Garden

Cactus Plants Are Awesome!

Have you ever heard the saying “I could kill a cactus.” While desert cacti are reputed to be impossible to kill as indoor plants, presumably because of their desert roots. Ultimately if you care for indoor cacti as you do other houseplants, your cacti are doomed to failure, however, once you understand their needs, however, your indoor cacti will thrive under your care.

Pot a desert cactus in a mix of 1 part peat moss, 1 part garden soil and 1 part sand, or a prepackaged mix designed specifically for cacti. Transplant in the spring after the cactus has grown within 1/4 inch of the sides of the pot, but don’t allow it too much extra space — the next pot size up will be adequate.

Place indoor cacti in a window facing south, if possible. Choose an east- or west-facing window otherwise. Supplement with additional bright light for a total of 12 to 18 hours a day during the cacti’s growing season to encourage flowering. Maintain a relative humidity of 10 percent to 30 percent and a temperature between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit — glass windows with the direct sun can get extremely warm, so keep a thermometer nearby. A hygrometer will help you keep tabs on humidity.

Water cacti when the top 1/2 inch of the growing medium is dry to the touch. Soak the medium thoroughly and allow it to drain when watering — do not leave the cacti constantly sitting in a dish of water, as this encourages rot. Feed cacti from spring to fall with 5-10-10 fertilizer every two to three months, but do not feed immediately after transplantation.

Move cacti to a location where the temperature ranges from 45 to 55 so they can go dormant for the winter. Water sparingly and from the bottom, just often enough to keep the plants from shriveling — even watering once a week may be excessive, depending on the plant and growing medium. Stop feeding cacti during their dormant period.

Things You Will Need
Peat moss (optional)
Garden soil (optional)
Sand (optional)
Cactus potting mix (optional)
Pots
Hygrometer
Thermometer
5-10-10 fertilizer

 Tip  Watch for flower buds to form and monitor the moisture level of the cacti’s growing medium — when water uptake increases and buds are developing, the plant is no longer dormant and will need to be provided with care appropriate for the growing season.
 Warning  Do not allow water to stand or pool on the flesh of any cacti, especially barrel cacti. This practice can lead to a variety of rots and problems.
  • It is hard to come up with a way that these assorted cacti could NOT be used!

  • They are perfect for any plant collector.

  • Party favors are all the rage.

  • Decorators add them in the most unusual ways.

 Old-hand gardeners know for best success indoor cactus and succulent plants require a certain amount of neglect.

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