(How to grow and Take Care of Ornamental Cacti Indoors)
Keeping the environment humid enough to maintain the health of tropical plants is one of the disadvantages of growing house plants, in which often need a jungle-like conditions to survive.
This isn’t a problem for cactus enthusiast, as these desert plants appreciate dry air and average room temperatures.
Cactus is typically a desert-dwelling plant that thrives in dry and hot conditions, but this plant also makes outstanding indoor houseplants.
Even though sun is require for cactus health, many species can get by on with just three hours a day and supplementary lighting can also help specimens living in a north-facing window.
They are quite low-maintenance which makes them an excellent plant for new gardeners and could even be a great housewarming gift.
If you do well in taking good care of your cactus, they might reward and surprise you with their vibrant flowers which are a bonus for plants that already enchant with mystical shapes and spiny textures. More tips for caring your cactus here: Garden Care Tips.
(How to grow a healthy Cactus indoors)
The cacti families are succulents which means that they store moisture in certain parts of their body (which includes their pads, stems and trunks) for them to use during dry and drought periods.
As we all know, these plants are generally found in desert conditions, although some of them are found in tropical to sub-tropical places.
These plants are fond of sunny locations with plenty of heat, areas which have little to no rainfall and rough soil.
The majority of this plant family will make excellent houseplants due to their minimal needs and forgiving nature. These hardy plants also do need water but not on the scale that the other average plant would require.
They are unique in form and blooms with proper care. Cactus plants that grown indoors prefer a cactus growing mix that is partly sand or grit, some soil and a bit of peat moss.
Cactus growing mix promotes optimum health for your cactus plants and mimics the natural gritty, arid and low nutrient soils they grow in naturally. You can purchase this mixture from garden shops or you can learn how to make cactus growing mix yourself. See also Basic Indoor Gardening.
(Popular Variety of Cactusgrown as Houseplant)
There are two varieties of cacti grown as houseplants, and both of them are popular and readily familiar. These are the Desert Cacti and the Forest Cacti. The desert cacti are the “traditional” cacti, which are usually covered with spines or hair and often growing in paddles, balls or obelisks, while the Forest cacti grow in wooded areas, ranging from temperate forests to subtropical and tropical regions. For more ideas in taking care of your cacti, looking into books such as Garden Centre: Cactus and Succulent Care Kindle Edition (amazon) a beginner’s guide to caring for succulents and types of cactus.
The Desert Cacti have the same care requirements such as good light, heat and a correct watering technique. They don’t usually outgrow their chosen locations in your home or their pots particularly quickly, and are actually quite cheap to purchase (when it is still small and young) and require only basic maintenance.
If you maltreat or are quite careless of your houseplants in general, a cactus will normally take more punishment before succumbing when compared to other houseplants. On the other hand if you are very attentive you will have a fine specimen growing happily and potentially showing off some of their wonderful, vibrant blooms.
They have a unique, stark beauty, and some of the desert cacti feature the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom. Growing Desert Cacti is not difficult. They might be one of the toughest houseplants but they do very well in homes with children and other pets such as dogs and cats in terms of toxicity, however this is only achieved because of their protective spiky spines which will hurt anyone or anything who attempts to get at the plant flesh.
Unlike the Desert Cacti, Forest Cacti doesn’t grow in deserts. They grow in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Unlike their desert relatives, these plants do not resemble one another and many of them do not have spines.
Almost everyone has seen at least one representative from this group even if they were unaware that the plant was actually a cactus. Most Forest Cacti are either epiphytic or lithophytic, meaning they grow in trees or grow on rocks respectively.
This type of plant gets its nutrients from the air or from dead leaves and other debris that may have collected in crotches, cracks, or crevasses. It is important to note that there are no parasitic cacti. Those that grow in trees do so for support, but do not sap nutrients from their host.
Growing a new cactus is easy. You can grow them from a pup that shoots off from a mother plant just by cutting a plump, unblemished and healthy pup from the plant. Picking a healthy pup gives you a greater chance of succeeding in growing a new healthy cactus.
You can also buy them in garden centers or at a local nursery. After cutting the pup, transfer it to a sunny windowsill or in a place where there is sunlight. Place the cutting for about two days. This will give the plant a time to heal and form a callous. If you don’t let the wound heal before planting, the cutting will most likely rot.
The most important thing to remember when you’re choosing a pot for your cactus is drainage. Find a plant container with drainage holes in the bottom that will allow excess water to drain out.
Cacti also do well in smaller pots, so choose a plant container that is about twice the size of your cactus.You can also use clay or plastic pots for cacti. Plastic pots are much lighter and cheaper, but heavier clay pots would be better for large plants.
Fill your plant container with a cactus’ specific potting soil. Cacti need soil that is rough and drains very quickly, so choose a medium that is specific for these types of plants. For even better drainage, mix two parts of the cactus potting soil with one part lava rock pebbles or pearlite.
