Cactus Care 101

If you can’t tell already, I love plants. I’d choose to receive a plant over a beautiful bouquet of flowers any day. Cactus and succulents are my favorite because they’re not as needy as other plants. A green thumb didn’t come naturally, and a cactus was a great starter plant. As I do with any new hobby, I tend to start with a ton of research before I jump in with both feet. The north-east is a tricky place to keep a cactus alive but it isn’t impossible! All of my plants are kept in the enclosed porch, with plenty of access to sunlight and warmth. During the summer, cacti need to be watered once every 3 weeks and only enough water that the excess starts to drip through the drainage hole. During the winter water is limited to once every 3 months. Spring and Fall is usually a once or twice a month ordeal. I’ll be honest, I don’t set scheduled waterings for my plants. Using specialized potting mix for desert plants has definitely help drain excess water from the soil. I personally use Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix for all of my babies and I’ve been very satisfied with the results.

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Most plants come in a cute little planter when you purchase them, but most plant shops will sell them in plastic planters so customers can mix and match plants when repotting. Choosing a planter for your cactus and succulents is important for the welfare of the plant. You want to make sure your plant will be happy in its new home! Opt to choose planters that are smaller, rather than larger, as these plants thrive in more confined spaces. When looking for a planter, look for ones with a drainage hole, especially for more shallow planters. For planters without a drainage hole, like a terrarium, a mixture of charcoal, sand, and stone can properly drain excess water so your plants don’t overhydrate. The Zen Succulent has a great starter set for small terrariums for sale on their Etsy page.

I purchased my cactus in 2015 from IKEA! I had no idea they sold live plants and I wasn’t planning on leaving empty-handed so I grabbed two. Sadly, my cephalocereus cactus (right) didn’t last, but my ceroid cactus grew into a green giant. I’ve repotted this particular cactus into three different planters to accommodate its growth. I featured this Urban Outfitters planter in a desert inspirations post. I own both the 6″ planter and 10″ planter. It’s best to repot desert plants in the Spring or Fall during their hibernation so I’ve yet to put anything in the 6″ planter. It continues to thrive with new stems showing up every so often.

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