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christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

Posted by pattirose4 canada (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 19, 06 at 13:28

My christmas cactus has gotten so big that I can barely lift it, it's 5 feet across. It looks like there are 2 separate plants in the pot - there were 3 but one rotted and died last year. I was thinking of dividing it to make it easier to handle but then I'll need twice as much room.
I have never cut it back and wonder if I should or if that would affect its blooming next year?
I transplanted it once when I got it 5-6 years ago but it didn't need it.(the lady who gave it to me said it was root bound, but it wasn't)
I had a hard time transplanting it and damaged and lost alot of the branches, that was when it was small, now that it's huge I am leary of trying it again so all I do is replace 3-4 inches of top soil every year.
Any help or ideas would be appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

Wait until Spring, but not when it's hot. It's best after the plant flowers. I would divide and give it new soil. Norma


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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

You can do either or but since it's so large and you've already had some difficulty I'd go with the cutting method.

Last fall I was at a local greenhouse and noticed that all of their CC was sheared off. I thought it was kinda weird until I peeked into a door that lead to a back room and saw hundreds of potts with cuttings apparently rooting.


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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

Thank-you for the replies. I was going to wait till it finished blooming anyway, today I see it has new growth.
I'll go ahead and do both plus make some new plants from the cuttings.
Should I remove some of the root system also?


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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

  • Posted by njoynit Z8b Coastal ~seclude (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 22, 06 at 8:13

In May or June you can do your re potting.I transplanted a large one about 12 years ago& divided it.It was in a large azealia pot.I did trim my segments also.I looked for the ones that had grown like a single stem by itself(Those with older plants will understand that better cause some of their segments have broke and formed new starts on tips of 2-3 new branches)I varied how far I cut them(most we're 10-17 segments long) I did root prune my friends portion.she potted hers in a colinder so could sit plant in her grandmas old wash bowl that was in a stand with mirror.Hers still bloomed that year,but the following year outbloomed mine.I still use cactis mix.I lived in Indpls IN then so the re potting time should be about right. My roots we're tight.they loosened some durring the split.hers wouldn't fit where she wanted it unless roots we're pruned.I took machette and made an X& just lossened mine up & removed some of old soil...up till the split I did as you....top with new soil when needed.That plant looked great till wintered in hubbys garage and a section of plants got a engine hoist dropped on them.I then learned they don't root worth crap in winter. Good Luck!


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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

Thank-you for the detailed reply. May it is!


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RE: christmas cactus - divide or cut back or both?

Hi Pattierose, If you distrub the root system now,I would leave it open to infection. May will be perfect. If they have roots, you may water as soon as it is transplanted. This plant grows in trees, and forest floors, so I think it can take some humis. One of the gals shared a link for us to look at, I think the information is terrific, I ran off four copies, would you like a copy? I would be glad to send it along, but I will need your address. Another thought they like to be crowded. Norma


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