How Often To Water Indoor Cactus Plants

  • Watering cacti should only be done when the potting soil is at least 90% dry.
  • Small to medium-sized indoor cacti, which are succulent plants, often require watering every 10 days or more during the spring or summer and every 4 to 6 weeks during the winter.
  • The ideal way to water cacti is to completely saturate the soil with rainwater or distilled water, and then to stop when water begins to drain from the drainage hole in the potting container.

How are indoor cacti cared for?

Cactus can be grown indoors as long as you place them in a spot where they receive at least 4 to 6 hours of daily sunlight. To ensure they are etiolated, we advise rotating them daily in your brightest windowsill, which is typically a southeast-facing window.

When should I water my cactus?

Fair enough, it can be challenging to make the appropriate decision. Everyone will give you different recommendations because there is so much conflicting information available. Additionally, many plants have various preferences. How do you even begin?

But the story doesn’t end there. You know, a number of things might impact how frequently you should water. To name a few:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • composition of the soil
  • Light intensity
  • Season
  • Dormancy
  • Species
  • Outdoors versus Indoors

There are other others, but we won’t go into them now. The most crucial thing to keep in mind is that, even though 10 days is a solid guideline, you should constantly be aware of the shifting circumstances. You should adjust your watering schedule to account for them.

For instance, it’s well known that throughout the summer, you should water your plants more frequently. It is, after all, much hotter. Water evaporates more quickly, and your plants do too!

Arizona experiences intensely hot and arid summers. Your succulents will need water as frequently as possible if they are in a climate like that. You should water them every day or every other day in those conditions, believe it or not.

The East Coast, including Virginia, can have extremely hot summers. The humidity, nevertheless, is also quite high. Evaporation proceeds far more slowly here than it would in Arizona since the air is already so heavily laden with water. In this situation, we advise watering every five to six days.

Naturally, winters are the opposite. Days get shorter, the sun shines less, and the temperature drops. Some of your plants enter a dormant state (much like a bear hibernating).

You water significantly less regularly throughout the winter (especially for outdoor plants). Depending on how often I remember, I water my indoor plants once every two to three weeks. Sedum and Sempervivum are examples of outdoor, cold-tolerant plants that may never need watering since the odd snow or sleet is more than enough.

Root Rot

The risk of root rot is the primary reason we lay such a strong focus on watering regularly.

The quiet killer that kills the majority of succulents and cacti is root rot. Because it takes place underneath the soil’s surface, you won’t even notice anything is amiss until the plant topples over due to a rotting core.

Why does root rot occur? In a nutshell, roots will begin to decay if they are left in water for an extended period of time. This is due to the fact that plants actually breathe through their roots and that air does not travel well through water.

The succulent essentially drowns. It also doesn’t need to be a lot of water. Root rot can develop only from being damp or moist for an extended period of time.

Because of this, frequency of watering is more crucial than quantity. Giving the succulent adequate time to dry out in between waterings is essential.

How to Know if the Soil is Dry

The first step in keeping your plant dry is to have a fast-draining soil that is primarily formed of inorganic components. Step two involves watering only when the plant has completely dried.

It is simple to determine whether the soil is dry. The simplest method is to just insert your finger into the saucepan. A minimum depth of two inches is required since sometimes the surface may be dry but the ground beneath may not be. Don’t water if it feels damp, wet, or even a touch colder than the surface. Allow a few days.

To check, you can also use a soil moisture meter. These tools are extremely helpful for inspecting numerous plants, however the less expensive models can be somewhat incorrect.

Finally, just watch for your succulent or cacti’s leaves to wrinkle. Though it seems frightening, the plant is not actually damaged. Instead of erring on the side of wet, choose dry.

How should a little indoor cactus be watered?

You ought to consistently water your little cactus from the top down. This will enable the water to softly percolate through the entire soil mixture.

Never add too much water at once because doing so can lead to mold growth in the potting soil of your plant or root rot. Most likely, your indoor cactus plant requires little more than one glass of water every week because it is so small.

Try to avoid letting any extra water collect at the bottom of indoor plants like this one because that is how roots rot.

It is preferable to water your indoor plant in the morning or evening so that it has a chance to dry out before dusk.

If you are unable to water during these times, try to avoid watering too late at night to avoid fungus and other bacteria from growing overnight on the damp leaves.

To avoid shocking indoor plants with cold water, you should always water indoor plants with room temperature water.

Additionally, it’s critical to avoid misting your cactus because doing so will produce a humid environment that could lead to fungus illnesses.

A little indoor cactus is pretty easy to water. Just keep in mind that too much water can kill your cactus, so be careful how much you add!

Where in my home should I place a cactus?

Nowadays, cacti and succulents are highly popular indoor plants, therefore taking good care of them is crucial. They occur in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from the small to the enormous. Because they share traits that enable them to endure in arid conditions, cacti and succulents belong to the same category.

The majority of succulents and cacti are endemic to desert environments. They will therefore thrive in conditions with lots of light, good drainage, hot temperatures, and little wetness. However, some cacti and succulents, like Schlumbergera, enjoy semi-shady and wet environments because that is their natural habitat.

