How to Care for Indoor Cacti

From saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) to angel wings (Opunta albispina), cacti remain one of the most sought-after houseplants and for good reason. They don’t have to be watered often, they can improve the quality of air in your home, and they have a unique charm that makes them a great display piece. When properly cared for, a cacti plant can thrive in an indoor environment.

Choose a Sunny Location

Cacti do best in bright areas with plenty of natural sunlight. Consider putting your plant in a south-facing window. While cacti do well in sunny areas, be careful putting them in direct sun. Cacti can suffer sunburn, resulting in white or yellow spots that signal stress. While most cacti like at least four hours of sunlight a day, some species like Christmas cacti, prefer partial shade.

Feed and Water Sparingly

Unlike many other types of houseplants, cacti do not need to be watered daily. In fact, most species need a good soaking just once a week. How often your cactus needs watering will depend on the season. In the winter when your cactus becomes dormant, you should water it less frequently. Two to three times per month is usually sufficient.

Indoor cacti can benefit from extra nutrients in the form of a free-draining compost. Opt for a potting mix containing sand and grit for maximum drainage. Cactus plants may need fertilizer during their more active periods. Add a layer of compost around the plant to retain moisture which will reduce its need for water.

Keep Away Pests & Disease

Like any plant, cacti are susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Root rot is a common problem with cacti, typically caused by over-watering. This condition can cause the leaves to wilt and eventually kill the plant. If you suspect root rot, hold back on watering until the soil is dry. Also provide your cactus with plenty of ventilation. While cacti do not necessarily like cool breezes, they do thrive in areas that receive fresh air. Circulate the air in your home by opening windows and turning on ceiling fans.

Address problems with pests by simply rinsing the insects away. Insecticides should only be used as a last resort. Fungus gnats can be trapped in sticky traps, while mealybugs and scales can be removed with a cotton swab.

Cacti Plant Care Tips

By providing your cacti with adequate water, nutrients, light, and pest-control techniques, you can enjoy your houseplants for years to come. There are more than 1,750 species of cacti to choose from, each with their own unique look. Pot your cactus in a bold container that complements its texture, shape, and color.

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