When To Feed Cactus

When fertilizing cactus or succulent plants, it’s vital to use fertilizer carefully while the plants are growing.

Slow development and poor root growth may result from frequent feedings of too much fertilizer. Some growers prefer to apply manure tea or fish emulsion to succulents as a fertilizer.

When using a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer mixture, mix one gallon of water with one tablespoon of the fertilizer.

Overwatering should be avoided because it can harm the cactus or succulent.

Alternately, feed cacti with a 1-7-6 cactus blend or slow-release fertilizer.

One gallon of water should be mixed with one teaspoon of the 1-7-6 cactus food mixture.

The liquid fertilizer mixture is used in a watering can, and the leftovers are kept in a labeled, sealed container.

Pour carefully, allowing the water to absorb and the extra to drain out the drainage holes on the pots.

When To Fertilize Cacti

The best time to feed cacti is right before or at the start of the growing season, according to the general rule of thumb.

The majority of cactus species, including the Christmas cactus, awaken from dormancy at this time.

Succulent plants don’t require fertilizer more often than once a year when they are actively growing.

Fertilize once more in two to three months if the potting soil mix used for terrariums and indoor succulent plants is subpar.

Some gardeners use cactus fertilizer because it works well when transplanting cacti from pots.


If you use chemical fertilizers during the summer growth season, take extra care around cactus.

Avoid feeding the plants right before or throughout their prolonged winter hibernation.

Chemical fertilizers and a lot of NPK are too powerful and overpower the plant.

Due of this, most gardening and cactus experts will advise diluting nutrients by half or one-fourth.

You won’t have any trouble producing healthy cacti and succulents if you use the right feeding techniques and provide ideal conditions for growth.

When should I fertilize my succulents and cacti?

The optimum seasons to fertilize succulents are in the spring when daytime temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the fall just before a storm. To encourage quicker growth, growers fertilize their plants more frequently.

Do cacti in pots require fertilizer?

Desert plants known as cacti have evolved to live in dry and semi-dry climates. These locations typically lack important nutrients. This characteristic has led to the widespread misperception that homegrown cacti don’t require fertilizer. Nothing is more false than it is. Even while cactus is known to thrive in environments with little in the way of nutrients or water, it still requires a little fertilizer to stay stronger, healthier, and produce better blooms. However, when it comes to fertilization, cacti are extremely picky. A smart choice of fertilizer for cactus has a few distinct qualities.

So, which fertilizer is ideal for cacti? Even while cacti don’t require a particular fertilizer mix, they do need one that is preferably organic, low in NPK, contains humic acids, and contains beneficial soil bacteria like mycorrhizae and probiotics. Additionally, it ought to be slow-releasing and include more phosphorus than nitrogen.

In this post, we’ll examine the qualities, significance, and ideal methods for using the best fertilizer for cactus. The numerous alternatives available, application frequency, and soil compatibility will all be taken into consideration.

How are cactus plants fed?

People mistakenly believe that cacti don’t require the same care as leafy plants because of the numerous structural modifications cactus plants have made to survive in hot, dry settings. Not true; cacti require frequent watering and fertilization. Even if you are in a region where cacti cannot be grown in gardens, they make excellent home or patio plants. They will repay you with robust growth and flowers if you provide them with the right food, water, and light.

Pick a liquid fertilizer based on your requirements. For basic care, use a balanced houseplant fertilizer with a 10-10-10 composition, fish emulsion if you want to go organic, a high-bloom product with a high-phosphorus ratio, or a fertilizer with the middle number greater than the other two. Use a water-soluble fertilizer in comparable formulas as an alternative.

In the spring, keep an eye out for signs of new growth in your cactus plants, such as a few bright new spines in the plant’s core or a general greening and plumping of the stem. A clean gallon plastic container with a lid and a set of measuring spoons should be assembled. If you only need to fertilize a few plants, use a quart container.

The fertilizer container’s instructions should be read. Calculate the amount required for fertilizer that is 1/4 strength; if the manufacturer specifies 1 teaspoon per quart, use 1/4 teaspoon; for a gallon that includes 4 quarts, that would be 1 teaspoon.

Fill the gallon container with 3 quarts of water, ideally rainwater or reverse osmosis-treated water. Add fertilizer in the appropriate quantity. Put the lid on. To combine the fertilizer solution, shake the bottle. Shake the gallon container once more after adding the fourth quart of water. When measuring for a quart container, use cups.

A portion of the fertilizer solution should be poured into a watering container. Use the mixture to fully soak the soil and allow the water to drain through the drainage pores in the cactus. If the pot has a saucer, throw away any remaining water after a few minutes.

Because nitrogen will degrade and the fertilizer won’t be as effective, use the entire mixture. If wanted, use leftovers for different houseplants. Repeat applying the 1/4-strength fertilizer for the remainder of the growth season once the top inch or two of soil, depending on the size of the pot, has dried. To measure the moisture of the soil, use a probe, like a chopstick. Once fall comes and growth slows, don’t fertilize cactus.

