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 can I survive the winter with my cactus?
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.
For the winter, when should I move my cactus inside?
In their natural environments, which are primarily in North and South America, cacti experience torrid summers with little to no precipitation. As a result, they cease growing in the summer (dormancy) and resume it in the middle of the fall, when the rainy seasons begin.
The majority of cactus owners keep their plants indoors, so they have hot, humid summers but chilly winters. In this situation, winter is the time to start your cactus’ dormancy (mid October-end February).
It’s crucial to let your cactus hibernate throughout the winter if you keep them indoors. Cacti can “relax,” produce flower buds, and get ready for summer growth during dormancy.
Do all cacti need a dormancy period?
No, not all cacti require a time of hibernation. Cacti in the desert will benefit from a dormant time indoors. Tropical cacti, including those of the Rhipsalis, Schlumbergera, or Epiphyllum genera, do not require a period of dormancy.
Please make sure that temperatures are a little warmer for tropical cactus during the dormant season. Wintertime temperatures for tropical cactus should be between 54 and 59 F. (12-15 C).
Higher humidity is something that tropical cactus enjoy and actually experience in their natural habitat. So you may sprinkle the plants from the top while they are dormant.
Step 1: Reducing watering frequency
Reduce how frequently you water your cacti as the first stage in beginning your cactus dormant period. This is crucial since reducing watering will help prevent the roots of your cacti from drying out and dying.
Additionally, since water evaporation would be less at cooler temperatures, it will aid in preventing rot (next step). Be sure to cut it back gradually. If you were watering your cacti every two weeks throughout the summer, cut down to every three weeks in the early fall and then just once every four to six weeks during the winter.
Never completely cease watering dormant cacti; doing so will cause root loss and stunted development. Your cactus will survive the winter with a little light watering. A soil meter similar to this one can be used to measure the soil’s moisture content.
Can cacti survive the winter outside?
The resilient cactus are easily able to live in locations with a lot of snow cover. Cacti can get burnt or frostbitten in locations with strong winds, sun, and little snow. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage.
Where in my home should I place 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!
How frequently should a cactus be watered in the winter?
Cactus plants require relatively little upkeep. They may thrive without much care and simply need occasional watering. They don’t need as much maintenance as other plants do.
Cactus plants often need to be watered once every one to two weeks. To avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot, if there is a lot of rain in your location (more than an inch per week), you should water once every three to four weeks.
When the soil has dried out but before it becomes too hot outside, is the ideal time to water your cactus.
You should aim to provide the plant with enough water while avoiding dehydration when the weather is too hot for their roots because the heat from the sun will soon dry out the plant.
Depending on how frequently they go through cycles of soaking and drying out during warmer weather conditions, you should water your cactus using an automated drip system once or twice a week.
Regular watering of your cactus promotes blooming in addition to aiding in growth.
How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Summer
During the summer, most people water their cacti once a week, but this can vary.
Give your cactus some extra watering if your soil is dry for a few days and it doesn’t rain to make sure they stay hydrated and healthy.
Summertime temperatures are typically warmer, so your cactus will require more water than it would in the dead of winter.
If you live somewhere where summer days can reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you might want to think about watering your plants twice a week if they are indoors or close to a window due of the added heat.
During the summer, you should strive to water cactus outdoors one or two times per week. Don’t worry about watering them the following day if it rains.
Your cactus will need less water than those grown somewhere warmer with constant summer heat if you reside in a cooler region with temperature swings of hot and cold temperatures or icy winters.
Keep a watch on their soil to make sure that when it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, all areas have access to moisture.
How Often Do You Water a Cactus in Winter
Your cactus won’t need as much water in the winter while it is dormant and growing more slowly because the cold weather slows down their metabolism.
During the winter, you should typically water your cactus once every two weeks. Before rehydrating the soil, make sure it is absolutely dry, and then allow it to completely drain.
Because cacti have slower metabolisms throughout the winter when they are dormant, you should avoid overwatering your cactus. The roots will rot if you overwater them, which will harm your plant.
On the other hand, if you wait too long between waterings in the winter when they’re slower growing and don’t need as much water, the likelihood that they’ll perish from the cold is enhanced.
Therefore, throughout the winter months, err on the side of caution and water your cactus about once every two weeks.
Take care not to water at all during dormant times if you live in an area with extremely cold winters (below USDA Zone #11) as this could encourage growth that isn’t appropriate for your location.
Watering Requirements for Cacti That Are Not Dormant
If your cacti are not dormant and you reside in a region where winters are moderate and temperatures don’t drop below freezing, you might want to water them more frequently.
Some cactus species do not require a period of dormancy throughout the winter. These cacti need to be watered more frequently than the typical cactus.
You should water your plant once per week or every two weeks throughout this time of year.
During these months, make sure the soil is totally dry before watering it once more, and then allow it to completely drain.
Fast-draining potting soil will also aid in avoiding overwatering, which can result in root rot during the winter when temperatures are lower.
How Often Should You Water an Indoor Cactus
Cactus cultivation in containers differs from outdoor cultivation. Other considerations also need to be taken into account.
The size of your container and its drainage holes should be your first concern.
If they’re too small, you’ll have difficulties with overwatering; if they’re too huge, the plants will dry out before you water them again.
Pick up your pot and feel how weighty it is to get the best idea of the right size. The more substantial the better, as this indicates that you have provided sufficient potting mix for good drainage.
The type of cactus plant, the humidity levels in your house or workplace, the seasons (autumn and winter tend to be drier than spring and summer), etc. will all have an impact on how often you need water indoor cacti in pots.
If every one of these factors stays the same throughout the year, then once every one to two weeks ought to be sufficient.
Just be careful not to water them excessively! After all, cacti are desert plants. The fastest way to destroy an indoor cactus garden is with too much water!
Finally, think about filling the bottom of the container with grit or gravel.
You won’t have to worry as much about overwatering them because this will improve drainage and promote aeration.
How Often Do You Water an Outdoor Cactus
Since most kinds of desert cactus are subtropical or tropical rather than hardy (meaning they can’t withstand temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), this can be especially problematic if you reside in a colder location.
During the spring and summer, outdoor cactus typically require watering at least once every two weeks, but this can vary according on your area.
But if you live somewhere where the summers are hot, these plants will probably need watering every other week or so.
It’s preferable to use your finger to feel the soil in warmer climates before watering plants.
Although watering cacti doesn’t require advanced science, various criteria, such as the type of cactus plant (some species require less water than others), soil drainage (watering frequency is reduced in loose, well-draining potting mixes), etc., can help you decide when and how frequently to water a cactus.
Cacti are desert plants after all, and they can withstand droughts much better than the majority of other desert plants.
If you reside in a region where it rains frequently, however, once every two weeks should be adequate.
Don’t water the soil if it appears to be wet. Simply check with them again the next day to determine whether they still require watering.
Finally, if your cacti are outside and you reside somewhere with very low humidity (less than 30 percent), you’ll need to water them more frequently.
Your desert plant should already have well-draining soil if you’re growing it outdoors (usually half sand, half dirt). Add some gravel if necessary to enhance drainage.
Since cacti are drought-tolerant plants, they shouldn’t require watering after being planted or transplanted.
If rainfall appears to be infrequent during some seasons of the year, you may want to think about increasing its water intake by an inch every few weeks. However, this may change over time depending on how frequently it rains during those seasons.
Make that there is adequate drainage! Instead of being too wet in between waterings, they should have time to dry off.
Cacti occasionally might benefit from having mulch placed on top of their soil (or gravel at the bottom)! This will aid in retaining moisture and stop grass or weeds from encroaching on it.