How to repot a Christmas cactus: keep your plant healthy for years to come

Our tips on how to repot a Christmas cactus will enable you to enjoy these seasonal blooms year after year

how to repot a Christmas cactus
(Image credit: Elena Grishina/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you're wondering how to repot a Christmas cactus, then you're in luck. We've brought together all the tips and tricks on how to do it properly so that you can enjoy your houseplant through the festive period and beyond.

As with any of the best Christmas plants, providing optimum growing conditions and maintenance is crucial for a successful display. And with a Christmas cactus, part of this process is to transplant it into a new pot from time to time, so it can benefit from fresh soil and more room to grow.

Going about it the wrong way can damage the plant, so it's a good idea to get the know-how before you get started. Our guide will help you prepare – you'll soon see how simple it is.

How to repot a Christmas cactus in 3 easy steps

Jo Lambell, Founder and houseplant expert of Beards & Daisies, explains the straightforward steps for learning how to repot a Christmas cactus:

  1. Start by selecting a pot that's roughly around 1–2in (3–5cm) larger than your plant's current container. Try not to go beyond two pot sizes bigger, as Jo advises. Anything larger than this can overwhelm the plant with soil and water it doesn't need. Make sure your new pot has drainage holes in the bottom.
  2. 'Next, gently remove the plant from its current pot,' says Jo. 'Rotate the plant to loosen it and eventually slide it out. If this doesn't work, lightly tap the bottom of the pot to help the process along.'
  3. 'Once out, loosen its roots before replanting into its new pot with fresh soil (a lightweight, well-drained potting mixture is best). Give it a drink and position somewhere shady for a couple of days before moving back to its usual spot and care routine,' Jo adds. You can find plenty of tips on how to grow a Christmas cactus in our guide.

Looking for another festive plant to add to your seasonal display? Our guide on how to care for a poinsettia might come in useful.

pink Christmas cactus in pot

Look after your Christmas cactus and you'll be rewarded with beautiful blooms

(Image credit: Olga Ionina/Alamy Stock Photo)

When should you repot a Christmas cactus?

'Repot your Christmas cactus after it has bloomed in late winter or early spring,' says Jo Lambell. They need repotting less frequently than many other houseplants. In fact, you probably will only need to do it every 3–4 years, as this plant likes its roots to be slightly crowded.

'A sign this cactus needs to be repotted is when roots peek through the drainage holes of its pot,' adds Jo.

white flowering Christmas cactus in pot

You won't need to repot your Christmas cactus regularly

(Image credit: amomentintime/Alamy Stock Photo)

How big a pot should you use to repot a Christmas cactus?

'When it comes to choosing the perfect pot, make sure you don't go too large,' says the experts of houseplant food brand Baby Bio®. 'The Christmas cactus prefers a snug fit, and over-potting can cause slow growth and puts you at a greater risk of over-watering. 

'Generally speaking, we recommend increasing size by no more than two inches each time, to a pot with a ¼ inch from the main body of the cactus to the inner rim of the pot.'

Looking for more houseplants to add to your collection? You can find lots of lovely choices in our best indoor plants buying guide.

red flowering Christmas cactus

Avoid using a pot that's too large for your Christmas cactus

(Image credit: Elena Grishina/Alamy Stock Photo)

Can you divide a Christmas cactus when you repot it?

Yes, you can divide a Christmas cactus when you repot it to make new plants. It's great for gifts or simply to bring more foliage into different parts of your home. And the best part is, it's free. So, it's an affordable approach for festive decor, just like learning how to make a Christmas wreath or our DIY Christmas decoration ideas.

All you need to do is carefully split the plant into sections using a sharp and clean knife. Avoid damaging the roots as much as possible. Then, repot each section as above. It's best to do this just after the plant has finished flowering.

You can also grow new plants from leaf cuttings. You can find more info on how to take cuttings from plants in our guide.

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!