How To Get Cactus To Grow

Cacti, often known as cactuses, are fairly slow-growing plants that can take years to exhibit noticeable growth. Is there anything you can do, though, to help your cactus grow more quickly? You’ll discover general care advice and advice on how to make your cactus grow quicker in this post.

You must maintain a regular watering schedule, enable adequate air exchange, and water cacti with soft water if you want them to develop more quickly. Additionally, nurture your cactus while they are growing and let them inactive throughout the colder months.

How long does a cactus take to grow?

If you own a cactus, you probably want to know how quickly it will grow and how big it will eventually get. Knowing this will help you determine where to place your cactus and what plants to grow next to it. How quickly do cacti grow, then?

Most cacti develop slowly; depending on the species, they typically sprout to the size of a large marble after 6–12 months and reach a height of a few centimeters after 2–3 years. The majority of cacti then increase 1-3 cm in height annually. There are a few prominent exceptions that can increase in height by at least 15 centimeters annually.

  • The typical annual height growth rate for echinocactus, like the Golden Barrel Cactus, is 1-2 cm.
  • Ferrocactus species typically grow by about 2-3 cm in height every year.
  • Depending on its stage of development, the Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) grows 2–15 cm annually and can grow as tall as 75 ft.

For the majority of species, growing your cactus to its maximum size will require patience. We’ll provide you a growth timeline and some advice that can help you accelerate growth in this article. Please keep reading!

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.

Cacti grow slowly, right?

A cactus is a wonderful addition to any home because of its eye-catching size, form, and blossoms. No two cactus plants are same, so whether it’s placed on your windowsill or displayed on a shelf, this houseplant is a distinctive, aesthetically pleasing way to add interest to your living room.

The Greek word “kaktos,” which means “spiky plant,” is the source of the name “cactus” (officially known as the Cactaceae family). Cacti or cactuses are native to the Americas (a vast region in North and South America with a strong concentration in Mexico) and are typically found in areas that experience drought. Because they are perfectly adapted to the intense heat and environment of the desert, they can most definitely survive the warm and dry conditions of a centrally heated home.

Cactuses are an excellent choice for those who aren’t as adept at taking care of plants because they simply require moderate watering—underwatering is actually preferable to overwatering.

A cactus plant, despite its slow growth, is largely self-sufficient because it retains moisture in its roots, leaves, and stems. As a result, it can control how much food it consumes. Cactus plants want a site that is open, airy, and warm—around 18°C is ideal—but not overly warm. They can also tolerate direct sunlight.

Learn why these beautiful houseplants are much more than just prickles!

Are cactus plants indestructible?

No, you are not the only one if you have ever murdered a cactus. The simplest method is to overwater, have poor drainage, and use the incorrect compost. Normal potting soil retains water effectively, which is great for most plants but not for cacti because they require excellent drainage. It is best to use specialized cactus soil if you want to keep cacti alive.

What is required for a cactus to grow?

It’s a widespread notion that cactus can survive under neglect, however this is undoubtedly untrue. A cactus need the five things listed below to survive:

Light

In science class, we all discovered that all plants need light for photosynthesis. There must be light, regardless of the kind of plant or how much light they truly require. Cacti are the same. A cactus actually prefers sunlight because it is abundant in its native environment.

The quantity of light a cactus requires can vary depending on the species, although most cacti can live in bright, direct sunlight.

It is possible to have too much light, too. A cactus can get burnt if it is exposed to high-intensity light for an extended period of time. To prevent this problem, it is advised that you provide your cactus protection from harsh light, especially if you are trying to adapt it to a new location.

On the other hand, your cactus will grow tall and thin in quest of the light it need, a process known as etiolation, if you don’t give it enough sunshine. The plant won’t also be able to blossom because it doesn’t receive adequate sunlight exposure for photosynthesis.

So where is the ideal middle ground? Cacti like direct sunshine, but if you’re keeping yours indoors, you’ll need to expose it to full-spectrum light for 12 to 14 hours each day. Your cactus will receive all the wavelengths that sunshine offers thanks to full-spectrum light. To control the number of hours your cactus is exposed to light, you can use A Plus LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants or this Fauna 100W COB Plant Grow Light Full Spectrum.

Here are a few quick cactus lighting suggestions to remember:

  • Pick a location for your cactus with care. Whether you keep it inside or outside, make sure it gets enough sunshine where it is.
  • To prevent shock when moving a cactus to a new location or transplanting one, gradually increase its exposure to light.
  • If your cactus lives indoors, attempt to modify the illumination according to the seasons. If you bring your cactus indoors over the winter, be sure to give it the light it requires, even if you have to reduce the quantity to reflect the season.
  • Pay close attention to how your cactus looks; if you spot a light sunburn on its surface, act quickly to offer some protection.

Air

Your cactus needs to be in an aerated area; as obvious as this may sound, plants require air to survive. It must be kept in a well-ventilated area where it has unrestricted access to both oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Cacti breathe differently than other plants, which helps them thrive in hot, dry climates. A cactus closes its stomata during the day and opens it at night, but most plants do the opposite to prevent water loss.

A cactus can increase the air quality at night by producing more oxygen, but it isn’t a good enough excuse to cram it in a closet or other small, enclosed area. Your cactus has to be kept in an airy, open area so that it can breathe properly, especially at night.

Water

Underwatering is one of the worst mistakes that cactus owners do. Plants believe that because cacti can survive in hot climates, they can go for weeks without water. Cacti are robust plants, but they still need frequent watering to live, just like other plants. If you don’t give them enough water, they usually die.

On the other side, some cactus owners could overwater their plants. Water that accumulates at the bottom of the container may eventually cause root rot. It is crucial to comprehend that cactus can survive periods of drought but prefer a dry environment.

How much water does a cactus thus require? The Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose’s specialists say that cacti only require weekly watering. Make sure the soil is loose and that the pot has holes at the bottom so that any extra water can quickly drain. Water the cactus until the soil is completely soaked and water begins to drain from the drainage holes.

As to why cacti grow so slowly,

Slow growth is necessary for cactus to survive. Water and nutrients are extremely scarce in the desert. The land is dry and nearly unfertile, and it seldom ever rains. Cacti receive extremely little of both water and nutrients from the ground, which limits their ability to grow. Plants need these two resources to perform photosynthesis, which requires both.

How can you spot a dying cactus?

When a cactus looks shriveled and husk-like, it is dead. Additionally, dead cacti can become unstable in their soil and topple over. They could start to smell rancid and becoming mushy, both of which are indicators that they are rotting. Cacti that are dead lose their spines and frequently appear brown.

Do I need to water my cactus?

The watering needs of cacti and succulents varies slightly from those of other plants.

Succulents and cacti don’t need as much water to survive as other types of houseplants because they resemble desert plants.

That does not imply that you should skip watering dried-out succulents. But many individuals question if misting succulent and cactus plants occasionally is appropriate.

Succulents and cacti shouldn’t be misted when being watered because it can weaken the roots and promote fungus. Do not shower succulents and cacti with a spray bottle. Spray misting is not only insufficient in terms of water supply; it also runs the risk of making the plants rot.

While it is not advised to spray these plants, there are a few circumstances in which you should sprinkle cacti and succulents.

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 needs 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!