Happy Cactus (Dorling Kindersley, 2018) unearths the secrets of different cacti and succulents, with profiles on more than 50 popular varietiesCacti and succulents have a rather different watering and feeding regime to most other houseplants – timing is everything.
Cacti and succulents will thrive and flower if you mimic the seasonal rainfall pattern in their native habitat.
Water your cactus every two weeks or so during its growth period. In the northern hemisphere, this is from April until early September.
From early September, gradually reduce watering, stopping altogether during the plant’s winter rest period – from early November to the end of February. Gradually commence watering during March.
Winter-flowering cacti need to be watered every two weeks or so (and be kept warm) until they finish flowering in late autumn or early winter.
Overwatering leads to root rot , which is the main cause of death in cacti and succulents. However, by following a few simple steps you can prevent this from happening:
Most plants can be watered from above. However, if your cactus has hairy leaves (eg panda plant), or its leaves and stems cover the compost, water it from below to avoid splashing them. If possible, use rainwater (leave a bucket outside to collect it), as some cacti are sensitive to the minerals in tap water. Tepid water is best.
Use a watering can with a long, thin spout to reach the potting soil easily. Water the potting soil evenly around the base of the plant.
Stand the pot in a saucer of water for around 30 minutes. Then drain any excess water from the saucer. Water is absorbed from below.
Like all plants, cacti and succulents need food in order to thrive. Add a high-potash feed, such as liquid tomato fertilizer, to the watering can two or three times during the growth period (from April to September). Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t be tempted to add extra – overfeeding can damage the plant.
From Happy Cactus (Dorling Kindersley, 2018); used with permission of publisher.
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