- Author: Lanie Keystone
During the recent drought years, we've focused on filling our gardens with beautiful succulents. Even though they seem to be “the easy child” in the garden, they still need proper attention to grow and thrive in your home. So, here's a review of basic care techniques for these ancient and exotic plants when bringing them in to create your own desert landscape indoors.
Water Sparingly! A cautionary note to all of the doting moms and dads out there: with indoor cacti, it's better to under-water than over-water. About once a month! A cactus can survive without water for many, many months, but rot is an instant killer. Using a moisture meter eliminates the guesswork—or—just water when the soil is completely parched and dry.
Let Your Cactus “Play Outside! Leave your cacti outside during the growing months from March to September. Introduce them to their new outdoor conditions gradually to avoid sunburn. They will be so much happier and robust when you bring them back indoors for the fall and winter when they go dormant.
Choose the Right Pot! Make sure to use a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom. Also, include an inch of pumice or a small rock to aid in the drainage.
Soil Matters! Cacti do not like to sit in wet soil—so, no regular potting soil. Use only a specialized cactus mix and after repotting in the new soil, don't water for two weeks. (I know—it's against your parenting instincts!) Planting typically breaks a cactus's roots and you want to take care not to expose cut roots to water as it can create that deadly rot.
Watch for Warning Signs of Distress!
- Thinning of the top growth means not enough light
- Yellow scarring or splotches of extremities exposed to the bright sun can mean sunburn.
- Thinning of overall cactus ribs means under-watering
- White clumps or scale means insect infestation.
Did we say that cacti are the “easy children”? Well, they are. And just by a little observation and minimal care with the proper amount of light and water, they will grow and thrive in your home for years and years. Enjoy!