To uproot or not to uproot: transporting big cacti
September 20, 2016 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Travelling cross-country with a 3' tall cereus peruvianus montrose. It is top heavy with a 6" diameter trunk and probably 18" diameter crown. Should I uproot it and transport it lying flat swaddled in bubble wrap or heavily stake it and transport it standing up?

Goal is to have the cactus not break at its 6" trunk in transit. Note: the picture I linked to is not my actual cactus, my cactus is 3' tall. Please assume leaving the cactus behind is not an option. It will be riding in the back of a pickup.
posted by stewiethegreat to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Can you get a box big enough for it to stand upright, then secure it as necessary outside / insulation of some kind inside the box? Besides breakage, I'm concerned about mitigating the change in environment from a cross country drive. It's probably better off spending a few days in the dark vs. the wind and weather changes.
posted by momus_window at 2:11 PM on September 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lying flat and swaddled.
posted by shoesietart at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I always avoid uprooting my cacti when not absolutely necessary. I totally understand your concern over breaking the trunk. Long, bouncy trips when vertical lead to a lot of swaying and vibrations. I haven't found staking to be very effective. In your case I would think lying flat, swaddled, and maybe propped up along its length with foam or something. You can do this without uprooting. I've used saran wrap or similar things to trap/compact the soil in the pot so the roots are only minimally disturbed. A few days in that condition should be fairly safe and harm-free I hope.
posted by doteatop at 4:53 PM on September 20, 2016

If it does break off, can the broken off piece be re-rooted?

I know some cacti are more than happy to do this, but maybe not yours.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:20 AM on September 21, 2016

Transport it flat, supported by newspapers / bubble wrap / styrofoam / boxes / blankets / etc. where appropriate.

Pieces that break off during wrapping / unwrapping / transit can be left to dry for a week and then potted up in small pots of their own; they won't all necessarily root, but most will.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 9:59 AM on September 21, 2016

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