Thanksgiving Cactus and Christmas Cactus ; rootbound or not ?

Bergit(nordic costal)November 8, 2006

So what is the practical experience of those of you who have grown these plants for some years :

Are the Thanksgiving Cacti and the Christmas Cacti rootbound or not ?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I don't like the word 'rootbound' very much. ;-) To me, it implies a highly constricted root environment. However! These plants (like most container plants) do best if the root systems aren't swimming around in volumes of excess soil and space.

When my plants get to the point of being 'bound', where the roots are turning round and round with no where to go, I either perform a root pruning procedure so that I can re-pot them into the same container, or I'll pot up a size.

It is much too easy to over water and create root rot issues of the container is too large. If kept severely root bound, the plants languish, never able to achieve the vigor and health that they are capable of.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 1:32PM
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Bergit, I think CC, Easter and Thanksgiving Cactus do best when a little snug. Not to the point where roots are so tight you have to water daily though..Then again, you don't want an oversized pot either..IMO, if a pot is too large, roots focus on filling the pot before developing new growth or flowers.
I repot througout the yr, but if a plant has buds or flowers I let it be.
It's really best to transplant in spring when new growth resumes after a winter rest..especially if one is in an area where days are gloomy. Toni

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 4:04PM
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Bergit(nordic costal)

Rhizo & Toni ,
it was interesting to hear your opinions on this.

The last 3 years I have grown my Schlumbergeras ( Thanksgiving Cacti and Christmas Cacti )
"as you grow house plants" rather than "as you grow cacti".
So I have potted them up every year and also fertilized in summer !

This has resulted in a lot of growth and also a lot of flowers.

Because I read "here and there" that these plants are supposed to be "potbound" , I'm sort of waiting for things to go wrong , because of the way I grow them ...

What I can say for sure is that potting up has not reduced flowering !
New plants Fall -05 bloomed again for Easter -06 after beeing potted up in February.

A 2 1/2 years old Christmas Cactus ( from single segment cuttings Summer -04 ) potted up in July -06 are now full of flower buds. I had not expected any flowers at all since I potted it up so late ( had first decided not to , because of this "potbound-thing" but changed my mind because the plant had grown so much ).

Now the "all-over-effect" / the "general health" of the plant in the long run ,
when growing them "more intensivly" , that I can not be sure of ...
So far it looks good , but it would be interesting to hear more about what you all think about this.

To me this is THE QUESTION , when it comes to Schlumbergera !

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:13AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

bergit, the frequency of repotting should be determined by the vigor of the plant. If you use a nice, coarse potting mix, potting up might very well need to be an annual project! Again, I think some people get confused with the term 'potbound', and think that that means leaving the poor things imprisoned for years and years, lol!

I repotted mine this spring, and have witnessed such growth that I, too, wondered if they would be able to set buds. But they sure as heck crazy!

I've decided to root prune these plants this coming year, instead of repotting them into larger containers.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 12:26PM
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Bergit(nordic costal)

The big plant ( 30 inches / 76 cm across ) was bought in Fall -03 in a 4 inch pot.
The smaller plant to the left was bought last fall.
They both have white blooms , but the segments and growth patterns are quite different !
Picture taken today :

I would like to add ; one MUST ABSOLUTLY NOT pot up unless the old pot is full of roots.

I bought a small , cheap low-quality plant last fall ( because of lovely bloom color ) , and potted it up with the others , although I saw the roots had not used all the room in the old pot.
Well the roots roted , but I had segments for a lot of new plants ! ;-)

Bergit ( who's learning along the way ).

    Bookmark   November 11, 2006 at 9:32AM
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