When To Plant Cactus

Mid-May to late June or early July is the best window of opportunity for outdoor cactus planting. In order to give the soil time to settle, we advise preparing the soil 14 days prior to the intended planting date.

How to continue:

  • Each cactus should have a planting hole that is 1.5 times the size of the root ball.

Cacti can be planted in the winter.

Cacti and succulents are excellent low-maintenance plants that add color to the home even on the gloomiest winter days. They provide aesthetic appeal to any table or windowsill with their unique forms and textures, and with proper care, they’ll last the entire long, cold season.

Cacti and succulents are suitable indoor plants all year round. Plants simply only a little light and sporadic watering during the winter. By the time fall arrives, the majority of cacti and succulents have gone dormant and will no longer grow as the weather and light conditions change.

5 Techniques for Winter Cactus and Succulent Care:

1. Plant your dormant plant in a location where it will flourish to make your cacti or succulents happy. During the winter, succulents require less light and can also tolerate indirect light. Make sure your plant receives at least three to four hours of bright light each day for the best results. Locations are happiest close to windows that face south or east.

2. Sandy, well-drained soil is best for growing succulents. Give your plant the nutrients it requires by using Espoma’s cacti and succulent mix. Make sure containers have drainage holes to allow extra water to drain because succulents can’t tolerate excessively moist soil.

3. Set the thermostat. Few succulents can withstand temperatures that are much colder than 50 to 55 degrees.

4. Succulents require deep watering, although they won’t need as much as they do during active growth. Use little water and only from the top, letting water seep through to the bottom. Keep plants out of water for brief periods of time. Keep water away from the cactus’ body since it can cause decay.

5. Look for vermin. Check your leaves every month for mealy bugs and aphids. If a plant is infected, remove it from the vicinity of other plants and spritz it with a solution of 3 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part water.

How is a cactus planted outside?

How to Grow a Cactus in a Container

  • When you grow a container garden, consider more than just the flowers.
  • Find a container first.
  • Pick a shallow container because most cactus have short roots and limited growth.
  • Step 2: Include gravel and potting mix.
  • The bottom of your container should be covered with a thin layer of gravel or tiny stones.
  • Set up your plants.

How should a cactus be planted?

According to Fine Gardening, cacti thrive in regions with full, all-day sunlight and very well-drained, sandy soil. Planting next to a south-facing wall enhances the cactus’ ability to reflect additional heat and sunlight in mild climes.

To the same depth as the cactus root system, dig the new planting hole. Depending on the size and kind of the cactus, you should normally space it from other plants at a distance equivalent to that plant’s width. In the hole, plant the cactus. To settle the earth around the roots, completely fill the hole and water it. For about four weeks, keep the soil just moist enough to allow the cactus to establish itself in its new place.

How far down should a cactus be planted?

Many claim that before beginning to grow cacti and other succulents, they could never keep plants alive. These plants are trying to live. They are typically simple to grow as long as they have good drainage, lots of sunlight, and protection from freezing temperatures. They are also evergreen, pest- and disease-free, and drought tolerant, making them attractive in the garden all year long. The list of top cacti and succulents for your Western garden is provided below, along with some of our most important advice for making your cactus garden a success.

The Best Varieties to Grow

There are numerous varieties that give appeal to your yard, such as agaves, aloes, and barrel cacti. See our picks for year-round, low-maintenance beauty.


Cactus should be wrapped in heavy carpet padding or foam while being brought home from the nursery. This guards against harm to both the plants and your skin. Make sure you also wear gloves.


Wearing thick leather gloves will shield your hands while you are working with cactus that have spikes. Some gardeners advise putting on two pairs of gloves—one pair of rose gloves and one pair of leather work gloves.

Plant Wisely

Similar to any other plant, cacti and other succulents can be planted. Create a hole that is 1.5 times as wide and as deep as the root ball. Take the plants out of the pot (wearing protective gloves and safety glasses). Put your plant within the opening. If necessary, you can fill the hole with granulated succulent and cactus plant food and mix it with the soil for the backfill. With well-draining modified soil, fill up the area surrounding the plant. Lightly tamp down the earth and moisten it. Spring, late summer (if your region gets freezes), or early fall are the best times to plant (in warmer climates).

Give Them Some Space

Make sure you allow those tiny succulents and cacti you bought at the nursery plenty of room because they can grow into big plants. Many also generate pups or offspring that grow into clumps resembling colonies.


A cactus can rot or die if it receives too much moisture. In order to monitor the soil’s moisture content and ensure that your cactus isn’t receiving too much water, stick your finger a few inches into the soil. There is no need to water if there is any moisture. Make sure your irrigation system also stops watering during rainy weather.


Use pots with drainage holes on the bottom for potting succulents or cacti. To assist prevent the drainage hole from being clogged, fill the bottom of the container with fragments from broken pots or a lot of pebbles. When planting, make sure to use a cactus mix that contains pumice since it improves drainage. Rocks can be used to create a beautiful impact and to keep soil in place.


Water plants on a regular basis using a drip system twice per week. Water can be used in very small quantities. In hotter months, hand-water plants as necessary.

Succulents and cacti still require sufficient water every three to five days until the plant roots are developed. Make sure to water your plants or check that your irrigation system is getting to the roots if there isn’t any rain.

