly recommend that you re-pot into a mix like "Orchid Mix" with bark, perlite, and only a small fraction of potting mix.

You can trim, and the plant will branch at the cut.

I would re-pot so that the plant is more upright.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:33PM
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mlzellers(6)

Ok Ill do that. That plant is actually up right. Just a crappy picture.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 3:42PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well Josh & I may disagree on this, but I'd also put it in a smaller pot, especially if you're going to grow it indoors only (I can't tell). I believe will grow more slowly indoors than outdoors.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:02PM
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mlzellers(6)

It is indoors 99% of the time. When I repot it should I wash all the soil off the roots? or leave some soil on the roots?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:06PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I wouldn't wash it, or use water on it, but do this dry; it's best to remove all the old mix.

When dry, one can just use one's fingers to crumble off all the old mix from the roots. I've even used a fork-like tool to comb off all the old mix.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:43PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

You could use the pieces you remove to make it more even by sticking them in the soil on the slim side.

These are cuttings sharing a pot with Dracaena.

Thanksgiving cactus works the same way.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 6:07PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Karen, I don't disagree ;-)
If using a water-retentive peaty soil, then a smaller pot is better. But if one is using a fast-draining potting mix, then this size container is fine. Get the old soil off the roots by crumbling or rinsing. I would rinse, since it's Summertime, and you'll be watering the plant into the new mix when you re-pot anyhow.

I do see that the plant is upright, however I suggest changing the angle so that the drooping foliage is pointing up into the air and then weeping back down. The branch on the left side would be horizontal to the surface of the mix.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 7:26PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I've never rinsed a plant's roots in my entire career and have transplanted thousands of plants...big and small, young and old. Just sayin. ;-) Oh, and I expect 100% success, too.

I'll bet that the potting mix is that awful black sedge peat stuff...can't remember the name.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:55PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Purple, I often find that because TC cactus tend to be plumper they root easier than CC

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Mlzs, I'm curious about your plant going outside 1% of the time. Don't think I've heard anyone say that about a plant before.

TG, Interesting. I'm fortunate to have the new CC cuttings to play with, but very recently, this summer. Looked at so many pics over the years tho, they felt like old friends right away. Look forward to observing them as well!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:45AM
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mlzellers(6)

Purple. I take my plants out a few times in the early spring. The only reason I do it so to clean up there areas from all the winter dust that collects.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 11:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

When I had a bunch of indoor plants, I only took them outside to partake in a quickie group shower once in a blue moon. I'd gather them with all of the permanent outdoor bonsai and let them all catch up with each other for a little while. Then back inside they'd go!

I always love your unexpected combinations, purple. Everything looks great.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Thanks, Rhizo! I've developed a distinct lack of tolerance for being able to see the soil surface of potted plants. Man, that's wasted space! It started with sitting the little pots in the big ones... (the gateway drug action,) and sure enough, progressed to the harder stuff, doing it all the time, just wanting more.

LOL, letting the plants catch up... "Hey, you've really grown!"

And thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Mlz. Sounds perfectly reasonable!

My fav part of taking plants out in the spring (mine go outside/inside seasonally) is the first rain, those clean, shiny leaves again.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 3:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Rhizo,
these moisture-loving jungle cacti are the perfect candidates for a rinsing ;-)

Josh

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 3:49PM
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monet_g

Miz,
Like purple I recommend that you start cuttings from the trimming that you do. Once rooted you can put them back in with the mother plant and get a full look sooner. BTW, cuttings on eBay often sell for a ridiculously high price. To me anyway, but CC are not easy to locate and are in high demand.

I started some cuttings last winter - well, tried. It was a bad time of the year to start cuttings so I lost quite a few. Started some this past spring using the exact same method and they all took. I put all the cuttings in one pot in a bark mix. When the good weather set in, I moved it outside in bright shade to some sun. It gets good water and fertilizer, but I'm still amazed at how healthy it looks. I wanted to get it "poised" for blooms this winter. With the new growth I'm planning on those flowers.

Gail

This post was edited by monet_g on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 9:33

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Laura Robichaud

Gail! I'm so glad the cuttings took! My plants are taking off in this weather. I have to say that I won't start cuttings in the winter again. When you experience how easy it is in the warm weather, you never go back!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:06PM
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monet_g

Hi Laura,
Yes, it was your cuttings. Thank you again.

And just when I shared how well my plant was doing, I see that some critter came along and broke off some branches. Ah well, I just stuck them back in the pot. I imagine they'll root just fine with this heat, humidity and, hopefully, some rain.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Laura Robichaud

Glad to hear it! I'll have to send you a pic of the zig zag cactus. It's growing like crazy in this heat and humidity.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:45AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

This Thread reminded me to even out my Christmas Cactus 'bonsai,' which has outgrown its windowsill position. Here's the before (sorry for the sun-glare):

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And the after:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Josh, excellent B'n'A pics! Where's the pic of whatever you did with the cuttings? How do you like the curly hose?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:43PM
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mlzellers(6)

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Im gonna get some orchid mix and a different pot. I am gonna try and start every cutting I have. Maybe by christmas they will be big enough to give out as gifts!!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Purple, I put the cuttings indoors to callous over.
I might do a rooting tutorial with the best cuttings.

These curly hoses suck. Just had a new one blow out yesterday.
I like them in theory...but not in practice.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:13PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

And a follow-up on the cuttings...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Nice, but kind of looks like salad. My garden shoes look like that - dirty! I knew there was something I liked about you. Looks like a real mister too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:09AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Nice little corner there Josh. It DOES look like salad, maybe the bowl & how they're lying across it. Funny Purple.

Handsome Hoya over there on the left side, may I pls. ask which? Would that be H. obovata (an old favorite)?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:40AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hehe, a salad! Yeah, I do have them presented as such ;-)

That corner is where I keep my big Christmas Cactus during the Winter. Right now, there isn't as much direct sun, so my cuttings won't burn.

Karen, you're right...it's a rooted cutting of H. obovata. A great plant. This cutting has flowered three times already and has more peduncles forming. I had the plant outdoors, but two leaves burned...so it's back inside.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:02PM
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birdsnblooms

Peat? It looks like garden soil. Rich, black dirt.

Miz, are you sure the bag said house plant soil?

I'm making dinner so don't have time to read all the posts here.

Miz, do you rotate plants. 1/4 turn every week, especially when sun is bright, is sufficient. W/o rotating, leaves tend to grow on the sunniest side..

Sorry, If I repeated a post. Toni

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 6:32PM
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