How To Plant Cactus Outside

Do you secretly yearn to live in the desert? Plant a cactus to begin your path toward your dream. In regions where they can withstand freezing temperatures, these low-maintenance plants make beautiful landscape plants as well as ideal houseplants. You did read that correctly, There are a ton of cold-tolerant cactus species! For instance, prickly pear cacti may survive rather far north. Giving a cactus what it wants in terms of light, soil, water, and food can ensure its success in any location.

Where to Grow a Cactus

Cactus plants come in a wide variety, some of which even grow in trees! However, the majority of individuals either grow theirs inside as houseplants or outdoors in the landscape. Always read the plant tags for precise information, but in general, cacti want full light and soil that drains quickly. This calls for growing close to a window that faces south or west indoors.

When the nighttime temperature is at least 65 degrees F throughout the summer, you can bring indoor cactus plants outside. Move them to an area with more sun after they have spent some time outside in a protected area getting accustomed to it. If you intend to transport plants between indoors and outdoors, morning sun is optimal.

When to Plant a Cactus

Try to put a cactus outside in the late spring or early summer while the plants are actively growing. They’ll start off more smoothly and swiftly put down roots.

How to Plant a Cactus Outside

1. Most cactus plants require light, permeable soil. Mix native soil and Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus in equal parts to prepare the soil in the planting location. The cactus is protected by Moisture Control technology against both over- and under-watering, both of which can be problematic.

2. Create a hole that is 11/2 times as big and as deep as the stem or root ball of the plant (some transplanted cacti don’t have large root balls).

3. Position the plant in the hole so that its north side faces that direction. If there isn’t a flag or chalk marking this side, make sure to inquire before you leave the garden center. Here’s why it’s significant: The more sun-exposed south side of the plant typically produces tougher skin that is more resistant to sunburn. On the other hand, the north side might not be able to withstand the sun as well.

4. Add more soil mixture to the area around the root ball and gently pat it down.

5. Lightly water.

6. To acclimate a cactus to the intense outdoor sun before planting one that was produced in an outdoor greenhouse, cover it with a little amount of shade cloth for a few weeks.

How to Plant a Cactus Indoors

1. Choose a container that is 112 times as broad as the stem or root ball of the cactus. You might want to use an unglazed container because it will dry out more rapidly if your environment is humid or you have a tendency to water plants excessively.

2. Add fast-draining to the pot until it is 1/3 full. The perfect nutrients are included in Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix to give your cactus a head start.

3. Set the cactus in the pot with the stem or root ball at the same depth as it was before being moved. To protect your hands, put on gloves or cover them with many layers of newspaper.

4. Fill in the area around the rootball, leaving a space of about an inch between the soil’s top and the container’s rim.

5. Lightly water the soil until it resembles a wrung-out sponge.

How to Water a Cactus

It may come as no surprise to find that under-watering is the second most prevalent reason for cactus plant deaths, even though over-watering is the most common cause. Finding the sweet spot can be challenging because it differs in the summer when plants are actively developing from the winter when they are more passive. A decent rule of thumb is to water your cactus when the top 3 inches of soil are dry if you’re growing it indoors. This might imply a few times every week during the summer and just once every four to six weeks throughout the winter. Watch out for your plants: They likely need water if they start to appear a little wilted. However, unless there hasn’t been any rain in your region for several months, you shouldn’t need to water your cactus at all outside.

How to Feed a Cactus

Cacti may not require a lot of water, but they do require food. If you used Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus to prepare the soil before planting your cactus outdoors, you should begin feeding it Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food a month after planting. This will provide your prickly baby quick nutrients. Meals should start for potted cactus plants approximately a month after planting. Apply Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food directly to the soil, then water as usual to feed your succulent plants. Make sure you read the instructions before using any type of plant food.

How to Prune a Cactus

Put simply, don’t! If you do, all you’ll get is a cut-site area of corky, dried-out scar tissue. The best course of action if your cactus outgrows your living space is to give it to a friend who has more room and get a new, smaller specimen for yourself.

Dealing with Cactus Problems

If you don’t submerge your cactus, it should continue to thrive with little trouble. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent rot problems caused by overwatering besides starting over.

How are cacti planted in the ground?

