Plants

How I look after my cacti and other succulents

July 12, 2019

I’m basically rubbish at looking after most plants. I forget to water them and I accidentally leave some in the light for too long or forget to re-pot them. I’m surprisingly successful with cacti and other succulents though. Perhaps because they are so easy to maintain. Here I have shared my tips on how to look after cacti.

Water once a month in winter, once a week in summer

I think previously, most of my plants have died because I have either under-watered or over-watered them. With my cacti, I generally give them a bit of water once a month in the winter, and once a week in the spring / summer (which is their growing season). As a rule of thumb, I double check that the soil is dry before topping up with a bit of h20.

During the winter, desert cacti can generally be left alone and require watering less often. Winter-flowering cacti need a little more warmth and tender loving care. Just keep an eye on them.

Re-pot in spring

It is best to re-pot a cactus in the spring. First water and ensure it drains away. Then protect your fingers whilst you lift the cactus out of the pot. Carefully remove the old soil, ensuring not to damage the root. Add a layer of soil to the bottom of the pot and place the plant on top, and then fill the rest of the pot with soil.

cacti

Adjust the temperature

In winter, cacti like to be kept cool, so ensure you’re not sticking them right next to the radiator if you’re keeping them indoors. In summer they generally can tolerate high temperatures, but make sure the room is well ventilated.

Get the right soil

You should get a free-draining compost that has sand for good drainage. Soil similar to what is found in their natural habitat will be best, as it will contain all the right nutrients.

cactus on shelf

Give them lots of light

Preferably, place your cactus or cacti in a south facing position for lots of sunlight. My room isn’t actually south facing, but it gets lots of light all day. I place them a little bit away from the window as they are not meant to be in direct sunlight – cacti can get sunburnt too and you want to avoid this.

Green cacti can tolerate less light, but if your cactus is more colourful, such as purple or pink, you’d need a place with lots of light to keep it. If your home does not get lots of light, it’s best to stick to a green cactus.

Keep an eye out for problems

Overwatering a cactus can result in stunted growth, and underwatering can cause the cactus to shrivel – check the soil before watering and if you see the cactus is shrivelling, gradually water it more often. Also check the humidity in the room, as cacti are used to arid conditions so rooms where the humidity is high could make the cactus unhappy.

Pests on cacti.

White patches could indicate that your cactus has mealybug, and bronze could indicate a red spider mite. If you suspect your cactus has a little pest problem, treat with fungicide straight away.

How to look after other succulents

I have other succulents such as my aloe vera plant that is pictured. I find i look after them in the same way I care for my cacti. The only difference is I water my aloe vera plant less frequently and i put it in more direct sunlight.

Those were a few of my tips on how to look after a cactus and other succulents such as my aloe vera plant. Do you have any house plants?

As I said, cacti are basically the only things I am good at looking after. I want to get better though and document my journey here, so keep an eye out!

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