Unfortunately, you cannot establish a constant watering schedule for this desert plant because, as was already indicated, a variety of conditions alter the plants’ watering requirements. For instance, because of the varied growing conditions inside and outdoor cactus, respectively, require less watering.
The age of the plant is another aspect. Cacti that are younger tend to be more demanding and require watering more frequently to promote their growth. Due to their aggressive growth, these plants also need more watering in the spring and summer than they do in the cooler months.
Small indoor cactus plants often require watering every 10 days or more to flourish at their best in the spring and summer, as soon as the soil has completely dried out. When a plant is dormant throughout the winter, extend the time between waterings (approximately every 4 to 6 weeks).
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:
- composition of the soil
- Light intensity
- 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.
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.
When should I water my cactus during the day?
Since the Botanical Garden was closed, I’ve always imagined Clark Moorten irrigated the cacti at night. I now believe, however, that he had a very important reason for placing his sprinkler on the agave and cactus to water at midnight. He is aware of the CAM, or crassulacean acid metabolism, which gives these plants their special method of limiting moisture loss during photosynthesis.
The stomata (pore-like structures) on the leaves of common garden plants open up during the day to take in carbon dioxide, which is necessary for the ongoing one-step photosynthetic process. Insufficient watering during this process causes wilt because moisture is lost through the open stomates.
By keeping their stomates closed during the day to prevent moisture loss, cacti and numerous agaves have evolved a defense mechanism against intense heat and drought. Because of the CAM metabolism, the cactus can open its stomata at night to take in carbon dioxide, completing the entire gas exchange process before the sun rises. Cactus need sunlight for photosynthesis after nighttime preparation, which they continue all day using the nighttime gas storage without opening the stomata.
The effective use of water on these plants depends on having this knowledge. These succulent plants have the ability to directly absorb some fluids when their stomata are open at night. Clark waters plants at night using an overhead system, which provides rain-like conditions for the plants. Through some of the stomata, water enters the cactus and cleans the skin. The roots are better able to absorb water supplied to the soil at night since gas exchange is active during that time.
An intriguing graph that depicts this process in visual form and makes it much simpler to understand this two-step procedure can be found in one of my reference books. This graph shows a 24-hour inverse bell-shaped curve. It begins at midnight, when the gas exchange rate of the Opuntia cactus’ carbon dioxide is about 25. Quickly after 6:00 AM, the graph disappears. Once it reaches zero at 8:00 AM, it stays there all day long while plants are photosynthesizing. Gas exchange rises back to 25 around 6:00PM, starting about 5:00. All night long, the exchange rate stays at this high level.
This proves that watering in the morning, as we usually do, only benefits open stomata for a brief period of time before they close with the heat of the day. The best time to water is around 10:00 PM, when gas exchange is at its peak and the hot summer ground has had a chance to cool off. However, if they are not overheated by the afternoon sun, potted agaves and cacti can be watered early.
Avoid the temptation to begin watering at dusk in order to maximize the application of moisture at night since the ground in the desert is far too hot. Water is an effective heat conductor, much like metal, and when it passes through extremely heated earth, it transfers the heat farther underground, where the soil ought to be colder. This exacerbates the harmful effects of high heat and singes away root hairs necessary for moisture absorption. Additionally, water is wasted needlessly when drops of water vaporize when they contact hot ground.
Surprisingly, cactus plants hold 95 percent water in their healthy state, but when faced with drought stress, they can continue to thrive even after losing 80 percent of that moisture. The ability of shutting stomata to effectively maintain this internal moisture for very extended periods of time is demonstrated by the fact that a prickly pear paddle can survive for up to two years after being cut from the mother plant.
Summertime is a terrific time to venture outside into our dry desert nights to water the cacti. To introduce water directly to the open stomates of agaves and cacti, use a low volume, high pressure nozzle to remove dirt and insects from the plants. Look at the stars or enjoy the moonlight while hearing the coyotes yipping. After a long, dreary day inside the air conditioning, few locations are more lovely.
How should a little indoor cactus be watered?
You ought to consistently water your little cactus from the top down. This will enable the water to softly percolate through the entire soil mixture.
Never add too much water at once because doing so can lead to mold growth in the potting soil of your plant or root rot. Most likely, your indoor cactus plant requires little more than one glass of water every week because it is so small.
Try to avoid letting any extra water collect at the bottom of indoor plants like this one because that is how roots rot.
