Schlumbergera truncata, commonly known as Thanksgiving Cactus, is one of the Holiday Cacti you may find in garden centers in the fall. This plant got its nickname from its willingness to bloom around Thanksgiving in late November. Similar in appearance and culture to their cousins, Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus can be long-lived and sometimes passed down as family heirlooms. Though it thrives on kind neglect and blooms best when pot-bound, you should repot your Thanksgiving Cactus roughly every three years to prevent soil compaction or any time the plant roots protrude from the bottom of the pot.
When to Repot
Wait to repot until after blooms have faded, but before new buds develop. Depending on your plant, this is generally in early spring. Thanksgiving Cactus often bloom best when pot-bound. Do not repot them unless necessary.
How to Repot
Grasp the base of the Thanksgiving Cactus firmly while inverting the pot. Then, gently slide the plant and root ball from the pot, careful not to damage any roots.
Brush away as much old soil as possible to expose the roots. Gently rinse any additional soil away from the roots. Examine the roots carefully, checking for brown or soggy sections. Cut any damaged areas back to healthy, white tissue before proceeding.
Fill the new pot with enough soil to allow the plant to sit at the same height as in the old pot. Set the plant on the soil in the bottom of the pot and gently fill around it until it can stand upright unsupported—water the pot to settle the soil. Add additional soil if needed.
Give the Thanksgiving Cactus a shot of liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength to help with transplant shock. Then, continue fertilizing monthly until late summer.
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