Care for Cacti & Succulents
Caring for your cacti and succulents is important. They come in a vast range of shapes and sizes. Cacti and succulents fall into the same group because they both can survive in arid environments.
It is best to try to recreate their natural habitat. Here are the main things that you need to consider when caring for your cacti and succulents.
Light, temperature and ventilation
Cacti and succulents thrive with good light sources, and it is best to place them in a bright place. Try not put them in direct sunlight because the intense light can make the plants turn a yellow color. The optimum light depends on the variety of cacti and succulent that you are growing.
During the autumn and winter months, it is best for the plants to be kept cool at night with temperatures of around 8°C to 10°C. In the spring and summer the plants need good ventilation, but will survive in high temperatures.
A free-draining compost, is a good compost to use as it has added girt and sand for optimum drainage. It also contains the right level of nutrients for your cacti and succulents.
There is a common misconception that cacti and succulents only require a small amount of water. Even though they have water-storing characteristics in their leaves and stems which allow them to survive in dry habitats, they will certainly not thrive with little water. Watering is an essential part to how well your cacti or succulent grows. Overwatering will stunt growth, but under-watering causes shrivelling.
If your cacti or succulent is pot-bound, then the best time to re-pot is in the spring. To re-pot:
- Firstly water the plant and allow to drain before removing carefully from the pot, using folded paper to protect your hands against the spikes.
- Clear away the old soil from the roots with a thin stick, such as a chopstick, so that you do not damage the roots.
- Put a layer of potting mix in the new pot, which is slightly bigger in diameter, and sit the plant on it.
- Fill the rest of the pot with the potting mix and firm down.
- Do not water for a few days to prevent rotting of damaged roots.
Keeping these conditions gives the best care for your cacti or succulent. Most importantly, remember when it comes to the caring for your plant is that you are trying to recreate its natural habitat!