Cacti and succulents are fantastic plants, as they practically take care of themselves. They are undemanding when it comes to watering, humidity and fertilisation. Placed in a spot where they receive indirect but abundant sunlight, they are ready to grow beautifully and radiantly.
Growing cacti and succulents is not complicated, but you can always dip into our arsenal of tips.
Tips for growing cacti and succulents
- Light is very important. Position pots of succulents and cacti where they will receive 4 to 8 hours of sunshine a day, perhaps near a window if you are going to keep them indoors. If you want to place them in direct sun, you can do it but you must acclimatise them little by little so that they don't burn.
- Drainage is essential. It is advisable to put a layer of pebbles at the bottom. If you want to recycle, you can use pieces of broken clay pots or bits of polystyrene. The latter is great because not only do you avoid it going to landfill, but it doesn't add extra weight to the pot.
- Prefer shallow pots. The roots of cacti and succulents are usually not very deep and that excess substrate in the pot retains excess moisture that can affect the roots and kill the plant.
- Water abundantly but infrequently. Don't over water, depending on the climate you are in you can water every one to two weeks. Water deeply, until the water comes out of the holes and if possible by immersion so that the humidity does not touch the leaves. Wait until the substrate is completely dry before watering again.
- Avoid watering at night. Low temperatures promote moisture retention for too long and this could lead to fungus and/or root rot, which is the main cause of death for these plants.
- The substrate is very important. Beware of clay-rich mixes that take a long time to dry out, as they cause fungus and rot. Prefer mixes with sand, gravel and other materials that keep it loose and well drained. To avoid the hassle of mixing the substrate, you can buy ready-to-use mixes.
- When fertilising, use a dedicated fertiliser for this type of plant or use a universal fertiliser diluted very well with twice the recommended amount of water. Fertilise only twice a year, avoid overdoing it, especially if the fertiliser contains a lot of nitrogen, as this nutrient in excess causes soft and weak tissues, as well as delaying the flowering of this type of plant.
- Protect your cacti and succulents from frost. If winters are particularly cold in your region, bring your plants indoors to a well-lit, temperature-controlled area.
- did some of your succulent's leaves break off when you transplanted or moved it? Take the opportunity to propagate them. Place them on some compost and moisten or dip the tip in water to stimulate root growth. It is very easy to create new plants from these little accidents.
- Watch out for thorns. If you're going to be collecting cacti and succulents it's worth investing in a pair of strong rubber gloves to protect your hands from thorns and hairs. If you don't already have them, gently wrap your cactus in newspaper or soft cardboard to handle it. If you get a tiny thorn that you can't see, use a piece of sticky tape to remove it or scrape the surface with a bank card or similar, dragging to remove the thorn.