If you have enough light, cacti are some of the most rewarding houseplants. Few blooms can match them in terms of color, size, or beauty. Space is typically not an issue because most cacti grow slowly. They are extremely resilient and flexible. They do not “thrive on neglect,” unlike what the general public thinks. They “thrive on gentle loving care, like most plants, but they will at least “survive on neglect.”
Except for epiphytic (tree-dwelling) cacti and succulents like the Christmas cactus, rhipsalis, and orchid cacti, which demand less sunlight, greater humidity, and more watering than other species, the general care instructions below apply for cacti and most other succulent plants. They also prefer fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. Compared to other species, add less sand to your potting mixture. Other succulents such as haworthias likewise favor brilliant indirect light over direct sunlight.
Give cacti and other succulent plants the brightest or most sunny windows you have indoors (four to six hours of direct sun). They will grow abnormally long and thin in low light conditions. Your plants will benefit greatly from spending the summer outdoors in the morning or late afternoon sun, when there is greater air movement and light. The majority of succulents can withstand intense outdoor sun, but they must get used to it. When putting plants outside, place them in partial shade or shadow at first and gradually expose them over the course of a few weeks to the strong late spring and summer sun.
Spiny and woolly species need the greatest sunlight, whilst spineless species typically need shade during the midday hours. If your plant has a reddish tint, it may be because the amount of sun it can withstand is reached or exceeded.
When you water, make sure to water well and wait until the soil has dried before doing so again. In particular, succulents are vulnerable to rot from excessive watering. If the earth around your plant is already moist, NEVER water it. Pots that are dry weigh less than wet ones. When the soil inside clay pots is moist, they feel chilly and damp to the touch. When the soil has enough moisture for the plant, succulent leaves are solid and plump.
The majority of cacti and several other succulents prefer to maintain a significant amount of dryness during the cooler months of the year (usually October through April). Over this time, drink less water than usual. To encourage new growth in the spring, spray your plants in the early morning hours of warm days. The spines of plants will allow them to absorb moisture. In order to prevent new roots from being stifled by excessively damp soil during the early spring, we also advise watering plants from the bottom of the pot. Fill the plant’s saucer with water, give the soil, pot, and plant around 30 minutes to absorb the moisture, and then drain the extra.
If you embed your plants in a mixture of 50% coarse builder’s sand and 50% peat, they will grow to their fullest capacity if they are in clay pots. This stops the soil from drying out too quickly and enables the roots to grow in the consistent wetness that the peat/sand mixture creates. Make sure there is excellent drainage in the tray that contains the peat/sand mixture.
Keep succulents and cacti above freezing in the winter. Some plants require a temperature range of 35 to 40 °F at night (some cacti and other succulents can endure temperatures well below freezing if kept absolutely dry.) A minimum temperature of 50–60 degrees is preferred for more tropical succulents like adeniums, euphorbias, lithops, and stapeliads.
Plants need to be shielded from intense heat in the summer since potted plants’ root systems are more susceptible to harm. Good air circulation and cautious watering will prevent fungal and rot issues in humid and hot conditions.
From May to September, feed your plants once per month using a fertilizer that contains low nitrogen (10% or less), such as 5-10-5 or 10-30-20. Nitrogen overload promotes excessively quick green but weak development. As the majority of cacti have evolved to thrive in nutrient-deficient soils, always dilute the fertilizer more than the label recommendations suggest.
In the spring or early summer, repotte. When young, most plants like annual repotting with just one pot size increase. Without relocating the plant to a larger pot, you can carefully remove the top inch or two of soil after you reach roughly a 6-pot size and replace it with fresh mix. Since succulents are typically heavy plants, especially when potted in clay, moving them into ever bigger containers can be challenging.
Steer clear of soils that contain a lot of peat moss. Peat retains moisture for too long and is difficult to remoisten after being fully dried (a frequent occurrence with most succulents). You can add some coarse builder’s sand to the soil to promote drainage and a tiny amount of peat to the soil to improve texture. As much as 40% sand is appreciated by stapeliads, wooly cactus, and lithops (living stones). The base of the plant should have a top dressing of fine gravel since it encourages greater water absorption into the soil, shields it from excess moisture, and looks good too. For every 3 inches of pot size, add a tablespoon of gypsum and bone meal, if possible.
Use a pair of wooden tongs or a piece of newspaper that has been rolled up to help plants with a lot of spin out of their pots. If the plant is resistant, resist the urge to pull it out because doing so will harm the roots. Try again by striking a hard surface with the pot. As much soil as you can take out without harming the root ball. To prevent rot, always repot the plant at or higher than the prior soil level. You might need to stake species of columns. To give new root hairs time to grow after repotting, wait a week or two before watering.
Will cacti survive the nighttime chill?
Most people think of desert plants as cactus plants. This conjures up images of arid regions with exceptionally high annual temperatures for many people. The truth is that hardly all deserts are really hot, and those that are typically get rather chilly at night. It follows that the ability of cactus plants to survive in cold climates is not surprising. This brings up the most contentious issue surrounding these plants.
