You might be surprised to learn that cacti are among the best-known warm-weather plants and can suffer freezing damage. However, even in Arizona’s hot and dry summers, wintertime lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) are not uncommon. Cactus may suffer freezing damage as a result of this. You’ll need to know how to care for a frozen cactus if you discover that your cactus is harmed after a cold spell. Can you revive a frozen cactus? How can a frozen cactus be revived? For advice on helping a cactus harmed by cold, continue reading.
How are cacti kept alive throughout the winter?
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.
Can cacti be left outside in the winter?
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.
What temperature is too low for cacti?
If you have enough light, cacti are some of the most rewarding houseplants. Few blooms can match them in terms of color, size, or beauty. Space is typically not an issue because most cacti grow slowly. They are extremely resilient and flexible. They do not “thrive on neglect,” unlike what the general public thinks. They “thrive on gentle loving care, like most plants, but they will at least “survive on neglect.”
Except for epiphytic (tree-dwelling) cacti and succulents like the Christmas cactus, rhipsalis, and orchid cacti, which demand less sunlight, greater humidity, and more watering than other species, the general care instructions below apply for cacti and most other succulent plants. They also prefer fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. Compared to other species, add less sand to your potting mixture. Other succulents such as haworthias likewise favor brilliant indirect light over direct sunlight.
Give cacti and other succulent plants the brightest or most sunny windows you have indoors (four to six hours of direct sun). They will grow abnormally long and thin in low light conditions. Your plants will benefit greatly from spending the summer outdoors in the morning or late afternoon sun, when there is greater air movement and light. The majority of succulents can withstand intense outdoor sun, but they must get used to it. When putting plants outside, place them in partial shade or shadow at first and gradually expose them over the course of a few weeks to the strong late spring and summer sun.
Spiny and woolly species need the greatest sunlight, whilst spineless species typically need shade during the midday hours. If your plant has a reddish tint, it may be because the amount of sun it can withstand is reached or exceeded.
When you water, make sure to water well and wait until the soil has dried before doing so again. In particular, succulents are vulnerable to rot from excessive watering. If the earth around your plant is already moist, NEVER water it. Pots that are dry weigh less than wet ones. When the soil inside clay pots is moist, they feel chilly and damp to the touch. When the soil has enough moisture for the plant, succulent leaves are solid and plump.
The majority of cacti and several other succulents prefer to maintain a significant amount of dryness during the cooler months of the year (usually October through April). Over this time, drink less water than usual. To encourage new growth in the spring, spray your plants in the early morning hours of warm days. The spines of plants will allow them to absorb moisture. In order to prevent new roots from being stifled by excessively damp soil during the early spring, we also advise watering plants from the bottom of the pot. Fill the plant’s saucer with water, give the soil, pot, and plant around 30 minutes to absorb the moisture, and then drain the extra.
If you embed your plants in a mixture of 50% coarse builder’s sand and 50% peat, they will grow to their fullest capacity if they are in clay pots. This stops the soil from drying out too quickly and enables the roots to grow in the consistent wetness that the peat/sand mixture creates. Make sure there is excellent drainage in the tray that contains the peat/sand mixture.
Keep succulents and cacti above freezing in the winter. Some plants require a temperature range of 35 to 40 °F at night (some cacti and other succulents can endure temperatures well below freezing if kept absolutely dry.) A minimum temperature of 50–60 degrees is preferred for more tropical succulents like adeniums, euphorbias, lithops, and stapeliads.
Plants need to be shielded from intense heat in the summer since potted plants’ root systems are more susceptible to harm. Good air circulation and cautious watering will prevent fungal and rot issues in humid and hot conditions.
From May to September, feed your plants once per month using a fertilizer that contains low nitrogen (10% or less), such as 5-10-5 or 10-30-20. Nitrogen overload promotes excessively quick green but weak development. As the majority of cacti have evolved to thrive in nutrient-deficient soils, always dilute the fertilizer more than the label recommendations suggest.
In the spring or early summer, repotte. When young, most plants like annual repotting with just one pot size increase. Without relocating the plant to a larger pot, you can carefully remove the top inch or two of soil after you reach roughly a 6-pot size and replace it with fresh mix. Since succulents are typically heavy plants, especially when potted in clay, moving them into ever bigger containers can be challenging.
Steer clear of soils that contain a lot of peat moss. Peat retains moisture for too long and is difficult to remoisten after being fully dried (a frequent occurrence with most succulents). You can add some coarse builder’s sand to the soil to promote drainage and a tiny amount of peat to the soil to improve texture. As much as 40% sand is appreciated by stapeliads, wooly cactus, and lithops (living stones). The base of the plant should have a top dressing of fine gravel since it encourages greater water absorption into the soil, shields it from excess moisture, and looks good too. For every 3 inches of pot size, add a tablespoon of gypsum and bone meal, if possible.
Use a pair of wooden tongs or a piece of newspaper that has been rolled up to help plants with a lot of spin out of their pots. If the plant is resistant, resist the urge to pull it out because doing so will harm the roots. Try again by striking a hard surface with the pot. As much soil as you can take out without harming the root ball. To prevent rot, always repot the plant at or higher than the prior soil level. You might need to stake species of columns. To give new root hairs time to grow after repotting, wait a week or two before watering.
How should a potted cactus be cared for over 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.
Will my cactus survive outside?
Many gardeners think it’s nearly impossible to cultivate cacti outside or that these succulents can only survive in hot, dry climates. Thankfully, that is not the situation. Plants like cacti and other succulents are excellent for landscaping. They can grow and thrive in a variety of climates, need minimal upkeep, and are always simple to grow and take care of.
So, are cacti a healthy outdoor plant? Yes. Although cacti plants often flourish in indoor settings, many kinds can also thrive when planted outdoors. You can always locate a suitable cactus species that can survive outside, regardless of the climate in the area where you live.
While some cacti species can withstand extreme heat and light, other types thrive in cold winter settings. It is up to you to identify the species that will thrive in your region.
In the winter, should cactus be watered?
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.