Cactus plants that thrive in cold climates prefer many of the same environmental factors as their southern cousins, such as lots of light. Some of the most typical maintenance needs for cold-weather cacti are listed below.
How to Plant Cacti
Cacti need soil that drains fast, but pure sand shouldn’t be used because it doesn’t contain enough nutrients to support their growth. It is recommended to combine typical garden soil or topsoil with 40 to 60 percent coarse sand and up to 10 percent compost for a nutrient-rich, quick-draining mix when growing cacti. Fine-grain sand should be avoided since it can clog soil instead of improving drainage. Cactus plants should not have the soil around their shallow roots disturbed after planting. Pea gravel or other small rock mulch helps control weed growth, keeps the soil temperature constant, and protects soil from blowing away.
In order to offer optimum drainage, raised beds are advised. You need more drainage the more rain your area receives. Cacti should be grown in pots under cover, such as a roof overhang, in extremely moist areas. Cacti should never be planted on normal or clay soil since they are easily overwatered and will perish.
In the winter or fall, refrain from watering cacti. To get ready for the upcoming weather, cactus plants start to contract and seem withered and unappealing. This is a typical phase of their hibernating process; but, if you water them at this time, the extra water may freeze and destroy the plant.
The best strategy is typically to let Mother Nature take care of watering your cactus over the rest of the year. You can feel free to water your cactus, though, if there are several weeks in a row of hot, dry weather without any rain. The plants are probably trying to notify you they need water if the soil is completely dry and they appear limp or are starting to droop. Avoid watering the plant directly and properly soak the soil for the greatest effects.
In-ground cactus plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer, although they can benefit from spring applications of compost or a liquid fertilizer made for use on vegetables or bulbs. Avoid fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen (the first number of the three shown on the package). Nitrogen promotes quick growth, but it can also make a plant too delicate and prone to winter damage, especially later in the growing season.
Protecting Cactus Plants
Contrary to popular belief, cold-hardy cacti can thrive in regions with a lot of snow. Cacti can, however, suffer from frostbite in regions with cold temperatures and strong winds but minimal snowfall. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage. The burlap shields the plants from the sun, cold, and wind while allowing them to breathe. In order to protect the cactus plants from too much moisture during warmer winters, carefully erect a structure over them, such as a canvas tent.
Due to the fact that some species of cactus are native to freezing desert environments, they can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants may exude water, which will give them a slightly deflated appearance, or they may contain spines or hairs that deter frost. However, many cacti cannot withstand cold or temperatures below zero. Always examine the hardiness zone of a cactus before purchasing. Bring your cactus inside as a houseplant if you reside in a location outside of its range. Row covers, tents, and frost cloths can all be used to protect your cactus from the bitter cold outside.
To review, humidity is the quantity of water vapor in the atmosphere. Cacti typically like low humidity and good airflow, though they do appreciate water after drying up. Winters are frequently dry, so keeping your cactus next to a heater inside won’t cause any issues. The air outside is frequently dry due to wind chill. Keep an eye on the humidity if you live somewhere where it gets cold and humid. If the relative humidity exceeds those ranges, you might wish to bring your cactus indoors because most cacti like a relative humidity of 40 to 60 percent.
Is it bad for cacti to be cold?
You might be surprised to learn that cacti are among the best-known warm-weather plants and can suffer freezing damage. However, even in Arizona’s hot and dry summers, wintertime lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) are not uncommon. Cactus may suffer freezing damage as a result of this. You’ll need to know how to care for a frozen cactus if you discover that your cactus is harmed after a cold spell. Can you revive a frozen cactus? How can a frozen cactus be revived? For advice on helping a cactus harmed by cold, continue reading.
How can I keep my cactus safe from the snow?
Taking Care of Cactus Plants Cacti can get burnt or frostbitten in locations with strong winds, sun, and little snow. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage. The burlap shields the plants from the sun, cold, and wind while allowing them to breathe.
Can cacti in pots remain outside in the winter?
The anxiety that comes with growing cactus plants outdoors during the chilly winter months is arguably one of the most difficult aspects of the process. Will your cacti withstand the bitterly cold weather and nonstop rain?
Occasionally, during the chilly winter season, temperatures can fall below freezing in some places of the world. Additionally, there is a chance that certain areas may have considerable snowfall and prolonged frosty nights.
Normally, daily temperature variations in deserts range from 68 to 77 oF. The extreme lowest temperature can occasionally be as low as -0.4oF while the extreme maximum temperature can occasionally be as high as 120oF.
Many cacti species can withstand the cold winter temperatures with difficulty because they have adapted to these temperature variations in the desert. But you should always make sure your plants are kept dry and get plenty of light and warmth during the day.
Remember that your cacti plants may not survive if exposed to extremely low temperatures with additional moisture from snow or frost if you don’t take measures to make sure they are kept dry and have access to light (even if it is artificial light from your house lamps).
Gardeners must take every precaution to elevate the minimum temperature in regions with long, cold winters and brief, overcast days in order to secure the survival of their plants.
In winter, should I water my cactus?
Cactus plants require relatively little upkeep. They may thrive without much care and simply need occasional watering. They don’t need as much maintenance as other plants do.
Cactus plants often need to be watered once every one to two weeks. To avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot, if there is a lot of rain in your location (more than an inch per week), you should water once every three to four weeks.
