How to Transplant a Thanksgiving Cactus | Home Guides

May 28, 2014 – 12:33 pm

Thanksgiving cactus is the most commonly grown epiphytic cactus.

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) are tree-dwelling plants that you may find in garden centers in the fall. These plants get their nickname from their willingness to bloom in late November,around Thanksgiving. Similar in appearance and culture to their cousins,the Christmas and Easter cactus,Thanksgiving cactus can be long-lived and are even sometimes passed down as family heirlooms. Though they thrive on kind neglect and bloom best when pot-bound,you should repot Thanksgiving cactus roughly every three years to prevent soil compaction,or any time that the plants' roots protrude from the bottom of the pot.

Grasp the base of the Thanksgiving cactus firmly while inverting the pot. Gently slide the plant and root ball from the pot,being careful not to damage any roots that are growing out the drainage holes.

Brush away as much of the old soil as possible to expose the roots. Gently rinse any additional soil away from the roots. Examine the exposed 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 orchid potting mix to allow the plant to sit at the same height it was in the old pot. Set the plant on the orchid mix 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 orchid mix,if needed.

Give the Thanksgiving cactus a shot of liquid fertilizer mixed at half strength to help with transplant shock. Mix 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts in 1 gallon of water the following week and apply to the plant. Continue fertilizing monthly until late summer,alternating liquid fertilizer with Epsom salts biweekly.

Things You Will Need

  • Hand-held pruners

Tip

  • Wait to repot a Thanksgiving cactus until after blooms have faded,but before new buds develop. Depending on your plant,this is generally in early spring.

Warning

  • Thanksgiving cactus often bloom best when pot-bound -- do not repot them unless absolutely necessary.

Photo Credits

  • Thanksgiving cactus is the most commonly grown epiphytic cactus.

Source: homeguides.sfgate.com


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Sounds like you will be traveling...

I suggest you have a live flower sent to their home to arrive just before you get there... something like an azalea or a Thanksgiving cactus plant, or a Christmas Cactus plant.
While there, I recommend you be very active in helping prepare meals, serve and clean up after the meals.
Offer to do things like peeling the potatoes, set the table, etc.
Since you are going to be there for 4 days, offer to run the vacuum before guests arrive, etc.
Offer to make quick trips to the grocery store as you see the need.
If there are children in the family, help entertain the children to give their parents a break


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