Should I Water My Saguaro Cactus

Water your Saguaro during the summer due to our drier and hotter climate. Every month, place a hose approximately five feet from the trunk and let it flow for 30 minutes or so. All that is required; winter watering is not necessary. Avoid letting water pool around the cactus’ base for an extended period of time.

How frequently do I need to water my saguaro cactus?

Even though the Saguaro cactus is native to the Sonoran Desert, it is nevertheless possible to buy and take care of one at home. The Saguaro, however, needs highly specific care, so it might not thrive in homes that are located in colder or higher-altitude areas.

The specific care requirements for the Saguaro cactus are described in this section.


Water the soil where your saguaro will be planted before you plant it. Also, remember to start planting in the late spring or early summer. Sunlight is essential for saguaro cacti to grow, especially in their early stages of development.

Use a pot that is not very big if you are growing saguaros in pots because their roots are not very strong. Even so, you should make sure the pot has a substantial foundation because saguaros can reach heights of up to 40 feet.

Initial Watering

After planting, give the Saguaro around two weeks without any water. The Saguaro needs a thorough watering once every two to four weeks from May through October during the season.

Avoid using a watering can or any overhead watering methods to hydrate your Saguaro. The roots of the saguaro are near to the surface, which will cause overwatering. Instead, insert a little hose into the soil close to the Saguaro and wet it to a depth of about one foot.

General Watering

The Saguaro’s roots should begin to bury themselves in the ground after around six months. The same watering procedures should be followed until the roots are well-established. After the first planting, this normally takes between one and two years.

Following that, water the Saguaro once a month in the summer and not at all in the fall or winter. The hose method described above should be used to water your Saguaro appropriately.

Place the hose 5 feet or so away from the Saguaro’s trunk. After that, allow the hose to run for around 30 minutes. Your Saguaro should receive enough water if you do this once a month during the summer.

Check the outer pleats of your Saguaro to make sure it is getting enough water. Your cactus requires additional water if there is less than an inch between each pleat. To determine whether your Saguaro is submerged, you can also examine the skin. Your Saguaro is submerged if the skin is not firm.


You must plant the saguaro in the southernmost part of your home to ensure it receives south exposure because it needs full sun. Although it could be challenging to cultivate the Saguaro in cloudy areas, there are ways around this obstacle.


While it cannot survive in colder climes, the saguaro can withstand prolonged frost. A greenhouse is probably required if you live somewhere that gets quite chilly. The Saguaro can only tolerate temperatures of roughly 28 °F.

Additional Resources

During the summer, giving your Saguaro liquid plant food in addition to watering will aid in its growth.

Bacterial ooze might potentially harm your Saguaro. This is simply handled by digging the affected area and spraying it with a solution that contains about 10% bleach and 90% water.

Saguaro cactus overwatering is possible.

Due to the saguaro cactus’s low water requirements, overwatering is a common mistake that can result in root rot. Because of their shallow root systems, saguaro cactus plants shouldn’t be planted next to plants that require frequent watering or in close proximity to sprinklers, ponds, or fountains. This implies that while your saguaro cactus may absorb too much water, your other plants might not get the water they require. If your saguaro cactus already exhibits root rot symptoms, such as discoloration, an unpleasant smell, or leaking black patches, cease watering, remove the affected areas, and use a sulfur fungicide to get rid of the fungus.

A saguaro cactus can survive without water for how long?

What images do you have in mind when you consider cacti? You probably picture a desert plant that can go without water for extended periods of time and yet thrive. Although these plants have adapted to living in deserts and like dry soil, they nevertheless need a significant amount of water, especially during the growing season.

A cactus can survive without water for how long? Normal desert cacti can go without water for up to two years. This is due to the fact that it has grown thick stems that can store a lot of water and have a barrier that stops water evaporation. The conditions are very different for indoor cacti, thus this does not apply to them. Depending on the species, indoor variants do require frequent watering.

In Arizona, how frequently should you water cacti?

Watering. The most frequent query we receive at the nursery is this one. Let me start by stating that each circumstance is unique. If you are successful, don’t pay attention to me.

The guidelines that have always worked for me are:

Cacti in the ground appear to be kept from stressing out as much and grow more uniformly when there is slow, deep watering. This practice is also known as “deep soaking.” A deep soak is a two to six-hour drip from a garden hose that is slow yet constant. The length depends on the size of the plant.

I water my plants twice a day. I first water multiple pots at once (about a 4 foot length) until the pots are full. I return and water the plant once more to ensure that the soil in the pot is well moistened.