The easiest way to take care of cacti and succulents is to try to mimic their natural environment. The essential factors you should take into account when taking care of your succulents and cacti are listed below.

Light, temperature and ventilation

It is advisable to arrange cacti and succulents in a bright area because they do best with good light sources. A place that faces south will get plenty of light. But be careful not to place them in direct sunlight since the strong light may cause the plants to turn yellow. The best kind of light for growing cacti and succulents depends on the species that you are using. For instance, forest-dwelling epiphytes like Rhipsalis require some shade, whereas an Echeveria requires strong light.

It is ideal to keep the plants cool at night, between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius, during the fall and winter. The plants will survive in high temperatures, but they require sufficient ventilation in the spring and summer.

Compost

Since Westland cacti and succulent potting mix has included girt and sand for the best drainage, it is a good compost to use. Additionally, it has the ideal quantity of nutrients for your succulents and cacti.

Watering and feeding

It’s a popular misperception that succulents and cacti just need a tiny bit of water. Although their leaves and stems can store water, allowing them to survive in dry environments, they will not grow in environments with little water. Your cactus or succulents’ ability to develop successfully depends on regular watering. Underwatering results in shriveling while overwatering stunts growth.

Instead of using tap water to water plants, use lukewarm rainfall. This is because the minerals in tap water can settle on the leaves and accumulate in the soil. Additionally, minerals obstruct the plant’s access to vital nutrients.

Spring and summer

The plants need to be watered at least once a week during the growing season. Give the soil a good soak when watering, letting any extra water run away. Every time you water the compost, give it a little time to dry out.

Utilize Westland Cacti and Succulent Feed, a recommended recipe to use, to feed your plants once a month. They create more robust growth that is more resistant to disease and has superior flowering thanks to it. Simply take a 5ml quantity of the feed from the dosing chamber and mix it into 1 liter of water.

Autumn and winter

The plants enter a period of rest at this time. Reduce watering so that the potting mix dries out in between applications. The type of succulent and the environment it is in will determine how frequently it has to be watered. Winter-flowering cactus should be kept warm and watered frequently now, whereas desert-dwelling cacti don’t need to be watered. Cacti and succulents don’t need to be fed during this time.

Re-potting

The optimal time to repot cactus or succulents that are pot-bound is in the spring. To replant:

  • Before carefully taking the plant from the pot, water it and let it drain. Use folded paper to shield your hands from the spikes.
  • To avoid damaging the roots, remove the old soil from around them with a thin stick, like a chopstick.
  • The new container, which has a slightly larger diameter, should be filled with potting soil before placing the plant inside of it.
  • The remaining potting mix should be added to the pot and compacted.
  • To stop the rotting of injured roots, stop watering for a few days.

The finest care for your succulents or cacti comes from maintaining these conditions. The most crucial thing to keep in mind when taking care of your plant is that you are trying to mimic its natural environment!

Can my cactus survive without water for how long?

What images do you have in mind when you consider cacti? You probably picture a desert plant that can go without water for extended periods of time and yet thrive. Although these plants have adapted to living in deserts and like dry soil, they nevertheless need a significant amount of water, especially during the growing season.

A cactus can survive without water for how long? Normal desert cacti can go without water for up to two years. This is due to the fact that it has grown thick stems that can store a lot of water and have a barrier that stops water evaporation. The conditions are very different for indoor cacti, thus this does not apply to them. Depending on the species, indoor variants do require frequent watering.

How can you determine if a cactus is receiving too much water?

Here are a few frequent problems that many plant owners have when trying to determine the best approach to take care of succulents and cacti.

Cacti and succulents adore light. No succulent or cactus we’ve ever seen wants to sit on your gloomy office desk, even if some species (for succulents, try haworthia or gasteria; for cacti, try epiphytes like rhipsalis and hatiora) can endure lower light. To thrive, these guys need to be close to a window, ideally one that faces south so they can make the most of the sunlight. The first step in determining whether you are prepared to care for succulents and cacti is to choose a light spot in your home.

When they don’t receive enough light, succulents exhibit peculiar behavior. If your succulents require more light, you’ll frequently notice yellowing in them. Bright pink, purple, or yellow colors frequently return to simply plain green, while deep green will eventually fade to pale green.

The development habits of succulents are similarly impacted by inadequate light. Succulents frequently become long and spindly in an effort to reach for the light. Sempervivum and echeveria species, which typically grow in rosettes, may suddenly start growing tall and reaching for additional light.

Likewise with cacti. As the cactus strives for light, what was formerly dark, robust flesh may turn pale. Additionally, just like “reaching succulents,” cacti that don’t get enough light will exhibit odd growth patterns. Etiolation is the process of new growth being significantly smaller than the rest of the plant; occasionally, long, tendril-like branches or unusually skinny new growth on the top of the cactus will emerge.

