How Do I Take Care Of My Cactus Plant?

Cacti need care to thrive: learn plant ccare tips by reading this article.

All succulent plants such as cacti adapt well to extremely dry climatic zones. If they are not native to the area you will need to reproduce the climate in your cultivation of the cacti. They require very low humidity and actually do very well in the dry air of heated dwellings than most house plants. Just having cacti around and looking at them is well worth the effort and enough reason to cultivate them. The plants themselves are beautiful and the flowers can certainly rival other houseplants in their beauty.

There are some cacti such as Lobivia, Rebutia and Parodia, and of course lots of others that are very easy for even the novice to grow. Sure some are easier to grow in a greenhouse as the cacti who are very sensitive species will grow poorly in a house and won't bloom but most will

thrive under the right conditions in the home. There are a lot of species that actually place very little demands on us.

We need to have conditions in our home that will most closely resemble the natural habitat of the cacti and care for them very well. Most cacti thrive in an area with very dry periods and light rainfall. The epiphytic cacti of the wet rain forests in Central and South America are exceptions as they do not undergo a dry season.

The cacti will store up water in the fleshy tissues of stems, branches, leaves and roots. There is a thick outer skin covering leaves that are reduced to mere spines and the smallest possible surface areas are factors that minimize evaporation from these plants even when in direct sunshine.

There is a rest season for cacti when they can withdraw into the ground. During this resting time very little needs to be done against their being dry because their growth has stopped. Critical to the welfare of all cacti is this severe change from rest to growth. If you grow cacti without a greenhouse you will need to locate the plants in different places in summer and in winter. During the time the cacti are growing they will need to be in a airy, warm, bright and sunny area. If you might have a garden or patio you would want to keep them in this during the warm period of the year as they will have more light and air than if they are placed in a window. They also need a nightly cooling off period and it is best in the open.

You can have the smaller cacti in water-permeable clay pots and water-tight, plastic containers as both will be suitable. If you put the cacti on a window sill the plastic containers would be best as the soil won't dry out quickly. If you use clay pots put in peat moss and the pots will not completely dry out as the peat will stay moist.

The soil for cacti such as a potting mix should be loose and porous so that no wet puddles can form. It should also be lime-free and of ample quantity, and not contain too many nutritive materials. Coarse sand, garden soil, rotten leaf mold and friable loam and perlite or pumice-gravel will be excellent. You might even find some special ready mixed soils at your local plant nursery for cacti.

When watering, add a small amount of regular commercial, nitrogen-poor cactus fertilizer, but only a little as too much nourishment would damage the cacti. Soft, lime-poor rainwater is best. When you water, do it heavily as they will store the water for the dry season. Hold off watering again till the first watering has been fully absorbed and the soil feels dry on the surface and also at a depth of at least one inch.

It is much better to water too little than too much for cacti. Put a piece of broken clay from a pot or some gravel in the bottom to keep the drain hole open and prevent plugging.

Remember that healthy, unpampered cacti plants are the least prone to diseases and pests. Good care is the best prevention but still you will need to closely observe your cacti for these problems.

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