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 a cactus be left outside in the winter?
Cactus plants that thrive in cold climates prefer many of the same environmental factors as their southern cousins, such as lots of light. Some of the most typical maintenance needs for cold-weather cacti are listed below.
How to Plant Cacti
Cacti need soil that drains fast, but pure sand shouldn’t be used because it doesn’t contain enough nutrients to support their growth. It is recommended to combine typical garden soil or topsoil with 40 to 60 percent coarse sand and up to 10 percent compost for a nutrient-rich, quick-draining mix when growing cacti. Fine-grain sand should be avoided since it can clog soil instead of improving drainage. Cactus plants should not have the soil around their shallow roots disturbed after planting. Pea gravel or other small rock mulch helps control weed growth, keeps the soil temperature constant, and protects soil from blowing away.
In order to offer optimum drainage, raised beds are advised. You need more drainage the more rain your area receives. Cacti should be grown in pots under cover, such as a roof overhang, in extremely moist areas. Cacti should never be planted on normal or clay soil since they are easily overwatered and will perish.
In the winter or fall, refrain from watering cacti. To get ready for the upcoming weather, cactus plants start to contract and seem withered and unappealing. This is a typical phase of their hibernating process; but, if you water them at this time, the extra water may freeze and destroy the plant.
The best strategy is typically to let Mother Nature take care of watering your cactus over the rest of the year. You can feel free to water your cactus, though, if there are several weeks in a row of hot, dry weather without any rain. The plants are probably trying to notify you they need water if the soil is completely dry and they appear limp or are starting to droop. Avoid watering the plant directly and properly soak the soil for the greatest effects.
In-ground cactus plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer, although they can benefit from spring applications of compost or a liquid fertilizer made for use on vegetables or bulbs. Avoid fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen (the first number of the three shown on the package). Nitrogen promotes quick growth, but it can also make a plant too delicate and prone to winter damage, especially later in the growing season.
Protecting Cactus Plants
Contrary to popular belief, cold-hardy cacti can thrive in regions with a lot of snow. Cacti can, however, suffer from frostbite in regions with cold temperatures and strong winds but minimal snowfall. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage. The burlap shields the plants from the sun, cold, and wind while allowing them to breathe. In order to protect the cactus plants from too much moisture during warmer winters, carefully erect a structure over them, such as a canvas tent.
Can cacti withstand extreme cold?
Unexpectedly, a lot of cacti can withstand chilly temperatures. Cacti that are cold hardy always benefit from a little protection, but you might be surprised by how tough they are in the face of snow and ice.
Cacti reappear after the winter?
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.
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. Watering should be minimized so that the potting mix dries up between the watering. 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!
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, how frequently should I water my cactus?
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.