Cactus Care Guide


We can group under the word cactus a variety of plants that have something in common: they store large amounts of water in their tissues, which allows them to adapt to very dry environments and high temperatures. The fact that they are trained to survive these wild and unfriendly environments makes them very easy to care for and maintain indoors. If you are one of those who has bad luck with plants and has sent a few to the other world, these may be the ones that allow you to get out of that bad streak. With her tenacity and this cactus care guide, you have everything you need to succeed.


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Pachira
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The iconic cactus
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There are hundreds of species of cacti, of different shapes and colors, some with beautiful flowers and unusual structures. To make them easier to recognize, we could divide them into two types: desert cacti and forest cacti or succulents. Desert cacti are those that have developed spines or hairs to fend off animals, while forest cacti come from humid and tropical regions. An example is the beautiful Schlumbergera or Christmas cactus, and the epiphyllum or queen of the night.


Tricks to take care of cacti

  • Water carefully, directly on the substrate and prevent water droplets from falling on the cactus, as it will stain and deteriorate it. Putting pebbles, some decorative material or volcanic soil on top of the substrate is a good idea to prevent water from getting soaked around the plant.
  • While it's true that many cacti are from desert environments, the vast majority don't like direct sun. Look for a well-lit space where they don't receive the sun's rays from the front.
  • Periodically rotate your cacti so that they grow in a balanced way and so that all their parts have a chance to photosynthesize properly.
  • Wear gloves and an apron every time you handle your cacti, even if their spines or hairs don't seem dangerous. Sometimes they're tiny fibers that you can't see with the naked eye, but they stay on your skin and clothes, causing discomfort all day.
  • If any of these tiny hairs or spines that you can't catch with a tweezer dig into your skin, use a plastic card (credit card, a card) and slide it by pressing on the skin in different directions. Then wash your hands. Another trick is to use some white school glue, spread on the area, let it dry and tear off.

How to care for your cacti

Watering

Cacti and succulents store water, but this does not mean that you have to water them in small quantities, what should be spaced out is the frequency. That said, it's better to water once abundantly, so that the water reaches the roots, than to do it superficially repeatedly. What will prevent the waterlogging of the roots is the drainage capacity of the substrate.


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The frequency of watering will be increased in spring (every 15 days), maintaining the rate of increase in watering until summer (every 8 days). At the end of summer, the frequency of watering should be decreased until winter (every 20 to 30 days), which is the most critical period for the plant. It's not as complicated as it sounds. You just need to water your plant very well and let the substrate dry out completely before watering again. Do you have any questions? Let it dry a little, that's better than watering it.

The cactus will tell you everything: if it looks brightly colored, upright and well filled, you've found the perfect watering rhythm. If, on the other hand, it looks wrinkled, it leans a little and it looks like the air has been taken out, it lacks water and it is consuming its reserves. If it happens to you, don't panic, just water abundantly and it will recover the next day. A cactus that changes color, is watery, and falls off may be experiencing root rot from overwatering. It's time to cut out some sections to reproduce it because it can die.


Cacti

like bright, abundant light, but they rarely resist direct sun. As a general rule, the more thorns they have, the better they resist the sun. Most forest cacti or succulents prefer to be in the shade, as the sun weakens, discolors, and burns the leaves. If you don't have a lot of natural light, either because of the season or because of the location of your apartment, you can use artificial light.


Substrate

The substrate is essential for the happy growth and development of your cactus, not because they are too demanding in terms of nutrients and nutrients (quite the opposite) but because you must pay attention to the drainage capacity of the substrate. Look for mixes designed especially for these types of plants or use a universal one and add sand or perlite to increase drainage.


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a plant with fruit!
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At the bottom of the pot you should always place some material to facilitate drainage. Use a good amount of pebbles or pieces of clay. You can recycle polystyrene from packaging and wrapping by cutting them into pieces and placing them at the bottom. It's lightweight, won't mold or decompose, and can't grow bacteria or other microorganisms.


When you buy your plant (especially if it is at home) you can see that the substrate is compact, you can move it a little, as this facilitates air circulation and improves drainage, avoiding the dreaded rot. I use a wooden stick in the small pots, so I don't damage the roots.

Once

a

month, except for winter, you can use a balanced fertilizer on your cacti. While they can live in arid soils, the addition of fertilizers and fertilizers stimulates growth and flowering.


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Alocasia macrorrhizos
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Bonsai Carmona microphylla...
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Reproduction

If there is a generous plant with a lot of will to live, it is cacti and succulents. You can reproduce them from almost any part of the plant. If you've tripped over it and knocked over some leaves or a bit, don't worry, they'll turn into another plant. It's very simple: you can place it in a dish with water, submerging only the tip of the leaf to stimulate the growth of roots. You can also put it in a pot with a moist substrate, watering as you usually do with the plant. In a few weeks you will see the roots and first leaves.

About the author
Ame Rodríguez

Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.

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