Dividing and Repotting a Christmas Cactus?

May 12, 2020

Can I split a Christmas cactus if it's blooming?



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May 12, 20200 found this helpful
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My friend grows them and has successfully stated new ones. There are lots of youtube how to videos that explain it better than I can.

She said to wait until the flowers are done before doing anything. This is guidance passed down from her mom. The one plant she has, has started two babies from it. The parent is over 20 years old, which I understand to be unusual. I baby sat them last November for a month and had the blessing of the mommy plant flowering on my watch. The rest came in for Christmas.

They love morning sun, being talked to, and water just once a week.

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I presently have at least 10 'Christmas Cactus' which in reality are Thanksgiving Cactus, Easter Cactus and Christmas Cactus and they are all a beautiful green but some have new bubs which will open soon.


Cactus plants are somewhat unpredictable with their blooming time but I believe it has a lot to do with the amount of light they receive as much as the type of cactus plant.
My plants grow best if I let the soil dry and then set the pot in a container and water thoroughly - wait a couple of hours and remove the excess water from the bottom container (I do not wait until they are wilting).
All are root bound but seem to be smiling everyday.

I would say you should not divide your Christmas Cactus while it is actively blooming.
I live in Florida and my plants stay outdoors most of the year but I have found they do not like direct sunlight and heavy watering.

This is what most growers say about when NOT to divide: This mentions 'repotting' but the growers say dividing a cactus is really repotting but causes a lot more stress on the plant.


"Most plants are best repotted when they display new growth in spring, but Christmas cactus repotting should be done after blooming ends and the flowers have wilted in late winter or early spring. Never attempt to repot the plant while it is actively blooming."

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July 29, 2020

I have a thirty year old red Christmas cactus which is so huge it is becoming difficult to keep in my home. I know I can take cuttings from leaves and have done so successfully many times, but can'I break up the main plant, it has three thick main branches.

I would hate to kill it.

Dividing a 30 Year Old Christmas Cactus? - large Christmas cactus on patio furniture


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July 31, 20200 found this helpful
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I believe it is recommended that separation should be done in late spring or early summer (February, March, April). I believe this has something to do with blooming time.


I have a very large one also and i just transplant mine instead of really dividing it. I do generally take a few clumps off the sides when I do this but I believe transplanting causes less shock than dividing.
They also need about 14 hours of darkness each night so when mine is on my porch I sometimes cover it with a large box so the darkness lasts longer. Some people cover theirs with a light weight dark cloth.

Christmas cacti like a tight pot, so be sure to select the right size for your new divisions - I think it's recommended to only have about 1 - 1/12" between roots and side of pots.

Soak the plant in water before dividing so the soil will break up easier. Trim off any slimy pieces of root.
You can use a general purpose potting soil but cacti soil mix is very good and helps drainage.


Christmas cactus plants like feeling a little cramped and flowers best when root bound. Consider transplanting it every three to five years.

YouTube has some good videos on how to divide your plants.

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March 19, 2012

How do I separate a Christmas Cactus that is root bound?

By Marcia S. from Spokane Valley, WA


March 19, 20120 found this helpful
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Allow cactus to get slightly dry, remove from pot. Some Cactus plants have only one stem and cannot be divided. If that is the problem, place plant into a larger pot with enough potting soil to bring the soil to about 1/2 inch below the top of the pot.


Using fingers, sort of break the soil loose from the roots of the the plant, not too much, just to loosen the soil. Place new soil around the edges of pot and pack loosely to the top of the soil plant is setting in. Water really well and keep slightly moist for about 2 weeks. Then let soil dry slightly each time before watering again.

During the 3rd week, and some liquid fertilizer to water before watering. Add liquid fertilizer about 4 to 6 weeks apart.

If there are two plants in the planting pot, you can take your hands and work between the plants until you get them separated and using the same technique above they can be divided. You may use a knife to divide the roots of the 2 plants. This will cut some of the roots rather than pull the roots apart and breaking them in two.

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February 23, 2010

I need to know how to replant a Christmas cactus that needs to be trimmed.

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By vicki from Conneaut


February 24, 20102 found this helpful
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Hi Vicki, I grow epiphyllums (commonly called orchid cactus) and I think the care is the same as Christmas cactus. If you want to cut off some of the fronds, you can actually let them sit (out of the sun, but just laying on a table, etc.) for a few days until the cut end seals and plant them for a new plant. Then just pot up the old plant in a slightly larger pot using 1/2 orchid bark (medium will do) and potting soil. Since it is a succulent, don't water it much for the first two weeks, especially the new cuttings. Good luck!

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July 31, 2011

How do I trim the length of a Christmas cactus to replant it in a larger container?

By ljl

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