If a cactus has caught your eye when shopping for a low-maintenance houseplant, you are in for a real treat. Cactus plants make wonderful indoor plants and are typically simple to maintain. Knowing how frequently to water cactus plants can be difficult because it is so simple to be overly enthusiastic with the watering can.
When should a cactus be watered? Once the earth has entirely dried up, the majority of cacti should be watered. When watering a cactus, pay attention to the health of the plant and how dry the potting soil is rather than following a timetable. How frequently to water cactus plants depends on a number of variables, including size of the cactus, pot size, season, temperature, and humidity.
It’s critical to comprehend your cactus’ water needs. Cacti are succulent plants that are made to retain water in their stems and roots so they can withstand dry spells. There are several methods you may employ to make sure you always know when to water your cactus, even if each cactus has a varied water demand.
What kind of cactus should I water?
- 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 should a small 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!
How much water should a cactus receive?
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 do you tell when a little cactus needs watering?
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:
- composition of the soil
- Light intensity
- 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.
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.
A little cactus can survive without water for how long?
It does not, however, totally survive without water. Every living thing needs water, yet cacti are specifically built to thrive in dry environments and make better use of the water they do receive than other plants. It doesn’t lose its water through evaporation as quickly as other plants do since it lacks leaves. Its stems are robust, offering plenty of space for storing water and a lid that keeps the water within. Some cactus species may survive without water for two years. Depending on the species, the indoor types do need to be watered more frequently.
How should a miniature cactus be cared for?
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.”
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.
Cacti are watered either from the top or the bottom.
Cactuses need regular summertime hydration to grow and stay healthy, but if you overwater it or mist it too frequently, it could rot from the base up.
Follow the advice of knowledgeable cactus growers and water from the bottom. Put the potted cactus in a shallow saucer that is half-filled with water every week during hot weather, or whenever the pot feels light, and leave it there for approximately a half-hour or until it soaks up the water. Enough water will be absorbed by the soil for the plant. Furthermore, since the majority of the moisture will be near the pot’s bottom, deep rooting will be promoted.
How many years do little cacti live?
Carefully! To loop around the top, use either very thick gloves or folded newspaper. With tweezers, you may remove huge spikes that have stuck you. Small spikes can be removed by covering them with duct tape, ripping it off, or quickly massaging the area with a ball of old tights. The experts at Thejoyofplants.co.uk suggest using olive oil to refine the final fine spikes.
What pests do you need to look out for?
Verify that the plant’s body (the cactus’ “body”) and the root system are devoid of mealybugs. It is one of the most prevalent and challenging cactus pests, with a fuzzy white wax coating that contains oval insects. Additionally, aphids, scale insects, thrips, and red spider mites (eight-legged pests that cover a plant in a delicate, dense web) can appear. Check for damage and make sure the root system is sound. Cacti that have been kept in excessive moisture for an extended period of time may have rotted “from the pot,” which can also be brought on by fungi and bacteria. The real stem, which is green, may then feel supple.
Are all cacti prickly?
No. Cacti are typically thought of as desert plants, however there are also forest cacti that lack bristles; nonetheless, the variety that can be grown indoors is extremely limited.
How long does a cactus plant live?
Cacti can live for hundreds of years in the wild. They could live for ten years or longer indoors. The issue with old ones is that every single bump, scratch, or imperfection they receive stays with them; as a result, as they age, they start to look less attractive.