Daily temperatures play a role. More watering is needed when the weather is warmer. It takes less irrigation to maintain plants in cooler climates. For more details, see “Seasonal Watering Tips” below.

Size of the plant matters. You will need to water a plant less frequently as it grows larger and becomes more established. It can go longer between waterings since it has a bigger “storage tank.” For instance, a big Saguaro would never require watering, yet a tiny 1 gallon gold barrel might require watering as much as once per week.

Don’t give newly planted cactus any water. The same guidelines still apply whether repotting or adding to your landscape: plant dry and wait to water. Weather has a big impact on watering; the colder it is, the longer you have to wait to drink. Usually, you should leave succulent roots at least a week to recover before exposing them to water. Only re-water when the soil is completely dry at the roots; every circumstance is unique.

Seasonal Watering:

Summer is defined as three days in a row of 90 degrees or higher during the day. A deep soak is a two to six-hour drip from a garden hose that is slow yet constant. The length depends on the size of the plant.

Wait one week before watering for the first time if the daytime temperature is OVER 90. Wait two weeks before watering for the first time if the daytime temperature is UNDER 90. Exceptions:

When it is over 90 degrees outside, agaves need to be watered right away. Wait longer to water if the temperature is lower than 90.

You should never water saguaros. There are also some reasonable exceptions to this rule. If the area is really dry and your saguaro is clearly getting smaller, we may be experiencing a drought and you may need to water. This is not a free pass to wash the plant down everytime the thought enters your head; do it with a purpose. Since it seems to be so unusual, I have never understood what is meant by the term “Common Sense.” And no, your next-door neighbor is not the greatest person to ask about the plants you use in your landscaping. The man from New Jersey who lives next door might not be a better source of guidance if the nurserymen suggested following a precise design! A man in a loud voice who is far from home is an expert.

Initial Summer (except Saguaros) When the temperature is OVER 90, both native and non-native cactus should have a deep soak every two weeks. Agaves may need watering once per week in extremely hot weather, although this is typically too frequently. Because their roots are constantly exposed to extremely hot temperatures, plants in pots in full sun are a peculiar situation that require frequent hydration checks. After waiting 15 or 20 minutes, insert an unfinished wooden dowel or wooden paint stirrer all the way to the bottom of the pot to check for moisture. The important thing is to use unpolished wood so it can absorb moisture. You will quickly discover the routine you need to adhere to in order to maintain your plants.

Native and non-native cactus should receive a deep bath once a month if the daytime high is UNDER 90 degrees, but ONLY if there hasn’t been more than an inch of rain in the previous 30 days. Do not water if there is more than 1 inch of rain in a 30-day period.

Native cactus should receive a monthly deep bath if the daily high is OVER 90. Cacti that are not native to the area need two deep soaks per month.

Even in the absence of winter rainfall, it is advisable to avoid watering native cactus. Cacti that are not native to the area should receive a monthly deep bath.

After the third summer, native cacti should have naturalized and no longer require watering (apart from Saguaros). It’s best to naturalize non-native cacti so they don’t require watering. However, a long soak is advised once a month when the weather is really hot and there hasn’t been any rain.

What causes saguaro cactus death?

  • Andrew Carnegie, a philanthropist, is honored with the name of the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).
  • Only in the Sonoran Desert can you find the saguaro cactus.
  • Saguaro cacti develop very slowly. An adult saguaro can grow to a height of 60 feet, yet a juvenile cactus may only grow 1 to 1.5 inches in its first eight years. Their growth is influenced by the water supply.
  • High-elevation saguaros typically cluster on warm, south-facing hillsides. Saguaro cacti cannot withstand freezing temperatures or frost, thus they are rarely found above 4,000 feet.
  • The pleats on saguaros enable them to expand as they consume water (like an accordion) and to contract when they run out of water. The number of pleats on the saguaro’s exterior matches the number of woody ribs inside the plant.
  • When saguaros are completely hydrated, they become incredibly heavy. Saguaros that are adults can weigh up to 4 tons.
  • A saguaro begins to bloom around the age of 35 and develops its first arm around the age of 50. A saguaro is typically regarded as an adult at 125 years old. The saguaro has a 150–200 year lifespan.
  • Saguaro cacti cells can occasionally mutate to generate fan-shaped crests in tangled patterns, though this is quite uncommon. Crests typically appear at the very top of the main stem.

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:

  • 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.