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.
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.
The optimal time to repot cactus or succulents that are pot-bound is in the spring. To replant:
- Firstly water the plant and allow to drain before removing carefully from the pot, using folded paper to protect your hands against 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 cactus receive too much sunlight?
Sun exposure is crucial for your summer months (read the material on sunshine above for more details!) You need to be aware of the humidity, temperature, and daily amount of sunlight your plant receives. Succulents and cacti, despite being relatively hardy plants, can soon become sun-burned and dried out if the sun’s rays are too strong.
Take care while shifting a plant from the shade to full sun or from indoors to the sun once springtime rolls around. Even when you think you’ve done everything correctly, some plants occasionally succumb to the “shock” of such a rapid transformation and perish. The best approach is to gradually expose your plants to different environments and light.
How much sunlight is required for cacti?
Succulents and cacti typically require between 10 and 14 hours of light every day.
However, there are several things that affect how much light you should provide! What kind of light is it? Is it man-made or natural? Is the light direct or indirect?
You should at the very least be aware of whether your succulent prefers full sun, full shade, or a combination of the two. If you’re unsure, you can presume the plant needs full sun. Cacti and succulents in general are!
Ever questioned why you couldn’t simply leave the lights on all the time? That would imply that it is constantly expanding, right?
Actually, not quite. Like people, plants also require rest. Particularly in the case of desert flora. They engage in CAM photosynthesis, a unique type of photosynthesis. They truly only produce plant food at night, unlike other plants. They would starve if the darkness didn’t exist.
How frequently 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 do well in the shade.
You might think of yourself as the ideal parent for a home plant, taking care of the watering, feeding, leaf-dusting, and repotting when necessary. However, the truth is that indoor plants rarely receive the amount of light they require. Beyond the first few meters in front of a window, the majority of the areas in our homes have low light levels. Only those of us who have window sills facing south can receive direct sunlight all day; everyone else must make due with morning or afternoon rays. Then there are apartments with a northward view or shaded areas. What will grow here, if anything at all?
Typically, hot, sunny weather is connected with cactus and succulent vegetation. Many of them—including lithops, which are native to the desert—need as much light as you can provide in addition to very stringent watering schedules. Some people are less picky. Indeed, these succulents will suffer from too much sun.
The majority of succulents and cacti only need minimal maintenance. Cacti and succulents should generally be grown on free-draining or cactus compost, and between the months of March and October, water only occasionally, allowing the compost to completely dry out between applications.
Look through our list of cacti and succulents that thrive in shadow. While some plants require shade to grow, the majority can tolerate some shade. In other words, they can survive in lower light levels but thrive in well-lit spaces away from direct sunshine.
What does a cactus with sunburn look like?
The color of the sunburn is a clue that your cactus may have been overexposed to the sun.
If exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, a sunburned cactus will change from its natural greenish-gray hue to an orange, red, or even bright yellow.
The top layer of dry skin may occasionally peel off due to severe sunburns, exposing fresh layers beneath. Where there are no longer any living cells underneath, a sunburned plant of this type may appear white.
Even the sections of the cactus that are close to the ground are affected by the sunburn. These areas lack the protection that stronger plants would have with higher structures separating them from direct sunlight.
All of a cactus’ colors are affected by sunburn, although the green skin that shields them is more frequently affected.
Typical indications of a burnt cactus include:
- The skin that has been scorched will be paler than it was before they were in the sun. Parts of the cactus may seem yellow or brown as a result of this, however this is not always the case.
- Some parts of the green skin that appear to be darkened from their original color may result from a sunburn.
- If two cactuses are placed close enough to one another for one plant’s shade to effect the other, some of them may have sunburns all over them. Even those plants are exposed to direct bright light because they are too low and receive insufficient shade from higher structures.
- The entire plant may appear burnt, withering, and if it has just been drenched with water, drooping at its joints.
- Due to the sun damage, the plant may become dehydrated and may even begin to shrivel up, thus careful care must be taken.
Where in the house should we keep our cacti?
Say goodbye to bad energy by placing your living cactus plants in a bright area with good airflow. Cactus plants should be placed in good Feng Shui to shield people from the negative energy rays that the cactus spines emit in all directions.
What signs do a cactus show when it needs water?
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.