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.
What is the ideal location for my 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!
Where in my yard should I plant my cactus?
You must decide where to put your cactus garden once you are aware of the type of cacti you will be using. The ideal site will depend on the sort of cacti you will be utilizing, especially if you are deciding between an indoor and an outdoor cactus garden. Every cactus has various care requirements.
If you’re growing cacti outside, pick a spot that receives lots of sunlight. If you’re growing cacti indoors in a container, you should place it in a window that receives plenty of bright sunshine.
Your best bet will probably be a window that faces south or east. Your cactus garden needs at least 6 hours every day of direct sunlight, regardless matter where it is.
What kind of container you use and how you decide to display it will also affect where you place your indoor cactus garden. There are many opportunities for designing an indoor cactus garden. You might grow cacti in a hanging garden, a single large container, numerous smaller containers, or even a terrarium.
Even a teacup or saucer might serve as a home for your cacti! Choose a container that will thrive in the sunniest region of your home because each type has varied location requirements. For instance, don’t decide to have a hanging cactus garden if you can’t hang it in your house’s brightest window.
Cacti can be planted in the ground.
The hole into which you place the plant is the most crucial factor to take into account when planting cacti in the ground. The hole should be no less than a foot deep and a foot wide. The bigger the hole, the better, within reason. In essence, you are preparing a portion of the earth’s soil for the plant. Desert soil is abrasive. The plant may establish itself in the shortest amount of time feasible by breaking up the soil, which also makes it easier for roots to explore and for water to infiltrate. Additionally, it causes more abundant flowering and higher growth rates.
You can plant in the soil from the hold unless you have firm caliche. Remove any caliche you may have and replace it with topsoil or potting soil. Include the sandy mixture from the saucepan as well as 30 to 50 percent coarse sand. It’s crucial to have good sand. It increases the soil’s capacity for water infiltration and aeration. Therefore, the hole functions as a sink for water when it rains or when you trickle irrigate, and the soil becomes much more charged with water than the nearby undisturbed hard soil that has a low penetration rate. Sand is affordable in your neighborhood wash. Break up any large pieces of soil as you thoroughly combine the sand and soil. By carefully placing the pot on its side on the ground and delicately easing the plant out with tongs or a rolled-up piece of newspaper, the plant can be extracted from the container. Allow the roots of your plant to extend as far into the hole as their length will allow when you plant it. As a result, the plant may access the moisture in the deeper soil layers and develop deeper roots. This will support steady growth and success for your plant throughout the humid summer months. Once the plant is in and the soil is surrounded by it, fill in the area below and around it with loose soil and lightly press it down. When transplanting the plants, handle them gently to minimize damage to the plants, particularly to the roots, which will also hasten their establishment. Naturally, the ones with stronger spines will aid in your learning how to handle them quite quickly. Spread some gravel or small stones on the ground around your plant in an attractive pattern, about a foot or two wide. This gravel mulch will keep the plant cleaner and, by keeping the soil cooler, will aid in moisture retention. From a design perspective, the stones can assist in defining the area of your planting and help you create a pleasing cactus island. The task is wonderfully completed by a gnarled piece of desert wood and a few carefully chosen colorful rocks.
Although these plants will survive quite fine on the local rainfall, giving them a little more water every now and again during the growing season, which runs roughly from March to October, can help them develop much more quickly. Water sparingly but completely. Deep soil soaking will keep the plants well-hydrated and actively growing during the hot summer months. When you water cacti in the ground, you’re actually hydrating the soil instead of the plant. As the weeks go by, the plant will continue to slowly and consistently absorb water from the soil. The best method of watering is to drip water at the plant’s base for at least a few hours. Overnight is a practical approach. Trickle at a pace that moistens a circle around the plant that is no bigger than two feet. Avoid dousing the area with water.
as all the weed seeds in the top soil layer will germinate in this location. There is no set schedule for watering. A plant in the ground can typically be watered once a month, starting in the spring when the weather starts to warm up and continuing through the fall when it starts to cool off. Plants that are in direct sunlight require more water than those that are in more shady areas. Additionally, plants in containers require more water than those in the ground. The roots of these plants explore a much larger area of soil than a plant in a pot once they are planted in the ground and have had time to take root, which can take several months or even an entire growth season. Understanding how to assess a plant’s look to determine its water status is the best course of action. A healthy, plump plant doesn’t require watering because it is adequately hydrated. However, a plant that has become smaller or whose ribs are becoming more visible might benefit from some water. There truly is no substitute for regularly seeing the plants and becoming familiar with how to “read them like this.” Once you’ve watched it a few times, it becomes fairly simple. Your admiration of these fascinating plants will be enhanced by having a better understanding of cacti. Drip irrigation is also acceptable as long as you water sparingly yet thoroughly.
You are welcome to fertilize the plants from time to time. Use any common fertilizer for indoor plants in a half-strength solution. Apply several litres, working it carefully into the plant’s root zone’s soil. In moderation, any fertilizer is acceptable. Although fertilization will speed up cacti development, it is undoubtedly a personal preference. These plants will survive pretty well without you once they are put in the ground and have established themselves after a season.
Make sure there is enough room between the plants. The smaller cacti should be spaced at least a foot apart. Given that some of the larger examples grow to be rather enormous, you should keep any other cactus at least 2 to 3 feet away from the larger ones.