After the first year, water less. You don’t need to water plants as frequently once they’ve established themselves. After the first year or two, many succulents and cacti can even stop receiving irrigation entirely. If they only receive rain, they will live and frequently thrive. Especially in the fall and winter, avoid watering.


Although fertilizing succulents and cacti is not required, some gardeners do it because it can promote faster growth and better flowering. A popular liquid plant food that may be applied in the spring and fall is Grow More Cactus Juice. It’s also acceptable to dilute the mixture before applying it if you fertilize frequently. After fertilizing, water the plants.

Provide Protection in Freezing Temperatures

Many cacti and succulents may survive in temperatures as low as 25 to 30 degrees without suffering any harm. However, some plants, such the ocotillo and Yucca rostrata (big bend yucca), can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees. If your garden frequently experiences cold weather, be sure to choose hardy species or grow plants in containers that can be brought within for the winter.

Our Favorite Sources

Cacti and succulents can now be found in many different places. Start at a nursery in your neighborhood. There’s a good chance they have a good assortment or can guide you to a speciality grower.

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.

Watering Cacti

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.

Fertilizing Cacti

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.

Cacti can be planted outside when?

Do you secretly yearn to live in the desert? Plant a cactus to begin your path toward your dream. In regions where they can withstand freezing temperatures, these low-maintenance plants make beautiful landscape plants as well as ideal houseplants. You did read that correctly, There are a ton of cold-tolerant cactus species! For instance, prickly pear cacti may survive rather far north. Giving a cactus what it wants in terms of light, soil, water, and food can ensure its success in any location.

Where to Grow a Cactus

Cactus plants come in a wide variety, some of which even grow in trees! However, the majority of individuals either grow theirs inside as houseplants or outdoors in the landscape. Always read the plant tags for precise information, but in general, cacti want full light and soil that drains quickly. This calls for growing close to a window that faces south or west indoors.

When the nighttime temperature is at least 65 degrees F throughout the summer, you can bring indoor cactus plants outside. Move them to an area with more sun after they have spent some time outside in a protected area getting accustomed to it. If you intend to transport plants between indoors and outdoors, morning sun is optimal.

When to Plant a Cactus

Try to put a cactus outside in the late spring or early summer while the plants are actively growing. They’ll start off more smoothly and swiftly put down roots.

How to Plant a Cactus Outside

1. Most cactus plants require light, permeable soil. Mix native soil and Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus in equal parts to prepare the soil in the planting location. The cactus is protected by Moisture Control technology against both over- and under-watering, both of which can be problematic.

2. Create a hole that is 11/2 times as big and as deep as the stem or root ball of the plant (some transplanted cacti don’t have large root balls).

3. Position the plant in the hole so that its north side faces that direction. If there isn’t a flag or chalk marking this side, make sure to inquire before you leave the garden center. Here’s why it’s significant: The more sun-exposed south side of the plant typically produces tougher skin that is more resistant to sunburn. On the other hand, the north side might not be able to withstand the sun as well.

4. Add more soil mixture to the area around the root ball and gently pat it down.

5. Lightly water.

6. To acclimate a cactus to the intense outdoor sun before planting one that was produced in an outdoor greenhouse, cover it with a little amount of shade cloth for a few weeks.

How to Plant a Cactus Indoors

1. Choose a container that is 112 times as broad as the stem or root ball of the cactus. You might want to use an unglazed container because it will dry out more rapidly if your environment is humid or you have a tendency to water plants excessively.

2. Add fast-draining to the pot until it is 1/3 full. The perfect nutrients are included in Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix to give your cactus a head start.

3. Set the cactus in the pot with the stem or root ball at the same depth as it was before being moved. To protect your hands, put on gloves or cover them with many layers of newspaper.

4. Fill in the area around the rootball, leaving a space of about an inch between the soil’s top and the container’s rim.

5. Lightly water the soil until it resembles a wrung-out sponge.

How to Water a Cactus

It may come as no surprise to find that under-watering is the second most prevalent reason for cactus plant deaths, even though over-watering is the most common cause. Finding the sweet spot can be challenging because it differs in the summer when plants are actively developing from the winter when they are more passive. A decent rule of thumb is to water your cactus when the top 3 inches of soil are dry if you’re growing it indoors. This might imply a few times every week during the summer and just once every four to six weeks throughout the winter. Watch out for your plants: They likely need water if they start to appear a little wilted. However, unless there hasn’t been any rain in your region for several months, you shouldn’t need to water your cactus at all outside.

How to Feed a Cactus

Cacti may not require a lot of water, but they do require food. If you used Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Cactus, Palm & Citrus to prepare the soil before planting your cactus outdoors, you should begin feeding it Miracle-Gro Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food a month after planting. This will provide your prickly baby quick nutrients. Meals should start for potted cactus plants approximately a month after planting. Apply Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food directly to the soil, then water as usual to feed your succulent plants. Make sure you read the instructions before using any type of plant food.

How to Prune a Cactus

Put simply, don’t! If you do, all you’ll get is a cut-site area of corky, dried-out scar tissue. The best course of action if your cactus outgrows your living space is to give it to a friend who has more room and get a new, smaller specimen for yourself.

Dealing with Cactus Problems

If you don’t submerge your cactus, it should continue to thrive with little trouble. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent rot problems caused by overwatering besides starting over.