How To Care Cactus Plants

Give them a drink, but not too much, and take long intermissions. “Because they store water in their stems, cacti are famed for surviving with little to no watering. That doesn’t imply they don’t require any watering, either. Make sure to inspect the soil periodically. It’s time to water the plant if the top two to three inches of soil are dry “says Palomares.

Thon reiterates Palomares’ counsel and adds: “The temptation to over-water cactus can cause root rot and scab, which manifests as rusty-colored, corky regions on the stems, which is why most people fail at growing cacti. My recommendation is to under-water; you can typically bring them back from the dehydration stage without any problems.”

How is a house cactus plant cared for?

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!

How often should a cactus be watered?

The most frequent reason for cacti failure is improper watering, whether it is done too much or too little. Cacti have evolved to store water for extended periods of time and can maintain moisture through droughts because they are endemic to arid regions and dry temperatures. They have a limited capacity, which is why over-watering can result in a variety of issues.

When it comes to regularity, watering your cacti will largely depend on the season but also on the variety. Checking the soil is the easiest technique to determine whether your cactus needs water: It’s time for a drink if the top inch is dry. That entails applying the “soak and dry procedure” on cactus.

What is the soak and dry method?

The soak and dry technique is thoroughly wetting the soil until part of it begins to flow out the drainage hole, then waiting until the mixture is nearly dry before wetting it once more. If done properly, this strategy will help them endure a period of under-watering should you need to travel or leave the house because it takes use of their natural tendency to store water (or if you just get busy and watering falls to the wayside, as happens to all of us now and again).

Watering during the growing season versus the inactive season

Like with many houseplants, the season affects how frequently you need water. It becomes more crucial that you get in the habit of examining the soil to determine whether your cacti are thirsty. A healthy cactus needs watering every one to two weeks during the growing season, according to general wisdom. The frequency changes to once every three to four weeks during the off-season.

Even then, it’s crucial to examine the soil. The same way that not all interior spaces and not all cacti are alike. The only way to be certain that your cactus require watering is to carefully examine the soil to determine how dry it is because there are so many different factors.

How can a cactus be kept strong and alive?

Cacti are tough plants, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them completely. To stay healthy and flourish, cactus plants, particularly those cultivated inside or in gardens, need continual care.

Watering

Cacti are desert plants, but they require enough irrigation when planted indoors to keep them healthy and increase their growth and reproduction rate. But watering a cactus requires knowledge and planning. Cacti require a waiting interval between waterings in contrast to other moisture-loving plants so that the plant can use up the majority of the water that has already been provided. Cacti do not require frequent watering since they store their water in their succulent stems. Only water when the top two inches of soil feel completely dry.

Sufficient lighting

If you keep cacti in a dark environment, you might not be so lucky because they prefer light. The plant begins to change color and eventually perishes in the absence of light. Make sure you give your cactus ample light when growing them inside. Put your plants in a window that faces west or south to do this. Your cactus only need a minimum of six hours of light each day to remain strong, healthy, and thriving.

Avoid overexposing new or immature plants to light, though. The exterior skin may become scorched as a result, making it vulnerable to insect and fungus attacks.

Use proper potting soil and container

The soil and container you use have a big impact on how long your cacti live. Always use appropriate-sized containers with drainage holes for optimum outcomes. These will aid in the drainage of surplus water to prevent cases or root rot.

Use the right soil mix when planting (here are some suggestions). The soil shouldn’t be too heavy because it will cause it to absorb too much water. In this situation, a soil mixture with lighter dirt would be excellent.

Fertilization

Although cactus is a desert plant with few nutrients, this does not mean it does not require fertilizer. A properly nourished cactus will have a brilliant appearance overall, grow and mature more quickly, and produce flowers that are brighter and more consistent.

Cacti don’t require a special fertilizer mix; an all-purpose fertilizer that has been heavily diluted will suffice. For optimal results, use a low nitrogen water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-10 or 10-10-10.

