Trif­fids in search of a new home

Published Categorised as How to, Nature, Popular Posts 2 Comments on Trif­fids in search of a new home

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I’ve got a large number of cacti and succu­lents, some of which I’ve had for years (and have their own offshoot chil­dren grow­ing in separ­ate pots now). By the end of the summer, some of them were look­ing a bit sad, and were in seri­ous need of repot­ting. I collec­ted a load of Hornsea ware and other vintage pottery for £1-3 a time over the summer, and then had a big repot­ting session outside, just before the weath­er star­ted turn­ing cold.


Here is how you success­fully repot a cactus or succu­lent into a closed pot. They like dry soil that drains well- any mois­ture hanging around will make the roots start to rot. There’s a layer of gravel at the bottom for drain­age, then a layer of activ­ated char­coal to help stop any fungi grow­ing. The soil is special cactus mix, which is dryer and sandi­er than regu­lar potting soil (it feels very like coffee grounds). Don’t use soil from your garden as it will be too thick and might harbour pests. I used a brand of compost called Cactus Focus. The plants seem to like it, as they’ve been grow­ing better in that than the stuff they came in. At the top of the pot you put more stones, for decor­a­tion, and to stop the fine-textured compost blow­ing away.

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Here’s the tools of the trade. The pot came from a char­ity shop, the char­coal and compost from ebay, and the pebbles from an aquar­i­um shop. Each bag of compost did about three plants. I’ve got a spoon to shovel the compost, as a trow­el is too big, and a small plastic spoon for dibbing. If you are re-potting cacti with spines, heavy rubber-coated garden­ing gloves are also very useful.

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First of all, put the layer of stones, then a layer of char­coal in the pot. Add a small amount of soil to cover. When you take the plant out of its current pot, if it’s been in there for a while, the whole pot might be roots like this one. If you can remove excess soil from the roots, then do.

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Put the plant in the pot, and add the compost a spoon­ful at a time, until the pot is full, and decor­ate with stones on top.

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If any shoots fall off your succu­lents, put them to one side overnight. Once the edge has dried, you can plant them in some small pots, and they will grow into new plants. The success rate of grow­ing succu­lents from cuttings is pretty high.

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A host of trif­fids (I actu­ally repot­ted way more than this, but the sun star­ted to set). When you water the plants, use a spray bottle to mist the pebbles on top, rather than pour­ing water in. These plants grow in the desert, and hate to be water-logged.


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  1. This is so useful. I have a small collec­tion of succu­lents and I often wonder about repot­ting them but didn’t have the first clue how to go about it.

    1. My grandad had a cottage industry grow­ing cacti- so lots of repot­ting going on there. Mine seem to like the cactus compost a lot more than the stuff they came in (which seemed to be a mix of compost and coconut fibre).

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