Transplanting Christmas Cactus: Repotting When They Get Too Big!

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Christmas cactus houseplants offer beautiful winter blooms indoors and barely require any maintenance. As they grow bigger, though, you should plan on transplanting Christmas cactus into a bigger pot for a healthier plant!

Replanting Christmas cactus plants is something you can generally do in a matter of minutes. As long as you have some potting soil available and a larger pot, it’s pretty quick and easy to repot a Christmas cactus.

I am happy to share some tips and tricks for potting up Christmas cactus plants when they need more space to grow.

Transplanting Christmas Cactus from Small Pot to Bigger Planter on Deck with Hand Spade
Transplanting Christmas Cactus from Small Pot to a Bigger Planter

What is a Christmas cactus?

Christmas cactus is a cactus plant that is popularly enjoyed indoors as a houseplant. As its name suggests, this plant generally blooms in the winter months around the holidays. Christmas cactus flowers may be red, pink, white, yellow, orange, or purple.

What is the scientific name of Christmas cactus?

Christmas cactus belongs in the cactus family, with the scientific name of Schlumbergera truncate. This popular winter houseplant is also called Thanksgiving cactus or holiday cactus, and sometimes even crab cactus.

When to Transplant Christmas Cactus

You may notice your Christmas cactus has grown too big for its pot. Christmas cactus doesn’t need to be repotted frequently, as that could actually hurt your plant. Leave three or four years in between transplants. The best time to transplant Christmas cactus is after blooming in the wintertime or early spring. Do not attempt to replant Christmas cactus when it is in bloom. Wait until the flowers have faded and dried or begun to shrivel.

Replanting Rootbound Christmas Cactus
Replanting Rootbound Christmas Cactus

Of course, if you are trying to propagate Christmas cactus, you can pop those babies in some potting soil anytime! Be sure to check out our post on propagating Christmas cactus for more details on how to get many baby plants from one mature one.

How to Transplant a Christmas Cactus

Figuring out how to replant a Christmas cactus is not too hard!

Simply follow these steps for replanting Christmas cactus plants in a matter of minutes!

  1. Choose a flower pot that is at only a little bigger than the previous pot. Surprisingly, Christmas cacti don’t mind being just a bit enclosed.
  2. Fill the new planter about halfway full with a potting mix specifically for succulents and bromeliads, or a 2:1 blend of potting soil and sand. (Use your best judgement on soil depth based on the size of your Christmas cactus.
  3. Gently free the Christmas cactus from its own pot.
  4. Lightly squeeze the root ball to loosen it up a bit so the roots aren’t totally constricted.
  5. Replant the Christmas cactus in the new planter. Lightly fill the pot around the roots with potting mix or the sand and potting mix combo.
    Repotted Christmas Cactus outside
  6. Lightly pat the soil surface to help it settle.
  7. Water adequately.
  8. Place the repotted Christmas cactus in a shady area or semi-dark room for a few days so your plant can acclimate to the new pot without other stressors.
  9. Return the plant to its normal location and continue caring for it as you did prior to repotting Christmas cactus.

These steps for transplanting Christmas cactus should help to avoid shocking your plant.  

Replanting Christmas Cactus

Now that you know how to transplant a Christmas cactus, I hope the process is quick and easy for you!

Repotting Christmas Cactus into a bigger pot
Repotting Christmas Cactus into a bigger pot

Repotting Christmas cacti once every three or four years is such a small price to pay for such a lovely reward.

By the way, I’m just going to leave this here – apparently there are some tips on how to get a Christmas cactus to bloom from Michigan State University’s MSU Extension office.

The lush greenery and the gorgeous flowers are reason enough to ensure your Christmas cactus is in great health. Add in the easy care and effortless propagation and you really can’t find a better beginner houseplant in my humble opinion.

Christmas Cactus potted up into its new flower pot
Christmas Cactus potted up into its new flower pot

Do you have any questions on transplanting Christmas cactus? Are you able to offer additional tips?

Feel free to ask questions or share favorite advice in our comments below! We can all learn from each other, and we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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    1. Hi Tina, thanks for your comment. I am so sorry to hear about your Christmas cactus stems breaking. I believe they actually like their roots to be a bit close, but when the plant really grows in size, it helps to pot up to the next size. From what I understand, the stems breaking easily may be a sign your plant is stressed. This can happen with too much or too little water or sunlight, if diseased, or most commonly, due to temperature. Christmas Cactus seems to thrive between 70-80 degrees. I hope this helps – let me know if you have any other questions! Also – for the pieces that do break off – you can try replanting them to start healthy new plants – I have an article on propagating as well. Best of luck and happy gardening!

  1. My Plants leaves are wilted and slim. I’m wanting to repot , it’s July in central California . It’s still in the pot that I bought it in last thanksgiving .

    1. Hi Sandra, sorry to hear your plant is looking on the slim side. Is the soil getting enough moisture? I’ve heard that the black nursery pots can zap the moisture out and even burn the roots if the sun is too hot. Take a peek and see if that is the case for you – you can always try increasing the shaded time if needed. Good luck and let us know!

  2. Question: I repotted my large “Easter Cactus” to a larger pot. When I removed it, it was rootbound & the roots/rootball slightly ” came apart.” I also removed several of the very heavy overhanging parts. She is looking mighty sad today, & I hope she is not totally damaged!
    Any suggestions? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Linda, nice hearing from you! So sorry to hear your Easter cactus gave you a bit of trouble when potting up. I am hopeful you will be seeing new growth by now – even if the plant sections separate a bit, they should hopefully send out new roots. 🙂 I would continue to care for your plant as per usual and even consider propagating small pieces as insurance if you start to worry! (Apologies for the delay in my response – for some reason I have not received notifications on new comments via email lately.) Wishing you all the best with your plants!

  3. i believe I overwatered my Christmas cactus, wilting, yellowing, and some entire strands breaking off so I just repotted it. It had a hard packed root ball on it which I loosened slightly. It’s now in a shady place for a few days. How much to water? I’m scared. I’ve read online everything from don’t water it for a few days to “water it moderately”. I only put a small amount of water on top just now. Should I give the new soil one more thorough watering? And maybe it’s a worse problem like fungus???

    1. Hi Cindy! Thanks for your comment and so sorry to hear you are having some trouble with your Christmas cactus. I love ours so much and I am really hopeful yours will bounce back for you! If you water, I would do so only lightly to start, as it sounds like you already have, especially if you think you may have accidentally overwatered initially. By the way – Definitely try to propagate the pieces that broke off if you still have them! You can root them in soil or water – I have a post about propagating them. 🙂

      How did the roots look besides cramped when you repotted? I am hoping your remedy does the trick – please update us if you like! Good luck!

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