Even while certain sturdy cacti may survive the winter in the garden, when the outside temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring frost-sensitive species inside. For pests, gently inspect the cactus. Scale and mealybugs can be removed rapidly using an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. Additionally, aphids and spider mites may travel inside. These little pests can be quickly eliminated with a water blast.
Move a lot of plants inside. Depending on the species, place the cacti far from heat vents and in full sun or brilliant filtered light. Place the prickly cacti in areas where you, your kids, and your pets won’t likely bump into them and end up with a collection of spines and puncture wounds. Contrary to popular belief, cacti don’t actually reach out and grab you, but even simply brushing up against their spines can be uncomfortable.
How cold must it be for cacti?
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.
My cactus should I bring it inside?
If your cactus spent the spring and summer outdoors, you must bring it inside during the cooler months. Your plant will change gradually this manner without experiencing a “shock.”
- For 1-2 weeks, move your cactus to an outdoor shaded area that gets one or two fewer hours per day of direct sunshine. Do this right before winter, when nighttime lows of 65°F are predicted.
- Reposition the plant in a location that receives one to two fewer hours of sunshine than the previous location.
- The cactus should be moved gradually to give it time to adjust to the temperature changes and prevent “shock.” Find a sunny area indoors and bring the cactus there. The ideal window would be one that faces south. Try keeping the cactus warmer between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. All of this is done to get ready for the winter hibernation.
- During the winter, when the plant is dormant, make sure to avoid fertilizing it.
You should cut back on your feeding routine to encourage your cactus to fall dormant. Instead of watering frequently, consider doing it once a month.
When should your cactus be brought inside?
Let them enjoy the heat and a little bit of sun, but not too much. You want everything for your prickly plant to be just so. “Place your cacti in the room that receives the most sunlight and warmth because they love the sun and do best there. If you have a sunny patio or yard, they would adore taking a summer vacation outside. Bring them outside whenever the evening lows surpass 50 degrees, “Thon advises. “They will flourish outside, and you will notice their growth happening much more quickly than if they were kept inside. When they are outside, there is no need to bother about watering them—the occasional rain shower should be sufficient! When the temperature begins to fall below 50F at the end of summer, bring them back inside.”
While cacti should receive a good amount of daily direct sunshine, care must also be taken to ensure that they don’t receive too much. “Sunburn can occur on cacti. Even though they appreciate the sun, they occasionally turn yellow or brown. If this happens, move the cactus away from the light source so it can cool down “Palomares concurs and adds that because cacti prefer warm, dry weather, you should keep them away from drafty windows and air conditioners.
In the winter, what should you do with outdoor cacti?
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.
In the winter, can I put my cactus outside?
Cactus plants that thrive in cold climates prefer many of the same environmental factors as their southern cousins, such as lots of light. Some of the most typical maintenance needs for cold-weather cacti are listed below.
How to Plant Cacti
Cacti need soil that drains fast, but pure sand shouldn’t be used because it doesn’t contain enough nutrients to support their growth. It is recommended to combine typical garden soil or topsoil with 40 to 60 percent coarse sand and up to 10 percent compost for a nutrient-rich, quick-draining mix when growing cacti. Fine-grain sand should be avoided since it can clog soil instead of improving drainage. Cactus plants should not have the soil around their shallow roots disturbed after planting. Pea gravel or other small rock mulch helps control weed growth, keeps the soil temperature constant, and protects soil from blowing away.
In order to offer optimum drainage, raised beds are advised. You need more drainage the more rain your area receives. Cacti should be grown in pots under cover, such as a roof overhang, in extremely moist areas. Cacti should never be planted on normal or clay soil since they are easily overwatered and will perish.
In the winter or fall, refrain from watering cacti. To get ready for the upcoming weather, cactus plants start to contract and seem withered and unappealing. This is a typical phase of their hibernating process; but, if you water them at this time, the extra water may freeze and destroy the plant.
The best strategy is typically to let Mother Nature take care of watering your cactus over the rest of the year. You can feel free to water your cactus, though, if there are several weeks in a row of hot, dry weather without any rain. The plants are probably trying to notify you they need water if the soil is completely dry and they appear limp or are starting to droop. Avoid watering the plant directly and properly soak the soil for the greatest effects.
In-ground cactus plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer, although they can benefit from spring applications of compost or a liquid fertilizer made for use on vegetables or bulbs. Avoid fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen (the first number of the three shown on the package). Nitrogen promotes quick growth, but it can also make a plant too delicate and prone to winter damage, especially later in the growing season.
Protecting Cactus Plants
Contrary to popular belief, cold-hardy cacti can thrive in regions with a lot of snow. Cacti can, however, suffer from frostbite in regions with cold temperatures and strong winds but minimal snowfall. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage. The burlap shields the plants from the sun, cold, and wind while allowing them to breathe. In order to protect the cactus plants from too much moisture during warmer winters, carefully erect a structure over them, such as a canvas tent.
Where should I keep my cactus during the cold season?
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.