In recent years, cacti have become a well-loved, popular houseplant with more people introducing an indoor cactus to their houseplant collection. Learning how to take care of a cactus is more simple than you may think because despite their native habitat, they thrive indoors and a potted cactus is ultimately a very low-maintenance houseplant. Growing cactus houseplants indoors can be a very rewarding experience for beginners and also make a wonderful gift!
These prickly succulents are a quirky, unique way to decorate your home and are a great way to bring the outdoors inside. Small cactus plants can make any novice feel like a well-seasoned gardener with this mostly self-sustaining plant being one of the easiest to care for.
Although a potted cactus is simple to keep alive, it is still very important to understand how to care for a cactus.
How to Take Care of a Cactus Indoors?
When learning how to take care of a cactus, it is vital you understand the fundamental habits of indoor cactus plants. Getting to know the usual appearance and behavior of your indoor cactus will help you realize the best way to care for it. There are many indoor cactus types, and identifying yours is the first step to ensuring you provide the correct conditions for your cactus.
Identifying Indoor Cactus Types
With such variety amongst cactus houseplants, being able to distinguish between them is a great way to identify your indoor cactus and not only provide the ultimate care for it but also to impress all your friends with your green-fingered knowledge.
Below are 5 common indoor cactus types:
- Also Known As: Easter Cactus.
- Origin: Brazil.
- Visual Features: Stacked flat paddles.
- Other: Flowers in early Spring.
- Also Known As: Chin Cactus.
- Origin: South America.
- Visual Features: Dome shaped with less spikes than other cacti.
- Other: Can survive in lower-light conditions.
- Also Known As: Old Lady Cactus.
- Origin: Central Mexico.
- Visual Features: Lots of tiny hairs giving it a whiter appearance.
- Other: They require less watering than other cactus varieties.
- Also Known As: Barrel Cactus.
- Origin: South Western North America.
- Visual Features: Large barrel shape with long spikes.
- Other: There are many varieties of Ferocactus, some produce red or yellow flowers when in bloom.
- Also Known As: Bunny Ears Cactus.
- Origin: Mexico.
- Visual Features: Two larger bunny ear-shaped surfaces with brown spikes.
- Other: Grows up to 3 feet and flowers in Summer.
Deciding which is the best indoor cactus for you is the perfect first step to achieving your cacti growing dreams. Whether you’re looking for small cactus plants or a large indoor cactus, there really is something for everyone. Thankfully care amongst cacti varieties doesn’t differ massively, so by following the basic cactus care rules you’ll find yourself surrounded by these stylish succulents in no time.
How to Grow Cactus Plants?
Many people opt not to grow cacti from home, with most preferring to purchase a baby potted cactus and nurse it into full size over time. But if you really want to know how to plant a cactus then look no further. Here is a simple step by step guide to planting a cactus at home.
- Seeds – If growing cactus from seeds, the first step you need to do, is to fill a small pot with well-draining compost or cactus soil and place the seeds on top with a little room between each seed. Cuttings – If growing cactus from a cutting, ensure the cutting is well dried before placing it in a pot.
- Seeds – Cover the seeds with a little more compost and leave your plant in a warm, sunny area. Cuttings – Place cutting (cut side down) in the soil so that it can support its own weight – wear gloves to avoid spikes catching your ski. Move your potted cactus to a well-lit area.
- Seeds – Water only when the soil is dry so as not to drown your seedlings, but make sure you check on them regularly, as it is possible to dehydrate your plant. Cuttings – Water your cutting as you would a seedling (see above).
- Seeds – After many months, little seedlings should be growing and will be ready to move into a more suitable home. Transfer your cactus using a fork and make sure you are wearing gloves to not prick yourself on the spikes. Place your seedling in a larger pot by itself to give it plenty of room to grow. Again your soil should be the same well-draining or cactus compost as before. Cuttings – Keep your newly growing cactus in in-direct sunlight for the first few months, then move to a location with access to more sunlight once your baby cactus has grown a bit.
- Both – Tuck in your baby cactus with more soil and water to ensure it is in a moist environment. Care for your cactus following the fool-proof tips in this article.
Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to plant and grow your cactus or buy and nurse a cactus, the most vital part of caring for them is to understand a cacti’s basic needs. Sunlight and water.
It will come as no surprise to hear that your cactus houseplant like all other indoor plants requires plenty of sunlight. Especially as these are native desert dwellers. But how often do cactus need sun?
How Often Do Cacti Need Sun?
Houseplants thrive in conditions similar to those of their natural environment so it will come as no real shock to realize cacti need plenty of sunlight. Many indoor cactus plants crave up to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day – but be careful they don’t start to yellow, as this means they are too exposed to sunlight.
Like other houseplants, sunlight isn’t the only basic need of an indoor cactus. They still need water. Unlike other houseplants, cacti don’t require watering as often as most.
How Often Should You Water a Cactus?
Knowing how and when to water your cactus is imperative to ensuring a long life for your cacti. Surprisingly, it is actually possible to kill a cactus. One of the most common ways to do so is by overwatering your plant. Most cacti will only need watering once the soil is dry, this will likely be once a week (but regular check-ups are good practice). Make sure you aren’t watering your potted cactus if the soil is still damp – you don’t want to drown it!
Now you have all the basic information on how to take care of a cactus, you are probably wondering ‘How long do cactus live?’ Well, cacti are one of the few houseplants that you can be sure will survive a long time. Many indoor cactus plants live for 10+ years!
So with the proper care for your indoor cactus, you can expect this long-living succulent to brighten up your decor, inspire a greener thumb in your house guests and start you on your journey to a flourishing indoor garden.