July 21st, 2009

How to Grow Cactus and succulents:

Growing cactus and succulents indoors is mostly about ensuring they have the right balance of light and water and temperature.  The cacti and succulents that are popular as house plants are native to either the desert or the jungle.  As you explore the varieties of each plant, it is beneficial to note their native environment so that you can try to replicate it for them (as much as possible) inside your home, and increase its chances of thriving.

How to Grow Cacti in ideal light

Cacti will thrive in the hottest, sunniest window in your house – conditions that would burn or exhaust most other house plants.  One of the leading causes of death for indoor cactus plants is insufficient light, so even though they would look pretty in that shadowy corner of the house, they won’t last long there without a bright hot grow light hanging above them.

How to water cactus and succulent house plants:

One of the characteristics of cacti and succulents is their extreme capacity for storing water.  This means they can survive –and even thrive- with very little watering.  If you are a person who has lost many a tropical house plant because you forgot to water it, then cactus or succulents may be just right for you.  In fact, overwatering is one of the quickest ways to kill a cactus.  It is important to let the plant dry out between watering.  If the soil, or plant medium is dark and moist looking, don’t water.  If it is light colored and looks dry, stick a finger in a few inches and only if it is completely dry, should you water it.  If you are still unsure and you want to make sure you are not overwatering, you can wait until the plant starts to show signs of distress from lack of water.  A cactus or succulent will bounce back much better from not having enough water than from having too much.

How to provide the ideal temperature for cactus house plant growth

Cacti and succulents prefer hot daytime temperatures.  Environments that are too warm for human comfort can still be perfect for these house plants.  Put them in the sunniest, south or west facing window in your house.  Though they prefer hot days, they will thrive to their greatest potential if those hot days are followed by cool nights.  The greater the difference between the day and night temperatures, the better these house plants will grow.  They should not, however, ever be exposed to freezing temperatures –  this will kill them as most cacti have very little capacity to withstand freeze.  The coldest they should ever be allowed to be is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit  or 7 degrees Celsius.

How to Select the right potting medium for indoor cactus and succulents:

All cactus and succulent house plants require a medium that is well drained. The final element to take into account when raising healthy cacti and succulents is the potting medium.  The desert cacti and succulents will prefer a sandy medium, while jungle cacti will prefer a medium that reminds them of the trees they like to grow on, for example a bark mix.