Do Christmas cactus like to be root bound? Yes Christmas cactus do prefer to be root bound and grow.
They would literally grow well with compact grown roots. In other words, they can grow well despite being root bound.
Having said that, you need to consider repotting the plants once every four years. That will allow the plants to grow in a slightly larger pot freshly.
To be precise on the sizes, you need to choose two inches larger pots when you transplant them. Once they become root bound, they would tend to flower as well. Christmas cactus are naturally formed in such a way where they become root bound and then grow.
What is root bound?
Root bound literally means, the roots forming into a dense tangled mass manner whilst leaving no space for any further new growth.
Signs of root bound
Christmas cactus may tend to wilt quickly if they are going through root bound. Chances are that one may think it has a sign of under watering.
Further they may tend to form yellow or brown leaves as well. You could commonly spot these around the base of the plants.
Again , you may think your precious Christmas cactus is suffering from over watering when they witness this condition.
Additionally, they may show stunt growth too. Once the root bound is severely affected, you will see their containers are also pushed into a misshapen look. Additionally, you could see them carrying cracks due to the plant’s roots as well.
Apart from that you could see their roots forming above the soil as well.
If you are unsure whether these plants are root bound or not, you can simply take the plants out of the pots and observe them closely.
If your plant has become slightly root bound, you can take the plants out of the pots easily. While on the other hand, if your Christmas cactus has become severely root bound, you will find it difficult to even take the plants out of the pots.
Further, if you spot the cactus roots growing out of the draining holes of the pots, that could also be a sign of your Christmas cactus root bound. Moreover, the soil may also be hard in those pots.
If you come across these signs in your cactus , you could keep them as it is for a few more weeks as they can grow well despite being root bound.
Having said that, you need to consider repotting them at least once every four years since they would need to have some more space for further growth.
Not only that but also, you can transplant them in a new fresh soil mix which is more fertile as well.
However, you may find it difficult to pot a Christmas cactus as chances are that you will end up hurting the plants while removing them from the pot.
In that circumstance best would be to break the pot and take the plants out of the pots. Since you are growing them in clay pots, breaking them won’t be a big issue. It will be very easy to transplant them without damaging the plants.
What should I do If it is root bound?
First and foremost, the best thing you could do is to repot the Christmas cactus when the plants are going through root bound condition.
You need to select a fast-draining soil mix which is specifically designed for cactus and for succulents so that it will better the draining of the soil mix.
Next fill the new container with some fresh soil mix and plant it whilst assuring the top of the root ball is placed one inch deep from the top of the pot.
Further ensure that you clean the plant’s root ball from the dirt and then plant them. If you wish you may also rinse the roots with water so that you can remove the old soil and dirt around the roots and the root balls.
Ensure that you allow it to dry and then place it in the new pot and fill the root ball area with the fresh soil mix. If you spot any yellowed or withered stem parts, you should snip them off.
After that you should water them moderately and leave them under a shady area. Those conditions would allow them to settle in the new growing conditions.
You may keep them in your porch or on the patio during spring and summer so that they can gain fresh air as well as indirect sunlight.
If you wish to share the plants with your friends, you may use their stem cuttings for propagation and divide them among your friends.
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