How to Take Care of a Cactus: Complete Guideline Cactus is one of the most popular indoor plants. It is widely in demand because it requires little care to survive. However, you need to make sure the cactus is having that little care if you don’t want your cactus to be found in very poor condition. Without some proper care, the cactus doesn’t necessarily do well, it just dies very slowly. For your cactus to be spared this fate and thrive in its place for a long time, you should know how to take care of a cactus.
Most Important Steps in Cactus Care at A Glance
- Choose a location that has enough light but not too much sun. But keep in mind that some species may need more sunlight.
- Water regularly, but not too often.
- Fertilize cacti with cactus fertilizer during the growing season.
- Repot your cactus with proper care timely.
- Some cacti should be moved to a cooler place in the winter to keep their natural dormancy.
How to take care of a Cactus? Essential Factors
Cactus indeed needs very little care compared to other plants. But you should know how to take care of a cactus properly to ensure its full growth & longevity. For that, the following 5 things you need to ensure necessarily-
The Right Location
It is often assumed that cactus should always be placed in a sunny place. But this is not always true. There are so many types of cactus & they have some basic difference which influences where to place a cactus. While most varieties need a lot of light and warmth, some species can’t tolerate the blazing midday sun on a windowsill or a yard. Find a spot for your cactus where it will get light for many hours a day without the risk of burning the plant, such as an east or west window.
As a rule of thumb, the brighter the cactus, the more sun it can tolerate. For example, the woolly-haired species of Mammillaria or Cephalocereus cacti, as well as densely spined varieties, can tolerate significantly more sun than dark green foliage cacti such as Easter or Christmas cactus or various Pereskiopsis species.
Watering the Cactus
Cacti are succulents that can store water in their stems and tubers for long periods. So, many people think that the cactus doesn’t necessarily need that much care in watering. But it is very important to know how to water cactus to ensure the best care for it. For best cactus care, watering intervals should be rather generous.
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Daily sips of water, which are especially common in the office, are not the right watering method for cactus care. Water regularly or immerse your cactus in low-lime water until the substrate is completely soaked. Then stop watering until the soil is completely dry once through. In summer, this takes one to two weeks but in spring and fall, it can be four weeks or longer. Make sure that there is no waterlogging in the pot because this will kill the cactus.
If you are in search of how to take care of a cactus, you should know how to fertilize for the proper care of a cactus. Like other epiphytes or mountain and desert plants, cactus usually stands in rather a dry substrate. In a small plant pot, the few nutrients contained are used up very quickly. So, it is quite important to fertilize the cactus regularly, especially if you want a cactus to bloom. Use commercial cactus fertilizer for fertilization. Liquid green plant fertilizer can also be used for proper cactus care, but this should be administered in half doses at most.
Potting & Repotting Cactus
Repotting a cactus is not easy, but it is a part of cactus care. The larger the specimen, the more complicated it becomes. However, since cactus grows like all other potted plants and consumes their planting substrate over time, or the soil becomes compacted and salinized over the years, cactus should also be repotted regularly. You have to do this after about three to four years, when the cactus has grown too large for its pot and threatens to topple over, or when the roots are already growing out of the pot’s drainage holes.
It is recommended to wear special cactus gloves when potting or repotting the cactus. Small cactus can be softly lifted with wooden grill tongs. Larger cactus can also be gripped with two Styrofoam plates on the right and left, but be very careful not to break the thorns. Use the substrate for your cactus that is closest to its natural habitat.
Winter Care for Cactus
It is very important to know how to care for cactus in winter if you want to know how to take care of a cactus properly. Winter care for a cactus depends on the type of species. Some cactus species need a cool resting period, which does not necessarily have to take place during the wintertime to set flowers. For example, the Christmas cactus as well as all Mammillaria and Rebutia species have a resting period when the temperature is between 5 to 15 degrees Celsius.
However, many other cacti are overwintered warmly. That means they can remain in their location all year round. Due to the lower light output, the growth of the cactus is limited in winter and therefore they need much less to no water and no fertilizer. It is recommended that when caring for cacti that are placed over a radiator or on underfloor heating, an insulating wooden or cork trivet be placed under the pot during the winter. This will prevent the heating air from excessively drying out the root ball and the cactus from having an untimely growth spurt due to the increased need for water instead of resting.
Conclusion: How to take care of a Cactus
Cactus species need very little care that doesn’t mean you completely overlook them. It is important to know how to take care of cactus properly to make them grow. You have to make sure that your cactus is having at least the necessary care. In this article, we have discussed all the small details of how to care for cactus.
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Try to follow this and your garden will thrive within no time. If you have any more queries regarding cactus care, please let us know.