When the soil has dried out but before it becomes too hot outside, is the ideal time to water your cactus.
You should aim to provide the plant with enough water while avoiding dehydration when the weather is too hot for their roots because the heat from the sun will soon dry out the plant.
Depending on how frequently they go through cycles of soaking and drying out during warmer weather conditions, you should water your cactus using an automated drip system once or twice a week.
Regular watering of your cactus promotes blooming in addition to aiding in growth.
How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Summer
During the summer, most people water their cacti once a week, but this can vary.
Give your cactus some extra watering if your soil is dry for a few days and it doesn’t rain to make sure they stay hydrated and healthy.
Summertime temperatures are typically warmer, so your cactus will require more water than it would in the dead of winter.
If you live somewhere where summer days can reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to think about watering your plants twice a week if they are indoors or close to a window due of the added heat.
During the summer, you should strive to water cactus outdoors one or two times per week. Don’t worry about watering them the following day if it rains.
Your cactus will need less water than those grown somewhere warmer with constant summer heat if you reside in a cooler region with temperature swings of hot and cold temperatures or icy winters.
Keep a watch on their soil to make sure that when it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, all areas have access to moisture.
How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Winter
Your cactus won’t need as much water in the winter while it is dormant and growing more slowly because the cold weather slows down their metabolism.
During the winter, you should typically water your cactus once every two weeks. Before rehydrating the soil, make sure it is absolutely dry, and then allow it to completely drain.
Because cacti have slower metabolisms throughout the winter when they are dormant, you should avoid overwatering your cactus. The roots will rot if you overwater them, which will harm your plant.
On the other hand, if you wait too long between waterings in the winter when they’re slower growing and don’t need as much water, the likelihood that they’ll perish from the cold is enhanced.
Therefore, throughout the winter months, err on the side of caution and water your cactus about once every two weeks.
Take care not to water at all during dormant times if you live in an area with extremely cold winters (below USDA Zone #11) as this could encourage growth that isn’t appropriate for your location.
Watering Requirements for Cacti That Are Not Dormant
If your cacti are not dormant and you reside in a region where winters are moderate and temperatures don’t drop below freezing, you might want to water them more frequently.
Some cactus species do not require a period of dormancy throughout the winter. These cacti need to be watered more frequently than the typical cactus.
You should water your plant once per week or every two weeks throughout this time of year.
During these months, make sure the soil is totally dry before watering it once more, and then allow it to completely drain.
Fast-draining potting soil will also aid in avoiding overwatering, which can result in root rot during the winter when temperatures are lower.
How Often Should You Water an Indoor Cactus
Cactus cultivation in containers differs from outdoor cultivation. Other considerations also need to be taken into account.
The size of your container and its drainage holes should be your first concern.
If they’re too small, you’ll have difficulties with overwatering; if they’re too huge, the plants will dry out before you water them again.
Pick up your pot and feel how weighty it is to get the best idea of the right size. The more substantial the better, as this indicates that you have provided sufficient potting mix for good drainage.
The type of cactus plant, the humidity levels in your house or workplace, the seasons (autumn and winter tend to be drier than spring and summer), etc. will all have an impact on how often you need water indoor cacti in pots.
If every one of these factors stays the same throughout the year, then once every one to two weeks ought to be sufficient.
Just be careful not to water them excessively! After all, cacti are desert plants. The fastest way to destroy an indoor cactus garden is with too much water!
Finally, think about filling the bottom of the container with grit or gravel.
You won’t have to worry as much about overwatering them because this will improve drainage and promote aeration.
How Often Do You Water an Outdoor Cactus
Since most kinds of desert cactus are subtropical or tropical rather than hardy (meaning they can’t withstand temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), this can be especially problematic if you reside in a colder location.
During the spring and summer, outdoor cactus typically require watering at least once every two weeks, but this can vary according on your area.
But if you live somewhere where the summers are hot, these plants will probably need watering every other week or so.
It’s preferable to use your finger to feel the soil in warmer climates before watering plants.
Although watering cacti doesn’t require advanced science, various criteria, such as the type of cactus plant (some species require less water than others), soil drainage (watering frequency is reduced in loose, well-draining potting mixes), etc., can help you decide when and how frequently to water a cactus.
Cacti are desert plants after all, and they can withstand droughts much better than the majority of other desert plants.
If you reside in a region where it rains frequently, however, once every two weeks should be adequate.
Don’t water the soil if it appears to be wet. Simply check with them again the next day to determine whether they still require watering.
Finally, if your cacti are outside and you reside somewhere with very low humidity (less than 30 percent), you’ll need to water them more frequently.
Your desert plant should already have well-draining soil if you’re growing it outdoors (usually half sand, half dirt). Add some gravel if necessary to enhance drainage.
Since cacti are drought-tolerant plants, they shouldn’t require watering after being planted or transplanted.
If rainfall appears to be infrequent during some seasons of the year, you may want to think about increasing its water intake by an inch every few weeks. However, this may change over time depending on how frequently it rains during those seasons.
Make that there is adequate drainage! Instead of being too wet in between waterings, they should have time to dry off.
Cacti occasionally might benefit from having mulch placed on top of their soil (or gravel at the bottom)! This will aid in retaining moisture and stop grass or weeds from encroaching on it.