Cacti can withstand the winter. Yes is the clear answer to this. Even during the darkest days of winter, cactus plants may still enliven your indoor space even if the bulk of them are used to surviving in arid places. Any cactus plant’s optimum temperature varies depending on its species. Others can survive in temperatures below 0oF whereas certain species cannot endure temperatures below the freezing point.
In order to prevent the surplus water that is held in the roots and stems of many cactus species that can withstand extremely cold temperatures from freezing, these plants typically release water at night.
When is it too chilly outside for cacti?
You might be surprised to learn that cacti are among the best-known warm-weather plants and can suffer freezing damage. However, even in Arizona’s hot and dry summers, wintertime lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) are not uncommon. Cactus may suffer freezing damage as a result of this. You’ll need to know how to care for a frozen cactus if you discover that your cactus is harmed after a cold spell. Can you revive a frozen cactus? How can a frozen cactus be revived? For advice on helping a cactus harmed by cold, continue reading.
Are cacti too cool for 45 degrees?
Cactus and succulent plants require the right temperature and volume of air circulation to survive, as you are surely aware. Depending on the type, plants might differ greatly from one another.
You can typically tell a lot about a plant’s preferred temperature and air flow from where it came from.
The majority of succulents are very tolerant as long as they are dry. As long as they are dry, they can tolerate temperatures between 45 and 85 F without complaining.
Even in Canada and Alaska, there are cactus that can live outside all year long. When they are damp, succulents dislike stuffy settings much more.
Give plants lots of space between them and plenty of air. Most succulents need less than 12 hours of sunshine each day and temperatures below 65°F at night to bloom.
The night temperature is more crucial to a plant’s growth than the daytime temperature, which is what most plants desire.
Common terms used to describe different types of temperature and air include “cold,” “cool,” “house,” “dry,” and “circulating.” These definitions mean as follows:
Cool. Temps at night between 50 and 55 F. There are a lot of traditional favorites in this group. These plants most likely had a rough night if they appear listless and underwhelming.
House. 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. These plants were once referred to as stovehouse or hothouse plants.
Dry. The average modern home, apartment, or workplace only has half the amount of moisture that the Sahara has.
Cacti and succulents are among the plants that can occasionally benefit from a fertilizer treatment. Learn more about the cactus and succulent plant’s fertilization needs in the next section.
What degree of indoor temperature is appropriate for my cactus?
Moving your cactuses to a cool location is the second stage in winterizing them (allowing them to become dormant). When temperatures begin to drop around the middle of October, you should consider relocating your cactus to a cooler location.
The ideal range for cactus dormancy temperatures is between 47 and 54 °F (8-12 Celsius). If your cactus has spent the entire year indoors and you have heating, you should transfer it to a balcony, garage, or even outside. In the winter, you must avoid keeping your cactus in a warm or hot room.
You may prevent your cactus from falling dormant in the winter by not transplanting them to a cool place. It will go on expanding (but growth will be uneven and minimal).
In addition, the increased temperatures will cause the water to evaporate, which will cause the air to dry (as you will water it less). Additionally, it should be a dry area. Your cactus will thereafter develop thin, elongated growth.
Lower temperatures will slow down your cactus’s metabolic processes and reduce water evaporation. Growing throughout the winter will impede the development of flower buds, result in nutritional depletion, and lead the cactus to dry out.
Step 3: Keep your cactus in cool conditions for winter
Keep your cactus in the cool spot you’ve chosen until the end of February. Your cactus will be dormant and its growth will have stopped. Keep them where they may receive the most winter sun possible.
You should gradually acclimate your cacti to sunshine circumstances once the temperature starts to rise once more. But you have to do this gradually.
Your cactus are prone to burn in sudden sun because they won’t get bright, sunny conditions all winter. Cacti adjust to low light levels, therefore it’s crucial to reintroduce them gradually. Additionally, avoid fertilizing your cactus during the winter.
Your cactus won’t actually show any signs of dormancy. But stagnation results in dormancy.
Step 4: Slowly introduce to sunny conditions
You must gradually acclimate your cacti to sunlight after the winter dormancy phase, around March, to avoid sunburns. Put them on a windowsill or another permanent/usual location to do this.
Then, protect your cactus from direct sunlight by using a thin white cloth or gauze. You can expose your cacti to more and more sunlight as the weather warms up over the course of a few weeks to a month.
Your cactus will burn if you don’t protect it from direct sunlight after a winter of little to no sunlight. A cactus’ epidermal tissues will be affected, which could result in death or interruption of vital metabolic processes. Additionally, be sure to give adequate ventilation because cacti detest stagnant air.
If you have recently re-potted your cacti into new containers, please minimize sun exposure and watering for a week. Additionally, don’t increase watering too quickly—increasing it gradually as the temperature rises. Your cacti’s successful dormancy will be ensured by gradual modifications in the surroundings.