It is preferable to water your indoor plant in the morning or evening so that it has a chance to dry out before dusk.
If you are unable to water during these times, try to avoid watering too late at night to avoid fungus and other bacteria from growing overnight on the damp leaves.
To avoid shocking indoor plants with cold water, you should always water indoor plants with room temperature water.
Additionally, it’s critical to avoid misting your cactus because doing so will produce a humid environment that could lead to fungus illnesses.
A little indoor cactus is pretty easy to water. Just keep in mind that too much water can kill your cactus, so be careful how much you add!
What amount of water should I give my houseplant, a cactus?
Nowadays, cacti and succulents are highly popular indoor plants, therefore taking good care of them is crucial. They occur in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, ranging from the small to the enormous. Because they share traits that enable them to endure in arid conditions, cacti and succulents belong to the same category.
The majority of succulents and cacti are endemic to desert environments. They will therefore thrive in conditions with lots of light, good drainage, hot temperatures, and little wetness. However, some cacti and succulents, like Schlumbergera, enjoy semi-shady and wet environments because that is their natural habitat.
The easiest way to take care of cacti and succulents is to try to mimic their natural environment. The essential factors you should take into account when taking care of your succulents and cacti are listed below.
Light, temperature and ventilation
It is advisable to arrange cacti and succulents in a bright area because they do best with good light sources. A place that faces south will get plenty of light. But be careful not to place them in direct sunlight since the strong light may cause the plants to turn yellow. The best kind of light for growing cacti and succulents depends on the species that you are using. For instance, forest-dwelling epiphytes like Rhipsalis require some shade, whereas an Echeveria requires strong light.
It is ideal to keep the plants cool at night, between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius, during the fall and winter. The plants will survive in high temperatures, but they require sufficient ventilation in the spring and summer.
Since Westland cacti and succulent potting mix has included girt and sand for the best drainage, it is a good compost to use. Additionally, it has the ideal quantity of nutrients for your succulents and cacti.
Watering and feeding
It’s a popular misperception that succulents and cacti just need a tiny bit of water. Although their leaves and stems can store water, allowing them to survive in dry environments, they will not grow in environments with little water. Your cactus or succulents’ ability to develop successfully depends on regular watering. Underwatering results in shriveling while overwatering stunts growth.
Instead of using tap water to water plants, use lukewarm rainfall. This is because the minerals in tap water can settle on the leaves and accumulate in the soil. Additionally, minerals obstruct the plant’s access to vital nutrients.
Spring and summer
The plants need to be watered at least once a week during the growing season. Give the soil a good soak when watering, letting any extra water run away. Every time you water the compost, give it a little time to dry out.
Utilize Westland Cacti and Succulent Feed, a recommended recipe to use, to feed your plants once a month. They create more robust growth that is more resistant to disease and has superior flowering thanks to it. Simply take a 5ml quantity of the feed from the dosing chamber and mix it into 1 liter of water.
Autumn and winter
The plants enter a period of rest at this time. Reduce watering so that the potting mix dries out in between applications. The type of succulent and the environment it is in will determine how frequently it has to be watered. Winter-flowering cactus should be kept warm and watered frequently now, whereas desert-dwelling cacti don’t need to be watered. Cacti and succulents don’t need to be fed during this time.
The optimal time to repot cactus or succulents that are pot-bound is in the spring. To replant:
- Before carefully taking the plant from the pot, water it and let it drain. Use folded paper to shield your hands from the spikes.
- To avoid damaging the roots, remove the old soil from around them with a thin stick, like a chopstick.
- The new container, which has a slightly larger diameter, should be filled with potting soil before placing the plant inside of it.
- The remaining potting mix should be added to the pot and compacted.
- To stop the rotting of injured roots, stop watering for a few days.
The finest care for your succulents or cacti comes from maintaining these conditions. The most crucial thing to keep in mind when taking care of your plant is that you are trying to mimic its natural environment!
A house cactus can survive without water for how long?
It does not, however, totally survive without water. Every living thing needs water, yet cacti are specifically built to thrive in dry environments and make better use of the water they do receive than other plants. It doesn’t lose its water through evaporation as quickly as other plants do since it lacks leaves. Its stems are robust, offering plenty of space for storing water and a lid that keeps the water within. Some cactus species may survive without water for two years. Depending on the species, the indoor types do need to be watered more frequently.