How to raise cactus plants at home.
The cactus plant is normally found in the arid regions of the world but they can grow anywhere from the tropical deserts to the snowbound tundra of the Arctic. It may come as a complete surprise that we even have native cacti in Connecticut. Members of the cactus family, or succulents, as they are called are quite hardy given a chance they are low maintenance plant and they are an easy plant to grow. It takes a real brave gardener to admit they have killed a cactus plant as even Death Valley has failed to accomplish that task.
Although you can’t erase cactus from seeds most people by a young cactus in the small pot. Most of the time when they do this the cactus has to be repotted immediately and just repot into a terra-cotta pot that is the next size larger. This is so you won’t make the mistake of overwatering the cactus plant.
Although you can buy a special cactus potting soil at your local nursery, but if you cant you can make your own out of ordinary potting soil and sand in a 50/50 mixture. If you have a little gravel to this mixture it will improve the drainage.
When repotting the cactus break the old pot if possible and remove the pieces. The damage that should be avoided can possibly happen by digging the cactus out of the old pot. Put some fresh cactus potting soil on the bottom of the pot and set the cactus on top of it then fill in around the sides of the cactus with more cactus potting soil. Don’t water the cactus too much or place the cactus were the direct sun can hit it about a week. This will are your cactus to become familiar with his new home. As the cactus becomes bigger it will be necessary to read pothead again but don’t do this until it is absolutely necessary.
During the growing season cactuses have to be watered more often than during the dormant season although there are no specific directions for watering them. Out in the desert there not watered very often and are able to go without water for a considerable length of time. During the dormant season only water the cactus every few weeks. The easiest way to check soil moisture is to stick a pencil down through the soil in the pot until it hits bottom. Withdraw the pencil and see if there is any damp soil sticking to it.
From the spring until fall they should be fertilized every three or four months little low nitrogen fertilizer 5 – 10 – 10 works the best. During the dormant months they don’t need any fertilizer.
Cacti need bright light and if they’re indoors they should be sitting in a southern facing window. If that is impossible supplement the natural light they receive with artificial light.
Cacti are also very heat tolerant able to take temperatures as high as 90° or 100° Fahrenheit. During the dormant season however they are quite tolerant of temperatures of 45° to 55° in fact there have been studies done that show these temperatures promote blossoming during the growing season.
There are very few problems with raising cacti, but they do have a few most of which are just simply caused by overwatering. The cactus has very few pests but there are a few so when you buy a new cactus checking for insects before you take it home. The most likely insects to go after cactus are aphids, red spider mites and mealy bugs. These can be taken care of with an insecticide made for houseplants.
Cacti are very easy plants to raise and there is only one rule that we will leave you with: DON’T OVERWATER!
Published in: Gardening