Cacti are fascinating plants that come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or someone who is just getting started, cacti are a great option for adding some life to your home. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about cacti, including how to grow a cactus, care for them and where to find them. But before we get into that, let's take a closer look at this fascinating plant – what exactly is a cactus?
What is a Cactus?
A cactus is a type of plant that typically has sharp spines or thorns. Cacti are native to deserts and dry regions all around the world, but they can also be found in rainforests and mountains. Some cacti can even grow in arctic climates! There are over 2,000 species of cactus, so there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your home. Cacti come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiny pea cactus to the large saguaro cactus. Some cacti even grow as tall as trees!
How to Grow a Cactus
Choosing the Right Pot
Cacti need well-draining soil, so it’s important to choose a pot that has drainage holes in the bottom. You can use either a plastic or clay pot, but make sure it’s not too big—a pot that is too large will retain too much moisture and could lead to root rot. Fill your pot with cactus mix or sandy loam soil and then water it thoroughly until the water runs out of the drainage holes.
Letting Your Cactus Drain
Once you’ve potted your cactus, set it in a bright location but out of direct sunlight. Allow the excess water to drain out of the pot—this could take up to an hour—before putting your cactus back in its spot. Make sure you discard any water that has collected in the saucer under the pot.
Caring for Your Cactus
Cacti are relatively low-maintenance plants, which makes them ideal for beginner gardeners or anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to devote to plant care. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when caring for your cactus:
Most cacti need bright light in order to thrive. If you live in a region with long winters and limited sunlight, you may need to supplement your cactus’s natural light with artificial light.
One of the most common mistakes people make when caring for a cactus is overwatering it. When watering your cactus, make sure the soil is completely dry before adding more water. It’s better to underwater your cactus than to overwater it; if you’re unsure whether your cactus needs water, it’s better to wait an extra day or two before watering it again.
You shouldn’t need to fertilize your cactus very often; once every two months should be sufficient. When fertilizing your cactus, make sure you use a fertilizer specifically designed for cacti; using too much fertilizer can damage your plant.
Most cacti prefer warm temperatures and can tolerate temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some species of cactus (such as the Christmas cactus) prefer cooler temperatures and should be kept between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cacti are relatively pest-resistant, but they can sometimes be affected by mealybugs, scale insects, or aphids. If you notice any pests on your cactus, you can remove them by hand or treat them with an insecticide specifically designed for use on plants.
How Long Does a Cactus Take to Grow?
The answer to this question depends on the type of cactus you are growing. Some cacti grow relatively quickly, while others can take years to reach their full size. Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular cacti and how long it takes for them to grow:
Saguaro Cactus: The saguaro cactus is the tallest cactus in North America, and it can grow up to 70 feet tall! These cacti are slow growers, and they can take up to 20 years to reach full size.
Prickly Pear Cactus: Prickly pear cacti are a type of Opuntia cactus that is native to the Americas. These cacti can grow quite large, with some specimens reaching 10 feet in diameter! However, they are relatively fast growers and can reachesuch impressive sizes in just 5-10 years.
Golden Barrel Cactus: The Golden Barrel cactus is a popular choice for indoor gardens because it stays relatively small, topping out at around 2-3 feet tall. Despite its small size, this cactus is a slow grower and can take up to 30 years to reach full size.
There are many different types of cacti to choose from, and each has its own growth rate. Saguaro cacti are the tallest type of cactus in North America but they are also the slowest growers, taking up to 20 years to reach full size. On the other hand, prickly pear cacti can grow up to 10 feet wide but they only take 5-10 years to reach that impressive size. Golden barrel cacti stay comparatively small, only growing 2-3 feet tall, but they can take up 30 years to reach full size. No matter which type of cactus you choose, you're sure to enjoy watching it grow!
A cactus is a great choice for both indoor and outdoor gardens because they are easy to care for and don’t require much water. When choosing a cactus for your home, make sure you pick the right size for your space and pot it in well-draining soil. Allow excess water to drain from the pot before putting your plant back in its spot and be sure to fertilize monthly during the growing season. With some basic TLC, your cactus will thrive for years!