How To Grow A Cactus
Have you ever wished to grow a cactus but were held back by the thought of the plant’s appearance – afraid that it might give you a jab? Or that it would require meticulous tending? Well, here is something to cheer you up. Brush aside all your misgivings and translate your wish into reality. A cactus can do wonders to embellish your home décor; try placing them outside or on the window sill. Better still, imagine having your very own cactus garden - what a fascinating and colorful sight it would afford you! And undemanding as they are, cacti - exotic plants that come in varying shapes, sizes and attractive colors - do not entail exceptional care for their growth. Most of them are devoid of leaves but some do grow leaves and others do not have a spine. This makes for easy upkeep as they have very few needs. Adapted to grow in extreme weather environments, these prickly plants show great single-mindedness in growing almost anywhere. Growing cacti can be a very gratifying experience. However, their great endurance in sustaining extreme weather conditions tends to make them susceptible to their own perceived hardihood. You can foster a growing cactus by providing it with the right soil, light, temperature and watering. So, shed all your inhibitions and get your green fingers going. Know more on how to grow a cactus by following the tips mentioned below:
- You can purchase an average-sized cactus from a nursery in your locality. Epiphyllum, Opunthia, Lobivia, Agave and Crassula are some commonly found cacti.
- For a cactus with vertical growth, buy a clay pot with a diameter half the height of the plant.
- Cacti having breadth-wise growth should be planted in pots with a diameter two inches more than the plant’s.
- It will be best if you plant the cactus in a clay pot with a hole at the bottom. Porous as they are, clay pots allow the soil to dry quickly. The size of the pot should ideally be three to four times the size of the plant.
- You will need to procure special potting soil for cactus. It is commercially available in nurseries. An alternative method is to mix coarse sand, peat and pearlite.
- If you wish to build a cactus garden, then earmark a sloped area receiving plenty of sunlight. The sloped area helps in proper drainage.
- Ensure that the beds are around 18 inches in depth.
- You should not forget to add a layer of gravel at the bottom of the bed. This prevents the water from retaining in the soil. Then add the potting soil to it before planting the cactus.
- If you want to grow them in a pot, ensure that the pot and soil are dry before you fill the pot with sand.
- Do not water the cactus for until a week after it is planted. This helps the plant adjust to the new soil. Avoid cold water while watering.
- Water the plant after one week. Water only once a week subsequently lest the roots start rotting. The hole at the bottom of the pot rids the plant of excess water.
- Avoid wetting the plant itself as cacti loathe getting wetted. Cacti do not thrive if watered excessively.
- Reduce watering to once a month in winters. This is because in winters the roots need the bare minimum moisture to prevent their drying.
- Observe your cactus plant for signs of shrinkage. It is perfectly normal for cacti to look smaller and shrink in winter. This is because fall is their resting season and the soil needs to be kept dry to ward off fungal attacks. Watering them can be a fatal mistake. Shrinkage in summer indicates dehydration signalling the need for water.
- Place the cactus outside in summers in a partially shaded area where it can receive bright light combined with a cool breeze during the day. A window sill receiving reduced sunlight is an ideal summer place for cacti.
- In winters cacti can weather very low temperatures if kept dry. However, it is advisable to bring them indoors before frost sets in.
- You can yourself produce more cacti. Take small cups filled with the special planting soil. Plant a small cutting of an offshoot from the cactus plant. Once they grow to around three to four inches, transplant them into pots or your garden.
- Plant a variety of cacti to give to your home and garden a unique look.
- Most importantly, remember to wear gloves while handling your cacti.
Share this article