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.
What degree of cold is unbearable 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.
Can cacti endure 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.
In cold weather, should I cover my cactus?
The hardiest cacti don’t require protection when it gets below 25 degrees Fahrenheit and can withstand temperatures well below zero. Echinocereus species, also known as hedgehog cacti, have clumping stems that grow in mounds and frequently exhibit intriguing spination. Large, showy, and frequently vibrantly colored flowers are common. Plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 of the United States Department of Agriculture are suitable for the green-flowered hedgehog (Echinocereus viridiflorus). This plant, which is indigenous to grasslands and foothills from New Mexico to Wyoming, has vibrant spines and yellow-green blooms. Hummingbirds are drawn to the bright red-orange blossoms of the claret cup (Echinocereus triglochidiatus), which is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 10. The beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) features magenta or yellow blooms and azure pads. USDA zones 5 through 10 support its growth.
Due to the fact that some species of cactus are native to freezing desert environments, they can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants may exude water, which will give them a slightly deflated appearance, or they may contain spines or hairs that deter frost. However, many cacti cannot withstand cold or temperatures below zero. Always examine the hardiness zone of a cactus before purchasing. Bring your cactus inside as a houseplant if you reside in a location outside of its range. Row covers, tents, and frost cloths can all be used to protect your cactus from the bitter cold outside.
To review, humidity is the quantity of water vapor in the atmosphere. Cacti typically like low humidity and good airflow, though they do appreciate water after drying up. Winters are frequently dry, so keeping your cactus next to a heater inside won’t cause any issues. The air outside is frequently dry due to wind chill. Keep an eye on the humidity if you live somewhere where it gets cold and humid. If the relative humidity exceeds those ranges, you might wish to bring your cactus indoors because most cacti like a relative humidity of 40 to 60 percent.
How should a cactus be cared for in the winter?
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!
Cactus recovery after freezing?
Can you revive a frozen cactus? The gardener’s first responsibility is to practice patience. Usually, it can. This means that if you notice freezing damage to cacti, you shouldn’t rush in and chop off the sensitive limb tips. It is entirely possible to thaw out a frozen cactus, but cleanup shouldn’t begin right away. Watch for the blackening of the softer parts.
Do nothing when you notice the tips or trunks of your cacti turning from green to white to purple. The likelihood that the cactus will self-heal is good. However, you will need to prune when those tips change from green to white to black. To be sure that the cold weather is over, wait till a sunny day later in the spring. Then cut away the black portions.
This implies that you trim the arm tips or, if the cactus is black, even remove the entire head. If the cactus has joints, cut at the joint. Once the cactus portions have turned black, don’t wait to take action. The black areas are decaying and lifeless. If you don’t get rid of them, the cactus will perish and the deterioration will spread.
If everything goes as planned, your trimming will assist in thawing a frozen cactus. The clipped part will begin to produce new growth in a few months. The sections of the cactus harmed by the cold will no longer be present, however it won’t appear exactly the same.