How To Take Care Of A Cactus: 8 Tips For Beginners


With their unique shapes of all kinds and amazing color variations, Cactus are among the world’s most unusual and popular plants. Caring for cactus plants isn’t difficult, but still, they need appropriate care.

The 2 Types Of Cactus Plants

There are thousands of different types of cacti in the wild, including the desert cacti and forest cacti, which make up two significant subgroups of cacti grown as indoor plants. Both groups can be found in many sizes and both thrive indoors with only moderate maintenance; the most common sizes are small to moderate. Desert cacti are frequently paddle-, ball-, or obelisk-shaped and have spines or hair. The subtropical regions are where forest cacti are found. They flourish in wooded areas of temperate forests, as well as subtropical and tropical areas, and resemble other succulent plants, such as bromeliads. They are climbing or epiphytic plants that naturally cling to trees and make wonderful hanging houseplants. The Christmas cactus, a native of Brazil with red, pink, purple, and yellow blooms, is the most well-known decorative forest cactus. Cacti from the desert and the forest are among the most resilient indoor plants because they both grow slowly and have lovely blooms.

8 Expert Tips To Take Care Of A Cactus

1. Cactus Needs Light

Despite the fact that your cactus plant needs up to six hours of direct sunlight every day, some species from both groups can burn in a sunny environment.

To be safe, we advise placing your cacti plants close to a window that is exposed to direct sunlight during the winter and some filtered bright light during the summer.

When the summertime weather permits, treat your cactus like an outdoor plant to ensure that it receives the necessary light and air.

2. Water Your Cactus properly

To dry environments where they can withstand full sun, all succulents and cacti have evolved. Consider a desert: There are frequently lengthy periods without any rain, followed by a sudden downpour. Cacti and succulents conserve this water by holding it in their bodies, just like camels do.

For this reason, it’s not a huge deal if you skip watering, making these plants somewhat “low-fuss”. They can go a little longer between waterings than your moisture-loving plants because they prefer to let their soil completely dry out between applications. However, if you only give them a little water, they will start using up their internal reserves. This explains why your cacti and succulents might suddenly start to look mushy.

3. Fertilizer Is Important.

Some of the world’s harshest environments are not too harsh for cacti. It is not necessary, but any fertilization effort is appreciated. Find a specialized organic cacti fertilizer with more phosphorus than nitrogen because some gardeners experience poor growth with common houseplant fertilizers (probably because of the wrong ratio of nutrients). Refer to the manufacturer’s suggested amounts when fertilizing your cactus two to three times a year, only during the growing season. Fertilizer usage should be decreased or stopped during the winter.

4. Right Potting Soil Mix

The fact is that various cacti species require various habitats to survive. Some thrive in arid, sandy soils, while others thrive in tropical rainforests. Make sure you understand the species of the cacti you plan to buy and the kinds of environments in which they thrive.

After purchasing it, you must purchase a potting mix that is suitable for it. When you buy potting soil intended for tropical cacti and use it on an arid plant, it won’t grow well.

The Ideal Tropical Cactus Soil

In tropical rainforests, cacti of the epiphyllum species can be found. Make sure the potting mix is appropriate for such species if you decide to use them. Since they are frequently suspended in trees, tropical cacti will drain quickly, preventing their roots from rotting from an excess of water.

Such cactus requires well-draining soil to grow and prosper. Tropical cacti require slightly more organic matter in the potting soil than arid cacti do.

The Arid Cactus Soil

The majority of cacti found in arid regions won’t continue to grow if they are planted in soils that don’t drain well. The majority of these cacti will flourish in potting mixtures designed specifically for growing cacti.

5. Drainage Holes

You can easily overwater them if you don’t allow the soil to dry out in between waterings. To let extra water drain, your container needs to have a drainage hole. Keep in mind that cacti and succulents dislike having wet feet, or soil that has been flooded.

6. Pay Attention to Temperature and Humidity

The desert cactus is a desert-dwelling plant that prefers hot, dry temperatures between 70° and 80° F (21° and 26°C). Nevertheless, it prefers to cool off in the winter, with temperatures around 55°F (13°C). It can withstand cold temperatures in its natural environment, and some species can withstand freezing temperatures at night.

7. Repotting Should Be at the Top of Your Mind

It’s time to file a report once you see roots emerging from their pot. You might believe that cacti don’t require repotting because they aren’t very demanding, but in order for them to grow properly, you need to take care of them.

Repotting is advised every two to four years. Repotting every two years is ideal if you don’t fertilize, but every four years is when you should.

8. Put Your Potted Plant Outside Sometimes

If you only grow cacti indoors, move them outside in the summer to maintain their peak condition. Make certain they receive the light they require to prevent edema. Pick a protected location. During the rainy season, watch out for snails as they may end up eating the juicy stems, and make sure they don’t soak up any rainwater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Grow Lights?

You can purchase grow lights if you believe that you won’t be able to provide enough sunlight.

How Should We Control These Pests?

Mealybug, scale, fungus gnat, and spider mite infestations can affect any variety of cactus.1 Symptom include shriveled leaves, a moldy coating, and the appearance of bugs on the stems or in the soil. Most of the time, you can use cotton swabs or the sink hose to gently wash pests away. Since most insecticide-resistant plant pests have evolved, using chemical insecticides indoors should only be a last resort.

Cacti that are overwatered can develop fungal rot, which manifests as dark, sunken spots on the stem that eventually become mushy. Your cactus may also ooze a dark liquid due to bacterial rot. If either of these problems occurs, you should take the plant apart and treat the rest of it with a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide.

How Old Is A Cactus Kept Indoors?

An indoor cactus plant should typically last ten years, but some delicate species may only do so for a few months. On the other hand, some species have a 300-year lifespan in the wild.