Desert to Tropics Nursery

Cactus & Succulent Care

Location! Location! Location!

Placement of your cactus or succulent is very important to its health and survival.  When acquiring your new plant be sure to ask what it prefers:  full sun, part sun with afternoon shade, or full shade.  If you are not quite sure then place it in the sun with afternoon shade and see how it does after a few days.  If you notice that it is getting little spots or its color on the leaves is fading then go ahead and immediately move it to more shade.  If you see it is doing fine but you want to put it on more sun then try a sunnier place and watch for that fading of the leaves and/or spots.  Even cacti can sunburn if they are not prepared for the sun.  Mail order cacti and succulents should be placed in full shade for a few days and then gradually adjusted to more and more sun until you find that perfect location, location, location!  Soil is important because like humans plants are what they eat!  If you have your plant in non-nutritious soil then it will definitely not grow as well as if it were in a medium that was chocked full or nutrients.  You would ant a soil that holds some moisture but drains really fast.  Adding perlite, sand or even adding old broken terra cotta pots to the bottom of the pot is the easiest way to amend regular potting soil to fit the needs of your cactus or succulent.


Cacti and succulents are great for folks that don't have the time or memory to water or just prefer to conserve water.  The amount and schedule of your watering will vary on plant location, size of pot, and type of soil.  Once you get familiar with your plant it will become second nature to look at your plant and see if it is thirsty.  You can determine if the plant needs water by checking the soil with your finger or, if the pot is small enough, by picking it up to see if it is noticeably lighter than when it is freshly watered.  You can also look at the plant and see if it is at all sunken or looking kind of raisin-y....water could surely be welcome.  Generally, you would water in spring and fall about every week or two.  When the summer heat clicks on then weekly watering is best.  If you notice your plant is drying out fast during the summer and you can't water it every week then just move it to more shade so that it gets relief from the heat and sun and will dry out a bit slower.  When winter rolls around water monthly at most.  If you bring your plants in you may need to water even less.  Some plants go dormant this time of year and you can just leave them alone till spring.

Feeding is really simple.......

You can use any regular plant food such as Peter's or Miracle Grow.  Organic products are also great and revitalize the soil which really adds to the health of your plant.  Fish emulsion had shown me the best results.  Whenever I clean my fish tank I throw that water on my plants and they go nuts!!!  It is so potent and nutritious.

Reposting is easier than you think.......

People ask all the time about repotting those point cactus.  All you do is get an old towel, piece of scrap carpet, newspaper or anything available that will act as a buffer between your hands and their spines.  With small, potted cactus you can just put the buffer material in one hand and lay the cactus on it with the other hand holding the pot.  Twist the pot off the base and lay the cactus in its new home.  Sprinkle the remaining soil around the base and give it a good shake to make sure it settles well and evenly.  Use a pencil or stick and press into the soil to firm it up.  Larger cactus use the same principles but you may have to use a helper or the ground instead of a table.

Best wishes and Good Luck!!!!