What Are the Best Tips for Growing Cactus?

Malcolm Tatum

Growing cactus in a yard or even in the home is a great way to provide some extra style in the space. With so many different types of cacti to choose from, there is sometimes confusion in how to care for the plants and make sure they grow properly. While the exact processes for growing cactus plants will vary slightly based on the type of cacti involved, there are a few basics that apply to growing cactus of any kind, including the level of exposure to sunlight, watering, and the type of soil used.

Indoor cactus plants require more attention to watering schedules than ones that grow outdoors.
Indoor cactus plants require more attention to watering schedules than ones that grow outdoors.

One of the essential aspects of growing cactus is to make sure the plants receive a steady supply of sunlight. Positioning the cactus to receive as much natural light as possible for the majority of the day will provide essential nutrients that stimulate growth. While essential for all forms of cactus, an abundant supply of sunlight is especially important to cactus with flowers. Without plenty of light, there will be no flowers and the cactus will either remain stunted in growth or actually begin to die.

Watering is another important consideration when growing cactus. There is a misconception that cactus can do without water for long periods of time. In truth, many varieties require watering on a regular basis, such as weekly. The trick is to monitor the surrounding soil and water when and as the soil dries out. As long as it is possible to insert a finger into the soil and feel moisture, there is no need to water at that time. Depending on the local climate, cactus plants may go into a period of hibernation for a few months. During this period, less watering is required. Check with local nurseries to find out how to care for the cactus during periods of cooler weather when hibernation is more likely.

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Also pay close attention to the soil when growing cactus plants. Make sure the soil contains the right nutrients to feed the specific type of cactus involved. There are fertilizers formulated for use with different kinds of cactus plants, including flowering cacti and succulents. Along with using the right type of soil, growing cactus plants inside requires repotting from time to time as the plants begin to enlarge. Always use fresh soil and fertilizer with each repotting, and be sure to add water so that the plant can acclimate to the new soil as quickly as possible.

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