Should I Water Cactus In Winter

Cactus plants require relatively little upkeep. They may thrive without much care and simply need occasional watering. They don’t need as much maintenance as other plants do.

Cactus plants often need to be watered once every one to two weeks. To avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot, if there is a lot of rain in your location (more than an inch per week), you should water once every three to four weeks.

When the soil has dried out but before it becomes too hot outside, is the ideal time to water your cactus.

You should aim to provide the plant with enough water while avoiding dehydration when the weather is too hot for their roots because the heat from the sun will soon dry out the plant.

Depending on how frequently they go through cycles of soaking and drying out during warmer weather conditions, you should water your cactus using an automated drip system once or twice a week.

Regular watering of your cactus promotes blooming in addition to aiding in growth.

How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Summer

During the summer, most people water their cacti once a week, but this can vary.

Give your cactus some extra watering if your soil is dry for a few days and it doesn’t rain to make sure they stay hydrated and healthy.

Summertime temperatures are typically warmer, so your cactus will require more water than it would in the dead of winter.

If you live somewhere where summer days can reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to think about watering your plants twice a week if they are indoors or close to a window due of the added heat.

During the summer, you should strive to water cactus outdoors one or two times per week. Don’t worry about watering them the following day if it rains.

Your cactus will need less water than those grown somewhere warmer with constant summer heat if you reside in a cooler region with temperature swings of hot and cold temperatures or icy winters.

Keep a watch on their soil to make sure that when it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, all areas have access to moisture.

How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Winter

Your cactus won’t need as much water in the winter while it is dormant and growing more slowly because the cold weather slows down their metabolism.

During the winter, you should typically water your cactus once every two weeks. Before rehydrating the soil, make sure it is absolutely dry, and then allow it to completely drain.

Because cacti have slower metabolisms throughout the winter when they are dormant, you should avoid overwatering your cactus. The roots will rot if you overwater them, which will harm your plant.

On the other hand, if you wait too long between waterings in the winter when they’re slower growing and don’t need as much water, the likelihood that they’ll perish from the cold is enhanced.

Therefore, throughout the winter months, err on the side of caution and water your cactus about once every two weeks.

Take care not to water at all during dormant times if you live in an area with extremely cold winters (below USDA Zone #11) as this could encourage growth that isn’t appropriate for your location.

Watering Requirements for Cacti That Are Not Dormant

If your cacti are not dormant and you reside in a region where winters are moderate and temperatures don’t drop below freezing, you might want to water them more frequently.

Some cactus species do not require a period of dormancy throughout the winter. These cacti need to be watered more frequently than the typical cactus.

You should water your plant once per week or every two weeks throughout this time of year.

During these months, make sure the soil is totally dry before watering it once more, and then allow it to completely drain.

Fast-draining potting soil will also aid in avoiding overwatering, which can result in root rot during the winter when temperatures are lower.

How Often Should You Water an Indoor Cactus

Cactus cultivation in containers differs from outdoor cultivation. Other considerations also need to be taken into account.

The size of your container and its drainage holes should be your first concern.

If they’re too small, you’ll have difficulties with overwatering; if they’re too huge, the plants will dry out before you water them again.

Pick up your pot and feel how weighty it is to get the best idea of the right size. The more substantial the better, as this indicates that you have provided sufficient potting mix for good drainage.

The type of cactus plant, the humidity levels in your house or workplace, the seasons (autumn and winter tend to be drier than spring and summer), etc. will all have an impact on how often you need water indoor cacti in pots.

If every one of these factors stays the same throughout the year, then once every one to two weeks ought to be sufficient.

Just be careful not to water them excessively! After all, cacti are desert plants. The fastest way to destroy an indoor cactus garden is with too much water!

Finally, think about filling the bottom of the container with grit or gravel.

You won’t have to worry as much about overwatering them because this will improve drainage and promote aeration.

How Often Do You Water an Outdoor Cactus

Since most kinds of desert cactus are subtropical or tropical rather than hardy (meaning they can’t withstand temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), this can be especially problematic if you reside in a colder location.

During the spring and summer, outdoor cactus typically require watering at least once every two weeks, but this can vary according on your area.

But if you live somewhere where the summers are hot, these plants will probably need watering every other week or so.

It’s preferable to use your finger to feel the soil in warmer climates before watering plants.