Avoid over-watering your cactus. Cacti that sit in wet soil are prone to fungal and bacterial growth. After preparing your soil mix, plant the stem or leaf cutting callous-down in your soil mix. Push the cutting in just deep enough so that it will stand up on its own, and use your hands to gently firm the soil around the cutting to stabilize it.
Moisten the soil to provide your cactus with extra water, but don’t soak the soil. Until its roots and new growth start to form, only mist the cutting lightly when the soil feels dry. Otherwise, the cutting may rot.
Keep your new cactus in a bright spot. Transfer it to an area that gets a lot of bright but indirect sunlight.Too much direct sun can also injure a new cutting. Leave the cutting in this location for a month or two, until new growth starts to come out.
(Proper ways to take care of your cactus plant)
As a rule, cacti like about four hours of direct sunlight a day, and Desert types of cacti with thorns fall into this category. Give tropical cacti direct sunlight in the winter but indirect light for the rest of the year. Once settled, several hours of direct sunlight every day is needed for most species of cacti.
A sunny window will be ideal for most cacti. However, if the cactus starts to look yellowed, bleached, or orangey, it is likely getting too much light, and you should move it to a west-facing window. Kitchen and bathroom windows are also great for cacti, because they can pull additional moisture from the air as needed.
When the cutting grown enough, you can transfer it in a garden box outside your house, or you can put them in hanging planters, living wall planter (for forest type cactus), or even in a simple pot in your windowsill. (If you want to check more planters, you can browse gardensonata.com.au that will suit every plant you have)
Cactus plants need watering too, but not as frequently as the other houseplant does. Watering depends on the type of cactus you have and the time of year. For most of the year, water only when the soil has dried out from the last watering, which you can also check by pressing your finger into the soil, just water your cactus weekly during their growing season.
Over-watering might lead to the death of your cactus, but they will need weekly watering during active growing periods. Growth phases are typically between spring and fall. When the soil feels dry to the touch, water your cactus until the soil is thoroughly moist. Avoid watering your cactus if its soil is still damp, this will rot your cactus.For tropical cacti (Also known as forest cacti), water regularly year-round but also keep the soil moist instead of dry while the plant is in flower.
Fertilize your cacti two times a year. Cacti will also benefit from regular feedings during the spring, summer, and fall months.
When it comes to feeding, a standard cactus or all-purpose fertilizer during the spring and summer months will be suitable. These plants don’t grow particularly fast so you don’t need to apply fertilizer to your cactus more than a few times each year.
Cacti don’t necessarily like drafts or stiff breezes, but they will thrive in areas where there’s plenty of fresh air. Always remember that deserts tend to be very dry with very low levels of humidity.
So you need to be careful about providing too much humidity because cacti have an increased chance of rotting in very humid locations if mixed with poor ventilation. You can improve the circulation in your home by running ceiling fans, opening vents, and opening windows during warmer weather.
Despite their eventual size the majority of cacti have a very little root size compared to what you can see above the soil level. Cactus roots are often hollow rather than deep and therefore a large plant container for a small plant “to grow into” is often a mistake as it heavily increases the chance of overwatering and rotting.
Pick a well-draining pot that is one size larger than your current pot. Fill the pot with cactus potting mix. Pick up your cactus, place your hand around the base of the plant, and turn the pot over to remove the cactus. Gently tap the roots to remove old soil, and prune off any dead or dried roots. Transfer the cactus in the new plant container and firm the soil around the base with your hands. For the first two weeks after transplanting, avoid watering the cactus, and keep it in a bright place where it is protected from direct sunlight.
There will be a few insects that can be ambiguous when you are growing a cactus, and common insects include mealy bugs, scale, fungus gnats, and spider mites. Mealy appear in groups on the undersides of leaves, on leaf spines and in the soil that are colored white and cottony-looking while Scales have a dome-like white shells and appear on stems and leaves.
Try removing it with a cotton swab or you can take your cactus outside and wash the bugs off. The spider mites are white webbing with small brown dots that looks like dusts in the leaves but are actually the mites themselves. And Fungus gnats are the tiny black flies that appear above the soil’s surface while their larva stay on the soil, remove them by using a sticky trap.
To get rid of these pests, rinse or mist the cactus with water to wash away the pests. Treat pests first with the least toxic remedies before resorting to insecticidal soap or actual insecticides applied as directed on the package.
People always think about thorns and spikes when they hear the word cactus. But they aren’t just pocky..they are beautiful too.
Ethereal is an understatement. Most cacti blooms and when they do, they are vibrantly beautiful.
Are you planning to have a cactus as your indoor plant?
Or do you already have one?
If so, take good care of it, and follow the tips and advices mentioned above if you do want to see the beauty your cactus might be hiding there. You can also check Ornamental Indoor Palms for other ideas in growing ornamental indoor plants.