Many claim that before beginning to grow cacti and other succulents, they could never keep plants alive. These plants are trying to live. They are typically simple to grow as long as they have good drainage, lots of sunlight, and protection from freezing temperatures. They are also evergreen, pest- and disease-free, and drought tolerant, making them attractive in the garden all year long. The list of top cacti and succulents for your Western garden is provided below, along with some of our most important advice for making your cactus garden a success.

The Best Varieties to Grow

There are numerous varieties that give appeal to your yard, such as agaves, aloes, and barrel cacti. See our picks for year-round, low-maintenance beauty.


Cactus should be wrapped in heavy carpet padding or foam while being brought home from the nursery. This guards against harm to both the plants and your skin. Make sure you also wear gloves.


Wearing thick leather gloves will shield your hands while you are working with cactus that have spikes. Some gardeners advise putting on two pairs of gloves—one pair of rose gloves and one pair of leather work gloves.

Plant Wisely

Similar to any other plant, cacti and other succulents can be planted. Create a hole that is 1.5 times as wide and as deep as the root ball. Take the plants out of the pot (wearing protective gloves and safety glasses). Put your plant within the opening. If necessary, you can fill the hole with granulated succulent and cactus plant food and mix it with the soil for the backfill. With well-draining modified soil, fill up the area surrounding the plant. Lightly tamp down the earth and moisten it. Spring, late summer (if your region gets freezes), or early fall are the best times to plant (in warmer climates).

Give Them Some Space

Make sure you allow those tiny succulents and cacti you bought at the nursery plenty of room because they can grow into big plants. Many also generate pups or offspring that grow into clumps resembling colonies.


A cactus can rot or die if it receives too much moisture. In order to monitor the soil’s moisture content and ensure that your cactus isn’t receiving too much water, stick your finger a few inches into the soil. There is no need to water if there is any moisture. Make sure your irrigation system also stops watering during rainy weather.


Use pots with drainage holes on the bottom for potting succulents or cacti. To assist prevent the drainage hole from being clogged, fill the bottom of the container with fragments from broken pots or a lot of pebbles. When planting, make sure to use a cactus mix that contains pumice since it improves drainage. Rocks can be used to create a beautiful impact and to keep soil in place.


Water plants on a regular basis using a drip system twice per week. Water can be used in very small quantities. In hotter months, hand-water plants as necessary.

Succulents and cacti still require sufficient water every three to five days until the plant roots are developed. Make sure to water your plants or check that your irrigation system is getting to the roots if there isn’t any rain.

After the first year, water less. You don’t need to water plants as frequently once they’ve established themselves. After the first year or two, many succulents and cacti can even stop receiving irrigation entirely. If they only receive rain, they will live and frequently thrive. Especially in the fall and winter, avoid watering.


Although fertilizing succulents and cacti is not required, some gardeners do it because it can promote faster growth and better flowering. A popular liquid plant food that may be applied in the spring and fall is Grow More Cactus Juice. It’s also acceptable to dilute the mixture before applying it if you fertilize frequently. After fertilizing, water the plants.

Provide Protection in Freezing Temperatures

Many cacti and succulents may survive in temperatures as low as 25 to 30 degrees without suffering any harm. However, some plants, such the ocotillo and Yucca rostrata (big bend yucca), can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees. If your garden frequently experiences cold weather, be sure to choose hardy species or grow plants in containers that can be brought within for the winter.

Our Favorite Sources

Cacti and succulents can now be found in many different places. Start at a nursery in your neighborhood. There’s a good chance they have a good assortment or can guide you to a speciality grower.

How are cacti maintained outside?

As long as you keep in mind these three points, cactus will typically thrive in pots. water, light, and food.

The majority of the time, the plant you purchase is in a little pot and has likely been growing there for some time, using up the majority of the soil’s nutrients. So consider repotting and creating a feeding schedule. Most cacti prefer multiple small feedings,

superior than a single heavy meal. In the spring, I choose a time-release variety that will nourish the plant for at least six months. The alternative is to feed the plants with a diluted solution of plant food three times a year (spring, summer, and fall) (5-10-5). They should fare well for the year with this.

