Being a successful plant parent is easy with a little guidance. Here are a few tips and tricks to successfully care for your succulents and cacti.
To ensure the healthiest plants, it’s best to make sure your containers have a drainage hole. The drainage hole ensures that roots don’t become too wet or soggy.
The next thing to consider is that these plants love to keep their root systems tight. This gives them a cozy, warm feeling that they require to grow. So, small containers that hold heat in during the evening are best.
After a year or two in a pot, a cactus may finally be ready to get repotted. The new pot should only be about two inches bigger than the old one.
The more light, the better. They are native to the desert and ideally need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to thrive. Some varieties can do okay with less light, such as the snake plant. An east- or south-facing window is ideal, but they can also do well in west-facing windows.
If your plant is not getting enough light, you’ll see it stretching towards the light source. Succulents will lean towards the sun, so rotating them will help them stand up straight. Another sign your plant is sun-deprived is abnormally large spacing between its leaves.
Regular watering is needed, but always make sure the soil is very dry all the way through between each one. Since these are desert plants, they have the ability to survive drought. Depending on the size of your plant and how much direct sunlight it receives, generally a 1/4 to 1/2 cup every few weeks is going to be enough water.
The key is to water just enough to have a drop or two run out of the drainage hole in the bottom. Simply have a rag ready after you water them and wipe any excess water away.
If you can, use room-temperature water such as bottled water/rain water/melted snow. Another alternative is to let tap water sit on your counter for 5-7 days to evaporate the chlorine (if your water source treats water using chlorine).
A good rule of thumb: if you ever notice the bottom leaves shriveling a bit, the plant likely needs a drink.
During winter months, you can cut back on the water, as cacti become dormant during this time with less sun and cooler night temperatures. Watering less than 1 per month is likely. The colder the environment the plants are in, the drier you should keep them.
Don’t use regular potting soil with cacti and succulents. Cactus soil is especially formulated to allow water to moisten the soil and run through because these plants don’t like to stay wet. Remember, cacti and succulents are more likely to die from over-watering than under-watering.
Cacti enjoy their own unique flavour of dirt that is sandier and rockier than regular potting soil. This soil has the best draining properties fit to its purpose.
After being in your home for a year or so, cacti and succulents can benefit from nutrients to grow more and produce blooms. Make sure to give them fertilizer that is formulated for cacti and succulents.
During the summer growth months, you can fertilize them lightly in small doses.
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