How to Plant Cacti
How to Plant Cacti & Succulents
By High Country Gardens
Follow these simple steps when transplanting cold hardy cactus and succulents.
Dig a 10 inch deep by 10 inch wide hole. All the species of hardy cacti and succulents require very fast draining soil. If your soil doesn’t have adequate drainage, it’s essential to replace half or more of the soil from the planting hole with a course sand and gravel mixture. Use equal parts sand and gravel. If gravel is not readily available, you can replace it with expanded shale. High Country Gardens offers bagged expanded shale. Mix the sand, gravel, and soil thoroughly.
To prepare the soil for your cactus and succulent, use Planters II and Yum Yum Mix. No compost mix should be added. Planters II is a natural trace mineral fertilizer containing more than 30 trace minerals that help support healthy plants and feed the beneficial soil microbes in the soil. Yum Yum Mix organic fertizer is a blend of the finest natural organic ingredients. Sprinkle only a small amount of Planters II and a handful of Yum Yum Mix to the soil. Mix the ingredients thoroughly with the soil. And then replace the soil into the planting hole.
Remove the cactus from its pot. Use a small piece of newspaper or plastic to wrap around the cactus so you can hold it without pricking your finger. Lightly squeeze the side of the pot and slide it off. Gently remove the soil so it falls away from the roots. Plant all cacti bare root. And trim off any broken roots with sharp scissors or clippers.
Removing Succulents is a little different than cacti. Turn the pot upside down and lightly squeeze the sides of the pot. Then push your thumb against the bottom of the pot. This should free the root ball from the sides of the pot and let the plant drop down into your hand. Once the succulent has been removed from the pot, the roots must be prepared for planting. Succulents with fiberous roots need not be planted bare root. Make several shallow cuts through the surface of the roots with a sharp corner of the plastic plant tag or a blade of a pocket knife. Score on each side of the root ball to cut through the roots. Then lightly scratch the side of the roots to make it fuzzy.
From here on, planting cacti and succulents is the same. Spread out the roots evenly. The base of the plant should rest on the top of the soil. Sprinkle the hole with soil until full. Firm the soil gently into place with your fingers. If you use a tool handle, don’t pack the soil too tightly. Fill a ridge of soil around the planting area to hold water and allow it to soak in deeply. Mulch with 1/2″ to 1″ thick layer of small size gravel to protect it from soggy soil during the winter months.
Bare root cacti should not be watered right away, but should sit dry for a day or two to allow the roots to callous over any broken or damaged areas. Other succulents can be watered in right away. After several days, when it’s time to water, make sure to water the ground several times to settle the soil in the planting hole and thoroughly soak the soil surrounding the planting hole.
Once your plant is in its new home, stimulating your root growth is important. At planting time, we recommend the root stimulator combination pack of Superthrive and SeaCom PGR Liquid Seaweed. Mix together 1 teaspoon of SeaCom and a 1/4 tsp of SuperThrive per gallon of water. Once the mixture is made, saturate the root ball and the surrounding soil thoroughly. And don’t forget, reapply the SeaCom and Superthrive mixture two weeks later.