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:
- 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!
Can cacti receive too much sunlight?
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Cacti can suffer serious damage from too much sunlight, yes. Although sunlight is necessary for healthy plant growth, too much of it can destroy the plant’s structures, including turning the leaves and stems’ green hues to orange and brown. When exposed to intense direct sunlight, cactus can often develop a sunburn.
The damaged section of the cactus develops a callous brown appearance from sunburn, making it feel rougher than other parts of the plant.
Although you can cut the cactus’ stem or leaves, the sunburned spots are irreversible.
Therefore, it would be advisable to move your cactus to a location with little direct sunlight exposure if it is damaged.
If you are unable to move the cactus, especially to a spot with less direct sunlight, then give it enough time to get used to its new environment.
For one or two weeks, progressively reduce the distance between the light source and your cactus to achieve this.
Have You Noticed: Your cactus probably needs less sunshine exposure if it develops calluses, sunburn, or a change in color.
How much sunlight does a cactus need?
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.
Does darkness help cacti grow?
Since it is challenging to measure, light is an amusing phenomenon. It is not as if you can offer your cactus plant 7 pounds of light every day, but if we were talking about water requirements, we could say that you need to pour one or two cups of water on the plant once or twice daily.
Simply put, that cannot happen. So how can we gauge how much light to provide your cacti?
Well, measuring the duration will give us the most accurate estimate. How much time each day should your cactus plant be exposed to light? Additionally, you must comprehend how much of each type of light there is, keeping in mind that both natural and artificial sunshine exists.
Thankfully, we are here to make things easier for you and make sure you take good care of your cactus. So let’s start with the fundamentals.
Between 10 and 14 hours of light are required by cacti and other succulents each day. Limit the amount of light your cactus plant receives each day to 14 hours. A plant may thrive with 12 hours of light every day on average.
Keep in mind that your plant requires rest as well, and providing it with more than 14 hours of light each day will not benefit it in any way. In truth, cacti plants require darkness in order to absorb carbon dioxide, which will be used throughout the day for photosynthesis.
Know Your Angles
Knowing which direction your house faces is one of the most important things you should do before you even go for the cactus plant.
You receive all that southern exposure if your home faces north or south, which is excellent. It will be a little bit more challenging if your home faces east or west because that light isn’t as intense or hot as the north-south light.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a house with a north or south exposure, be sure to observe the sun for several days to determine how many hours of sunlight you receive each day.
This will help you decide which kind of cacti to choose and what to stay away from. For some cacti, like the blue cactus, several hours of relentlessly scorching sunlight are typically necessary for growth.
Choose a darker variety of cactus plant if your home faces east or west, which means you receive less sunshine, as the darker the cactus plant, the less light it requires to survive.