Although watering cacti doesn’t require advanced science, various criteria, such as the type of cactus plant (some species require less water than others), soil drainage (watering frequency is reduced in loose, well-draining potting mixes), etc., can help you decide when and how frequently to water a cactus.

Cacti are desert plants after all, and they can withstand droughts much better than the majority of other desert plants.

If you reside in a region where it rains frequently, however, once every two weeks should be adequate.

Don’t water the soil if it appears to be wet. Simply check with them again the next day to determine whether they still require watering.

Finally, if your cacti are outside and you reside somewhere with very low humidity (less than 30 percent), you’ll need to water them more frequently.

Your desert plant should already have well-draining soil if you’re growing it outdoors (usually half sand, half dirt). Add some gravel if necessary to enhance drainage.

Since cacti are drought-tolerant plants, they shouldn’t require watering after being planted or transplanted.

If rainfall appears to be infrequent during some seasons of the year, you may want to think about increasing its water intake by an inch every few weeks. However, this may change over time depending on how frequently it rains during those seasons.

Make that there is adequate drainage! Instead of being too wet in between waterings, they should have time to dry off.

Cacti occasionally might benefit from having mulch placed on top of their soil (or gravel at the bottom)! This will aid in retaining moisture and stop grass or weeds from encroaching on it.

When should watering cacti be stopped for the winter?

In their natural environments, which are primarily in North and South America, cacti experience torrid summers with little to no precipitation. As a result, they cease growing in the summer (dormancy) and resume it in the middle of the fall, when the rainy seasons begin.

The majority of cactus owners keep their plants indoors, so they have hot, humid summers but chilly winters. In this situation, winter is the time to start your cactus’ dormancy (mid October-end February).

It’s crucial to let your cactus hibernate throughout the winter if you keep them indoors. Cacti can “relax,” produce flower buds, and get ready for summer growth during dormancy.

Do all cacti need a dormancy period?

No, not all cacti require a time of hibernation. Cacti in the desert will benefit from a dormant time indoors. Tropical cacti, including those of the Rhipsalis, Schlumbergera, or Epiphyllum genera, do not require a period of dormancy.

Please make sure that temperatures are a little warmer for tropical cactus during the dormant season. Wintertime temperatures for tropical cactus should be between 54 and 59 F. (12-15 C).

Higher humidity is something that tropical cactus enjoy and actually experience in their natural habitat. So you may sprinkle the plants from the top while they are dormant.

Step 1: Reducing watering frequency

Reduce how frequently you water your cacti as the first stage in beginning your cactus dormant period. This is crucial since reducing watering will help prevent the roots of your cacti from drying out and dying.

Additionally, since water evaporation would be less at cooler temperatures, it will aid in preventing rot (next step). Be sure to cut it back gradually. If you were watering your cacti every two weeks throughout the summer, cut down to every three weeks in the early fall and then just once every four to six weeks during the winter.

Never completely cease watering dormant cacti; doing so will cause root loss and stunted development. Your cactus will survive the winter with a little light watering. A soil meter similar to this one can be used to measure the soil’s moisture content.

In the winter, what should I do with my cactus?

We’ve compiled general maintenance advice to make sure that your cactus, no matter what kind, will survive the upcoming winter.

  • Don’t water your cacti excessively. Many cacti can go the entire winter without getting any water, therefore you can let nature hydrate your plants by getting rain. Or, to avoid causing your plant root rot if you keep it indoors, stick to a watering regimen that is at most monthly. Be cautious while watering outdoors because water might freeze and harm your plant’s roots and stems.
  • Your cacti will benefit from a rock mulch. Adding mulch to your cactus soil warms the soil for your plants and helps you avoid overwatering. If you maintain frost-tolerant cacti outdoors, you can protect them from the cold by covering the soil with a layer of small rocks.
  • Don’t feed your cacti fertilizer. During the chilly winters, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can be particularly detrimental to young, delicate plants. For the spring and summer, postpone fertilizing your cacti.
  • Give your cacti the most light you can. Your plant won’t likely receive the greatest light if you bring it inside. If feasible, place your plant beside a southwest window and add grow lights if you need more light.

When is it best to stop watering cacti?

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:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • composition of the soil
  • Light intensity
  • Season
  • Dormancy
  • Species
  • 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.

Root Rot

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.