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Avatar for Caesurra
Mar 23, 2017 12:37 PM CST
Los Angeles
I acquired this little cactus a week ago with no label and no instructions. It looks a little crowded to me so I was thinking of putting it in a wider but still shallow container. I am new to growing cacti and would appreciate suggestions/warnings. Also, can those two little branching pieces be broken off and put in the soil, or should I leave it alone? Thank you in advance!
Thumb of 2017-03-23/Caesurra/179649

Update: I tested the plastic container it was in to see how hard it would be to remove the plant and it disintegrated! So here it is without the container.

Thumb of 2017-03-23/Caesurra/bc2533
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Last edited by Caesurra Mar 23, 2017 12:43 PM Icon for preview
Mar 23, 2017 1:13 PM CST
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Looks good. Yes, a wider container, maybe a bit deeper. Use a soil with excellent drainage (I like 50% pumice). Wait a week after repotting before you water.

I don't know that cactus but I would imagine it could be divided. Maybe from one side or another you can find a stem that could be separated or cut off, with minimal damage to the rest. Sometimes you just have to use your hands to break up a clump. You will have much better odds if the part you separate already has its own roots.

If that were my plant I would repot now, then wait and watch and learn its habits for a few months before attempting anything related to division.
Avatar for Caesurra
Mar 23, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Los Angeles
Excellent advice, thank you so much! Smiling
Avatar for Gogobotanist
Mar 23, 2017 1:39 PM CST

It looks like 'Jelly Bean Cactus' to me, Chamaelobivia. You could let it crowd and clump or tear it to pieces with equal success.
Mar 25, 2017 9:56 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
If the roots were truly overcrowded and in need of a larger pot, the roots would be completely covering the outer portion of the rootball and they are not. If you move it to a larger pot, the added soil will tend to stay moist for too long and lead to root rot. Cacti have fine, small root systems that do not tolerate damp conditions for long. Think desert! If you do repot, you will have to be very careful to water very lightly and very infrequently. Cacti have evolved to survive drought, but not constant dampness. They need lots of direct sunlight and tend to grow very slowly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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