Happy Cactus (Dorling Kindersley, 2018) unearths the secrets of different cacti and succulents, with profiles on more than 50 popular varieties.
Once you get your new plant home, you’ll need to make sure it is potted correctly, and then find a suitable location that will meet its particular needs.
How to Plant it
The soil provided with a store-bough cactus or succulent often lacks the nutrients the plant needs to thrive. Therefore, you may want to repot your plant into new potting soil to keep it happy and healthy. Always protect your hands when handling prickly cacti. If your plant is sold in an ornamental pot without drainage holes, you can double pot with a slightly smaller plastic pot concealed on the inside. Be sure not to leave water standing in the ornamental pot after watering.
Make sure the plastic pot fits snugly into the pot you want to use.
You can buy a proprietary cactus and succulent potting soil from garden centers, but it is easy and more cost effective to make your own. Just combine two parts of soil with one part of grit.
Where to Position It
The right spot for your cactus or succulent will depend on its specific needs in terms of light, temperature, and ventilation (see individual profiles). Your plant will also have different temperature requirements during its winter rest from those during its growth period.
Many cacti and succulents need a sunny situation, such as a south-facing windowsill or an unshaded greenhouse, but some prefer bright indirect or filtered light, such as an east- or west-facing windowsill or shaded greenhouse, or even partial shade. Therefore, it is important to check the specific requirements of your plant.
Some plants may scorch in direct sunlight.
In summer, it is important to provide good ventilation. On warm days, open the windows for cacti or succulents grown on a sill, or the vents and doors for plants grown in a greenhouse (automatic vents are recommended, as well as a wire mesh at the door opening to prevent wildlife entering).
- Cacti and succulents do not like significant fluctuations in temperature, so avoid placing them near radiators or in draughts.
- Never shut them behind curtains on cold nights.
- During the plant’s growth period in spring and summer, the daytime temperature should never be higher than 81-86°F (27-30°C). If you’re growing your plant in a greenhouse, you may need to use shading if the temperature can’t be controlled sufficiently by ventilation.
- During winter, indoor cacti and succulents need cool night-time temperatures, but no lower than 41-50°F (5-10°C). Some cacti (eg, dwarf Turk’s cap) are particularly sensitive to low temperatures. Plants in a greenhouse must be kept frost-free.
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From Happy Cactus (Dorling Kindersley, 2018); used with permission of publisher.