Cacti that are flourishing are happy cacti. Cactus enthusiasts need to become familiar with the traits of a healthy cactus as well as take precautions to guarantee that it stays that way for the duration of its life. Your cactus will survive to fulfill its purpose, whether it be indoors or outside, with the right care and attention.

How much water should a cactus receive?

It takes longer for a cactus to absorb water from potting medium in larger pots, and it also takes longer for the water to drain or evaporate.

Smaller surface-to-volume ratios are also a characteristic of larger pots. Because of this, a cactus in a large pot would only require watering every 4-6 weeks or more, whereas a cactus in a very small container might only require watering once a week or less.

Because they don’t like to stay in water for too long, most cacti thrive better in smaller pots. If you have a cactus planted in an oversized pot, it can be very challenging to prevent root rot. If you are experiencing issues, repot your cactus into a container that is just big enough for the cactus and no more.

What can I do to make my cactus bloom?

Cacti and succulents prefer summer and winter seasons, as well as a clear variation between night and day temperatures. Succulents prefer colder outdoor nighttime temperatures of 50-550F (10-130C) or at least 60-650F indoor nighttime temperatures (15-180C). Succulents prefer a noticeable contrast between their night and day temperatures to imitate their natural habitat, with the low night temperatures playing a crucial role in the plant’s growth cycle, especially when kept in a controlled setting.

If you want to see your succulents and cacti bloom, overwintering is also crucial. For desert cacti in particular, this can be accomplished by keeping plants cool and largely dry over the winter. During the winter, keep them at a comfortable temperature of between 35 and 440 °F (1.5-70C). If maintained indoors during the winter, try to keep them in an unheated room or keep the temperature low to provide them the necessary cold winter season. This does not apply to holiday cacti, such as Rhipsalis, Schlembergera, and Hatiora, which have different moisture and temperature needs than desert cacti (see below for Holiday cactus blooming tips).

Make sure the plants are kept in a bright area and receive enough sunshine throughout the year, including during the darker winter months. Most succulents and cacti require at least 4-6 hours of bright sunshine every day, if not more. Some plants require filtered but bright light to avoid solar damage since they cannot withstand harsh, full sun. Lack of light causes plants to gradually etiolate, become paler, and spread out in search of more light. To provide adequate lighting, place indoor plants in windows with a south or east orientation. If more light is required indoors, think about using grow lights. Lack of sunshine stunts the growth of succulent plants, and they are unlikely to blossom as effectively.

Giving your plants the nutrition they require instead of fertilizing them will assist maintain healthy growth and promote blooms. Flowers require a lot of energy to grow, therefore giving plants more nutrients during flowering season will assist meet their nutritional requirements. The best time to fertilize is during the active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Fertilizers work best when applied every two weeks at a quarter- or half-strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter and towards the conclusion of the fall growing season. It is acceptable and typical to use a balanced fertilizer blend that has been diluted to half strength. Cacti and succulent-specific fertilizer mixtures are also appropriate.

Although cacti and succulents can store water, they still require frequent watering during the active growing season. Regular watering helps to guarantee that they don’t lose all the water they need to store for growth. Regular watering also improves their ability to resist the hotter summer sun. Water plants thoroughly during the active growing season until water begins to leak out of the pot’s openings. Don’t water again until the soil has dried out. Before watering, check the top inch of the soil for moisture. During the hot summer months, watering should be done more frequently; during the chilly winter months, less frequently. Succulents and cacti suffer from overwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry out in between waterings.

Succulents and cacti require a well-draining soil in addition to suitable watering methods. Cacti and succulents don’t like to sit in water. If left moist for too long, their roots are prone to rot. The capacity of a succulent potting mix to drain efficiently is its most crucial requirement. You have the option of using store-bought potting soil or making your own for succulents. Giving them the proper medium increases their chances of flourishing and blossoming. Keeping your plants content will boost blooming.