Hope you’re enjoying your new spiky friend!
An occasional “Hola!” and some attention from its caring gardener
should make it grow just fine.
Besides, check out these plant care tips in order to help your cactus
settle into its new environment.
|Indoors – Cacti, given their desert origins, like warmer temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoors, it is important to place the plant in a warm spot, near a bright-lighted window where it will receive light most of the day.
Outdoors – If you live in a zone 9 or 10 (click to verify), placing your cactus outdoors should not be a problem as long as it is somehow protected from direct afternoon sunlight, for example, in a partly shaded patio or with natural shade from trees.
|Give your cactus the brightest light or sunniest window that you can provide – at least 4 hours of sunlight a day would be ideal. They are not happy in dark corners. However, make sure they do have some relief from sunlight, especially during the more intense afternoon hours of sun.|
|Always water the soil, not the plant, as water on its exterior might cause rot and discoloration.
Here’s how to do it: push the top dressing to the side (mind the spikes!), and carefully water the soil beneath until it is fully and evenly soaked. Excessive water will drip from the draining hole, a sign that you’ve watered enough.
As a rule of thumb: only water again when your cactus is thirsty, meaning, when the soil has completely dried out. Simply stick your finger in the soil on the edge of your planter – if the first inch of it is dry, it’s time to water again.
Indoors, this means watering approximately every 15 days.
|Cacti enjoy a dry and coarse underground. Ideally, use a bagged cactus mix, or do it yourself by mixing 1/3 of potting soil with 2/3 of pumice.|
|As long as your cactus receives air, sunlight, water and nourishment through the potting mix, it will do just fine without fertilizer.
However, it is a good idea to fertilize every two to three months by using liquid houseplant fertilizer added to the water.
|When living with seasons, be extra careful in the summer and winter months.
In summer, you’ll want to protect your cacti from extreme heat: in temperatures over 100°F, provide shade and air circulation. In hot and humid conditions, airflow and careful watering is key to avoid fungus and rot.
In winter, let your cactus go into a dormant period. Gradually move it to a cooler location, with a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees, reduce your watering frequency to once a month, and stop fertilizing. As desert plants, cactus will manage just fine in temperatures above freezing.
|Every kind of cactus is capable of blooming when it is mature. Compared to life in their natural habitat, it might be challenging to get cacti to bloom indoors. Bright light is a big factor, and chances are higher they bloom after a cool, dry, dormant winter period, as outlined above.
Remember that overfertilizing will not make your cactus bloom! Just take good care of it, give it lots of sunlight and be patient.
Trouble in paradise?
|Cactus yellows or splits open in one or more spots||Overwatering||The first sign that your cactus is oversaturated with water – cut back on your watering immediately. A crack in the cactus’ skin is permanent, you will have to wait and let it scar over.|
|Top of the plant has soft, mushy parts||Overwatering||The second stage of overwatering and excessive moisture is rot. Let the soil dry out between watering and never leave your plant in soggy soil. Cut the rotted parts on the upper body out with a sharp knife, then let the hole dry out. Your plant should recover with some scars on its skin.|
|Roots of the plant become soft and mushy
|Overwatering||Root problems are usually severe and your plant might be dying. Try to wash off the roots well, and repot the plant by removing diseased soil and replacing it with sterile soil.|
|Skin starts to wrinkle||Underwatering||Intuitively, you’ll want to reverse this by giving your cactus lots of water at once. But watch out, this could be fatal: only start by giving it a little water, and then gradually increase with every watering turn.|
|Plant starts to stretch out and becomes skinny||Lack of even light||Although your plant will continue to exist in low and artificial lighting, gradually moving it to a location with brighter sunlight will make it look pretty and healthy again.|
|Reddish discoloration or brown scars||Excess of sunlight||Your cacti has had a bit too much of sunlight. The discoloration is the result of overly strong solar radiation. Move it too a shadier place, ideally one with morning sun.|
Keep you plant happy, and it will do the same for you!
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US plant hardiness zones