If given enough light, a potted cactus will flourish indoors. To ensure this, set the plant close to a window that is well-lit for the majority of the day. Place the cactus in a partially covered position on the patio until it is accustomed to the sun. Never use

Cacti sunburn just like people when you bring a cactus indoors and place it in the hot sun.

More care must be used when watering cacti in pots than in the ground. when plants are growing, which may be in the spring, summer, or fall and winter. The plant should not be allowed to become entirely dry—whether they are from south or north America—but only damp.

Depending on how frequently the house has to be watered, it may only need to be done once a month. but perhaps every two or three days outside. If damp dirt is on it when you remove the wooden pencil or dow rod from the soil at the bottom of the pot, don’t water. You will eventually learn when to water after a few tries.

Due to our winter rainfall, only a few cacti will thrive in San Antonio’s climate. One must consider the plant’s native habitat when choosing which plants to use in this situation. The majority of cacti that are native to Texas, some regions of Mexico, and even those from South America, will flourish here. The first thing to consider is how and where to plant the cactus. A smart place to start is by choosing a location. Most of the day must be in the sun. Sunlight at noon is preferable than that in the morning and afternoon. If the yard is flat, you will have to switch to above-ground beds because the area should have excellent drainage. When I build a bed, I like to arrange many huge rocks in a circle or other unusual form, remove approximately a foot of the earth from the center, and add a quality mixture on top of the rocks. By doing this, you may be sure that the plants won’t stand in water. Wintertime is when this is more crucial than summertime. Although the majority of cacti are not destroyed by the cold, when the water inside them freezes, it expands and cracks the skin’s outer layer, allowing bacteria to enter and kill the plant. I pay attention to the weather report in the winter, and if I anticipate rain followed by a freeze, I will cover my more delicate plants with a box or tarp (not plastic) to keep them dry.

One part potting mix, one part cleaned sand, and one part course fill can be combined to create potting mixtures (rocks, pumas, broken pots, etc.) Don’t worry, it’s better to have too much drainage than not enough. Let’s discuss shade. The majority of cacti could benefit from some sun protection at two o’clock. Just a little assistance is needed; a nearby small plant or sizable rock would do. A sizable rock adjacent to the plant will reduce the need for summer watering and assist retain heat in the winter.

I never dig a deep hole in the potting soil while planting the cactus. Ideally, the plant will

placed on top of the potting soil; this prevents the plant from being placed in damp dirt and allows the roots to penetrate for moisture. I frequently apply a coarse river gavel around the plant’s base to keep it off the soggy soil. If it doesn’t rain for about a month after you plant the cactus, give it a small quantity of water every couple of weeks. Then, let nature take its course. About once each year, feed the plants. Using a 10-10-10-dilution or a quality plant food

Look for a sunny, well-drained spot to start your garden. This is going to be challenging for many of us. We need to create raised beds because our yards are too level. I like to construct my bed to ensure that there is no possibility of the plants being water logged. The garden should first have an outline drawn on the ground. Make it manageable; you can always extend it. Now dig up a portion of the top 6 to 12 inches of dirt. Then put a thin plastic strip where the rocks will be.

Allow it to extend a few inches into the hole to help prevent grass from growing in the garden. Place the rocks now around the hole, giving it a natural appearance rather than making it square or circular. You can go two or three rocks high in the back if the garden is to face the street. Fill the hole with your soil mixture all the way to the top of the rocks. One part potting mix, one part washed sand, and one part large pieces of material—such as pebbles, pumas, broken clay pots, or virtually anything else that will help keep the soil loose—make up a nice cactus mix. If the garden is to be level, pile the mixture up to improve visibility and improve drainage.

To help you decide where to place your plants, take them all and arrange them in the garden. A shallow hole should be dug in the mixture, just deep enough to contain the roots. The cactus body should remain on top of the dirt. You can use cacti that cannot survive the winter by leaving them in the pot. Simply bury the pot so that they may be hauled out and brought indoors for the winter. Until the plants root, give them a little water every two to three weeks. Let nature then cover the water bill. Feed your plants once a year with a good house plant food or a plant meal like 10-10-10. Never overindulge; in this case, a little is better. A few sizable boulders that are strategically placed will provide additional shade from the hot heat, aid in retaining moisture, and look nice. Go ahead and start that garden to conserve water.