Gardening Tips

Caring for a cactus

Caring for a cactus

Cacti (Cactaceae) are one of the most popular plants for decorating both gardens and interiors, and it is a whole family of succulents that is very striking due to its particular shapes. Cacti have their origin in America and Africa and their size is as diverse as their shapes, from huge sahuaros to tiny ones. Blossfeldia liliputana. However, almost all cacti agree on one thing: how resistant they are and how undemanding they are with their care. Thanks to these characteristics, practically anyone can have a cactus at home or in the garden: you just have to find the right place and the right species.

If you want to learn more about how to care for a cactus or if you wonder how to make a cactus grow, join us in this EcologíaVerde article in which you will see our cactus care guide.

Characteristics of cacti

The cacti or cacti have among their main characteristics their roots and spiny stems and its leaves that either do not exist, or are very reduced or in the form of a thorn. They are plants with roots that cover large areas, usually at a shallow depth, in order to absorb as much moisture as possible due to the low rainfall in their most common environments.

Some cacti do not have spines as such, instead developing beards or spiky hairs that do the same function. Also, cacti flowers they tend to be very showy and large in relation to the plant, usually being single and isolated flowers.

They are not very demanding plants in their care, but even so it is better to know them well since they differ quite a bit from the most common plants in some of their needs. In this other article we talk about different types of cacti.

Caring for a cactus - Characteristics of cacti

Climate and location for cacti

if you wonder how to care for cacti indoorskeep in mind that they are not very different from the outdoor cactus care: need dry climates in the vast majority of cases, with as much sunshine as possible and with very well-drained soils and substrates. Thus, when it comes to knowing where to put the cactithe most important thing is that it is brightly lit areaswith little humidity and protected from the cold, since these plants generally do not tolerate low temperatures for a long time.

Regarding light, some species need direct sunlight every possible hour, while others may prefer indirect light, especially in climates with high intensity sun. You will have to inform yourself about the specific needs of the species of your particular cactus.

Also, if you like the Feng Shui lifestyle, here we talk about Where to place the cacti according to Feng Shui.

How to water cacti

To know when to water a cactus is another of the most important problems of the caring for cacti in pots or in the garden. The roots of these plants extend a lot, but at the same time they are thin and very sensitive to rot: an excess of humidity is very likely to make your cactus sick, and in some cases it is necessary to prune affected areas to save it. If you ever see it sick, here you can consult tips on How to revive a cactus.

The water needs of these plants are very low, so water only when the substrate has completely dried out even below the surface. Usually this will happen 1 or 2 times a week in the warm months, and even every 15 days in the cold months. Some cacti can stop watering even completely during the winter.

If you wonder I ask “how to know if my cactus needs water?”, the answer is easy to see by looking at its stem or its base. If it is wrinkled or deflated instead of smooth, the plant is using up its water reserves and needs more watering.

In this other guide you can consult more details about how often and how to water the cacti.

Care of a cactus - How to water the cactus

What substrate to use for cacti

This is, together with irrigation, another of the vital points of the caring for a cactus. Cacti do not need soils rich in organic matter, but they do need their land to have a particularly good drainage so that it does not accumulate moisture, which can rot the plant.

exist specific substrates for cacti, but you can prepare yours with a sandy base, adding a bed of gravel to the bottom of the pot and enriching it with perlite. If you want to keep moisture away from the aerial part of the plant, you can add another thin layer of gravel on the surface, around the stem.

We recommend you read these other posts on How to make cactus substrate and How to plant a cactus.

Caring for a cactus - What substrate to use for cacti

How to transplant a cactus

Sometimes these plants, like all plants, require a transplant, especially if we grow them in a pot. Most cacti are slow-growing and will not need an annual transplant, but in two or three years we may see its roots poking out of the pot’s drainage holes, or we may want to repot it because it is in a unrecommended location.

In any of these cases, it is necessary to take into account when can you transplant a cactuswhich should be done during summer or some especially dry season, since in this way the plant runs less risk of being attacked by fungi or of suffering more stress than necessary during the process.

It is also important to use gardening gloves, or gloves thick enough not to hurt us with their thorns, and remove the soil from the roots of the cactus, being very careful not to damage them. You can help yourself with low pressure water for this. This method is also very valid for transplanting those suckers that many cacti produce and that are an excellent way to reproduce them easily and quickly.

Here you can find out more about when and how to transplant a cactus. Also, here below we leave you a guide on how to care for cacti on video. Finally, now that you know how to keep cacti healthy so that they grow, you may also be interested in learning about How to make a cactus graft and its care.

If you want to read more articles similar to Caring for a cactuswe recommend that you enter our category .

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