Basic Care of Cacti &
Always keep in mind that the aim in growing cacti & succulent plants
successfully is to provide them with the most optimum growing conditions.
The fact that these types of plants can endure drought conditions should
in no way be construed as a basis for how you should grow them in your
home. Although they can survive extended dry periods the quality and appearance
will suffer. It’s the difference between “thriving” or “just surviving”.
Correct watering procedures
are crucial to the successful culturing of cacti and succulents. Cacti
and succulents do not necessarily culture in like manners, so it is therefore
important to treat each group differently.
Most cacti actively grow
during the long, hot summer months and tend to become dormant during the
short days of winter. It is therefore most important that you recognize
when your plants are actively growing. This is difficult since
cacti tend to grow at such a slow rate, but during the time between early
spring and late fall you can be pretty well assured that your plants are in a growth stage. During this time, water the
plants whenever the soil becomes dry. Do not extend this dry period for
too long or your plants will begin to suffer from lack of moisture. Only
during their dormant periods will cacti be able to successfully withstand
long periods without water.
When the soil is sufficiently
dry, water the plant thoroughly. Be sure that excess water drains from
the hole in the bottom of the pot. Be sure that the soil is completely
saturated. Never water cacti by giving minimal amounts of water. It is
an incorrect notion that one should try and duplicate desert conditions
in order to grow cacti. Conversely, methods such as this often lead to
failure. Repeat this watering procedure when the soil once again becomes
During the winter months when
cacti often become dormant, it is advisable to water much less frequently: Two to three times less
often than during the summer. Most persons attempting to grow cacti suffer
the greatest amount of plant losses during the winter, usually the direct
result of incorrect watering techniques.
Succulents are usually less
demanding of careful watering schedules than cacti. Succulents do not necessarily
become dormant during the winter. In fact many succulents are more active
in their growth during the winter as opposed to summer. Therefore, the
most general rule of watering succulents is to water the plants thoroughly
when the soil starts to become dry, by careful observation. Be sure that
the plant is actively growing when you water in this manner.
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