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.

When ought I to cease giving my cactus food?

The traditional idea of the ideal habitat for cacti is a hard, arid desert with two extremes: intervals of complete lack of precipitation or unexpected downpours that the plant must absorb, store, and use during the following dry spell.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that fertilizer cactus plants may keep them happy growing no matter the season, whether they are outside in the yard exposed to seasonal extremes or in a bright, sunny spot in the house.

Fertilizing cactus plants will help them adapt, actively grow, and even reproduce if it is one of their traits, just like with any other garden or indoor plant. The fertilizer needs for cacti are rather straightforward. Any decent houseplant food that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen is a suitable option (diluted to half). A 5-10-5 solution may be effective.

Knowing when to feed cactus plants is essential now that you are aware of their true requirement for fertilizer.

What can I do to make my cactus bloom?

Cacti and succulents prefer summer and winter seasons, as well as a clear variation between night and day temperatures. Succulents prefer colder outdoor nighttime temperatures of 50-550F (10-130C) or at least 60-650F indoor nighttime temperatures (15-180C). Succulents prefer a noticeable contrast between their night and day temperatures to imitate their natural habitat, with the low night temperatures playing a crucial role in the plant’s growth cycle, especially when kept in a controlled setting.

If you want to see your succulents and cacti bloom, overwintering is also crucial. For desert cacti in particular, this can be accomplished by keeping plants cool and largely dry over the winter. During the winter, keep them at a comfortable temperature of between 35 and 440 °F (1.5-70C). If maintained indoors during the winter, try to keep them in an unheated room or keep the temperature low to provide them the necessary cold winter season. This does not apply to holiday cacti, such as Rhipsalis, Schlembergera, and Hatiora, which have different moisture and temperature needs than desert cacti (see below for Holiday cactus blooming tips).

Make sure the plants are kept in a bright area and receive enough sunshine throughout the year, including during the darker winter months. Most succulents and cacti require at least 4-6 hours of bright sunshine every day, if not more. Some plants require filtered but bright light to avoid solar damage since they cannot withstand harsh, full sun. Lack of light causes plants to gradually etiolate, become paler, and spread out in search of more light. To provide adequate lighting, place indoor plants in windows with a south or east orientation. If more light is required indoors, think about using grow lights. Lack of sunshine stunts the growth of succulent plants, and they are unlikely to blossom as effectively.

Giving your plants the nutrition they require instead of fertilizing them will assist maintain healthy growth and promote blooms. Flowers require a lot of energy to grow, therefore giving plants more nutrients during flowering season will assist meet their nutritional requirements. The best time to fertilize is during the active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Fertilizers work best when applied every two weeks at a quarter- or half-strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter and towards the conclusion of the fall growing season. It is acceptable and typical to use a balanced fertilizer blend that has been diluted to half strength. Cacti and succulent-specific fertilizer mixtures are also appropriate.

Although cacti and succulents can store water, they still require frequent watering during the active growing season. Regular watering helps to guarantee that they don’t lose all the water they need to store for growth. Regular watering also improves their ability to resist the hotter summer sun. Water plants thoroughly during the active growing season until water begins to leak out of the pot’s openings. Don’t water again until the soil has dried out. Before watering, check the top inch of the soil for moisture. During the hot summer months, watering should be done more frequently; during the chilly winter months, less frequently. Succulents and cacti suffer from overwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry out in between waterings.

Succulents and cacti require a well-draining soil in addition to suitable watering methods. Cacti and succulents don’t like to sit in water. If left moist for too long, their roots are prone to rot. The capacity of a succulent potting mix to drain efficiently is its most crucial requirement. You have the option of using store-bought potting soil or making your own for succulents. Giving them the proper medium increases their chances of flourishing and blossoming. Keeping your plants content will boost blooming.

Which fertilizer is ideal for cacti?

5 Top Succulent and Cactus Fertilizers + Fertilizing Instructions

  • Miracle-Gro 0.5-1-1 Succulent Plant Food
  • Pump & Grow Succulent & Cactus Food 1-1-2 by Dr. Earth Organic.
  • EarthPods Organic Fertilizer Spikes 0.2-0.2-0.4 Succulent & Cactus Food.
  • 1-7-6 – Produce More Cactus Juice
  • Liquid plant food Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7.

Can I grow cacti with Miracle Grow?

Use Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food right away to feed succulent plants, especially cactus. All varieties of cactus, jade, aloe, and other well-known succulents are catered for by the recipe. Every two weeks, either apply it straight to the soil or combine it with water and spray it on the plants. With Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food, you may enjoy gorgeous succulents.

Are cactus able to grow on coffee grounds?

The decomposition of the used coffee grounds will enrich the soil with nitrogen, a crucial component for succulents. Along with improving drainage and aerating the soil, they may also reduce weeds and deter pests.

How do I determine whether my cactus 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.