The majority of cacti appreciate a warm, dry environment with minimal water, and plenty of light. These desert beauties will thrive in high light conditions, so placing it in a window where it will receive direct sunlight is ideal — preferably a southern or western facing window, as they are typically the brightest. This plant will not tolerate low light conditions.
PRO TIP: Withhold water from the plant for about four weeks in January or February to encourage new growth in the warmer seasons.
Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface.
Cacti like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. Make sure that you are letting the soil thoroughly dry before giving your plant water. Cacti are susceptible to root rot, so it’s very important that you do not water the plant if you detect any moisture in the soil.
During the winter months, watering frequency should decrease, sometimes to as little as once a month.
Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the stalks often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the stalks, also take the opportunity to inspect them and keep an eye out for pests. Cacti are susceptible to scale, an indoor houseplant pest that appear in the form of small brown scabs. It is very easy to treat, however it’s best to inspect your plant regularly to ensure you catch it in the early stages.
Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your cactus and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.
PRO TIP: If in doubt, let it drought! The biggest killers of these plants is root rot caused by overwatering. In Oregon, cacti rarely receive enough light to require watering more than once or twice a month.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it possible to under water my Cactus?
It is rare, but yes. Signs of under watering are typically brown edging or markings. The cactus stalks would be dry and brittle, as opposed to mushy and soft. When watering an under-watered cactus, remain conservative with the amount given because overwatering is still a possibility.
How can I tell if my Cactus is getting too much water?
Generally, a cactus will become less stable, droopy, and brown at the base if it is receiving too much water.
How do I know if my Cactus has scale?
Scale is a small, flat, round pest that attaches itself to the flesh of the plant and remains stationary. If you see small raised bumps on your cactus that are easily removed with a paper towel or q- tip, it is likely scale. Good news is it is very easy to remove the pest and treat the plant.
How often should I fertilize my plant?
In general, houseplants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration.
How often does my plant need to be repotted?
We suggest repotting every 2 - 3 years. Cacti are slow growing, and they prefer to be somewhat pot bound so you can wait longer than you would with most houseplants. Be sure to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than this as this could drown the plant's roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time for repotting as the plant is at its strongest. When repotting a cactus, be sure not to water it for at least a week after disturbing its roots, as they can enter a state of shock during the process which can make them more prone to overwatering. They return to normal after several days.