Cacti are the trendy plant of the moment and I’m guilty of owning an embarrassing number of them. Also embarrassing, I have a habit of killing mine. Since succulents and cacti don’t require a lot of water, it can be tricky to find the balance between over watering and under watering. How much sun does your plant need? What even is fertilizer?? I read up on all these aspects and made a crash course in cactus care just for you guys!
Even though cacti can survive with little to no water, they are in no way thriving when only watered once a month. During the growing season (spring to fall) cacti need regular watering to prepare for the winter seasons which are a period of no growth. During the growth season, give the plant a good soaking weekly. This essentially means watering it until water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the planter. During the winter months allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. Many recommend only giving the plant enough water to ensure it will not shrivel on the edges. It is also advise to use filtered or rain water for your plants as tap water has many hard minerals which can build up in the soil over time and harm your plant.
So we’ve all wondered how those succulents and cacti survive in Ikea under florescent light and then shrivel up when you take them home and put them in the sun?? While most of these plants like bright light, some varieties cannot stand direct sunlight. The most telling sign your plant is receiving too much direct light is when it takes on a bleached or washed out look. Not enough light may result in the plant growing in the direction of light at a very unusual or sharp angle.
Science time, well as science-y as I ever plan on getting on this blog. A good fertilizer has equal parts Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. Honestly I’m sure if you just head over to Home Depot they could direct you to the best fertilizer but just check it has those three ingredients. Fertilizer should only be used during the growth season for the plant and diluted as instructed on the packaging.
Hopefully this run down helps keep your cactus or succulent alive and thriving not just surviving!