A beginner's guide to keeping cacti happy and healthy
Many beginner gardeners and houseplant owners quickly flock to purchasing cacti as they are an easy plant to care for. And while it's true that they require much less maintenance than most indoor plants, they still have many needs that must be met to keep them looking their best every day.
Remember, even though they are typically low maintenance plants, neglecting them for long periods can still cause them to dry out or droop.
When caring for cacti, the most important things to remember include:
They love light
As desert plants, cacti and succulents thrive in the sunlight. They love direct sunlight and are likely to grow their best when placed in the sunniest part of your home. If your house doesn't get a lot of sunlight, especially in the winter, placing them in front of windows can give them the heat they need to grow to their full potential.
It is recommended that cacti receive 8 hours of sunlight a day. Though it can be tempting to keep them in the sun for longer, some cacti are susceptible to sunburn and may turn brown or yellow. If you're unsure of the best spot, placing them in a pot that is easy to manoeuvre will help you find the ultimate location.
They still need water
Even though the desert is known to be dry, it still receives the occasional downpour. Like camels, cacti have adapted and can store volumes of water to keep themselves hydrated for weeks and months at a time. While this means they don't need much water, they do still need the occasional spritz if you want them to grow to their full potential.
Handle them with care
Though cacti are perceived to be big and strong due to their spikes, handling them too roughly can lead to unrepairable damage, which could ultimately prevent your cacti from growing.
When handling them, always be sure to wear a strong pair of gardening gloves so you can delicately touch them without the risk of hurting yourself and jolting too suddenly. If you need to repot your cacti, I also recommend using a pair of tongs to help you carefully grip the plant without damaging it.
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