Succulents and cacti can bounce back from too little light, but the etiolated growth habit is irreversible. If the strange growth pattern bothers you, consider trimming it off. Many succulents and cacti may flourish after pruning. The new growth that appears should be “normal and non-etiolated” as long as you relocate your plant to a position where it will receive enough light.

Finally, because the soil will remain wet for too long in the absence of proper light, root rot might also result. See if your plant might be experiencing root rot as a result of inadequate light by seeing the photographs of it below.

Most cacti and succulents can withstand direct sunlight. However, if your plant isn’t used to it, using too much can be hazardous. For instance, moving a succulent or cactus onto the porch for the summer (very recommended!) and suddenly exposing it to 3 or 4 hours of direct sunlight per day will cause it to burn.

Burn typically manifests itself on your cactus and succulents as browned or calloused flesh. Your best approach for recognizing burn is to look for discoloration, especially on the side of the plant facing the window. A coarser texture will develop on the burned leaves or meat compared to the remainder of the plant.

Burnt leaves cannot be repaired; you can either remove them by pruning or by changing the surroundings so that your plant receives more suitable light.

Succulents and cacti should be moved outdoors during the summer, but do it gradually to give them time to become used to the brighter environment. Start them off in a shaded outdoor space (which will still be brighter than your living room, most likely), and gradually increase their exposure to light over the course of a week or two.

not enough It is undoubtedly safer to provide too little water than too much in the context of caring for succulents and cacti. Despite this, succulents and cacti do require water, particularly in the spring and summer when they are actively growing.

The problematic issue is that having too much or too little water can sometimes appear alike. However, if you err on the side of caution, you might reasonably assume that you are under-watering if your plant exhibits the following behaviors.

When succulents receive insufficient water, they frequently pucker. Because they store water in their foliage, succulents and cacti are lush and meaty. The plant relies on these water reserves to live during dry spells. As the plant physically consumes its water stores, the flesh will start to shrivel or pucker. As observed in these jade species, this typically begins on the lower leaves and moves its way up the plant:

Here’s another illustration of a succulent that is thirsty (a few of which often happen to be etiolated from low light). Observe how they seem a little bit shriveled:

Additionally, a dry cactus may pucker or shrivel in addition to discoloring (usually getting brown and dry, or calloused).

Give your cactus and succulents a nice, thorough watering if they exhibit these symptoms. But always choose cactus or succulent soil that drains properly, as your plants won’t want to stay in wet soil for very long. The leaves should quickly re-puff up!

too much From only a picture, it might be difficult to tell whether a cactus has received too much or too little water. Without knowing how much water it received, for instance, it would be difficult to determine whether this opuntia cactus received too much or not because the symptoms are frequently similar:

However, a succulent or cactus that has received too much water will feel mushy rather than simply puckered. These plants can store a lot of water, but once that storage capacity is exhausted, the plant will literally come apart as the cell walls and roots decay. This results in them becoming mushy, and it’s a crucial distinction that may help you distinguish between over- and under-watering while also looking at your own watering practices and the surrounding environment.

Overwatering is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including browning or blackening of the plant’s leaves or stems, browning or blackening at the plant’s base, mushy or leaky plants, and plants that are practically decomposing in front of your eyes.

Gently remove your succulent or cactus from its pot and look at the roots if you suspect decay. When a plant has brown or black roots, it

To cool Because they are native to desert settings, the majority of succulents and cacti are well-suited to freezing nighttime temperatures (jungle cacti, for example). Most succulents and cacti prefer chilly nights, especially in the winter. In fact, several species, such jade, christmas cactus, and epiphylum, bloom more readily in colder climates.

Low temperatures, however, can be an issue indoors because they frequently coincide with high humidity levels. When you water your cacti and succulents in the cool winter months, the soil will remain moist for a lot longer than it would in the hot summer months. You guessed it: root rot results from cool, damp soil.

Pay close attention to your succulent and cactus watering schedule if your house gets quite cold in the winter. You might only need to water your plants once a month or even less, depending on their type, size, drainage capabilities, and pot. Additionally, we advise erring on the side of caution when it comes to winter watering and giving the plant a moderate amount as opposed to completely soaking the soil.

The procedures outlined above for identifying over-watering are the best approach to determine if too-cold temperatures are having an impact on your succulents and cacti.

too warm Cacti and succulents are particularly skilled at tolerating high temperatures since they can survive cold temperatures for the same reason! After all, the desert is a region of extremes.

However, excessive heat in an indoor growth setting frequently causes watering problems. If your plants are outdoors in the heat, they will quickly dry out. Depending on the heat and exposure, you might need to water your succulents and cacti twice a month or even every week.

When put in a window, excessive temperatures can also be a problem for cacti and succulents. Plants can be burned by the sun’s heat coming through glass since it tends to be more intense. Utilizing the detection procedures outlined under “too much light,” check for burn.

What cacti-related issues have you had? How are succulents cared for? There is so much to learn, and we’d love to learn from you. Please share with us in the comments.

Have inquiries? For a chance to have your issue addressed in the upcoming episode of Pistils Rx, feel free to post it in the comments section or send us an email with images.