Horticulture/Cactus

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Cacti are usually pretty easy to grow. Almost all cacti are able to handle neglect and will soon grow with a little care. Cacti adapt very easily to the dry conditions found in the home. Some cacti can grow to be only a few inches tall but others can grow so big that they will eventually outgrow your home. Some may grow to stand upright, or others may only grow to form a big ball, cacti are generally limited by how big their container is, these containers being hanging baskets or ornamental balls. Cacti grow slowly as houseplants, typically only a few inches a year, the cacti will grow quickest during the months of March and September.

You should water your cacti according to the location they are in. If they are in a place that gets very hot, you need to water them once a week. If they are in a place that is milder then watering them once a month would be fine. When you do water, do so in the morning and be sure that the cacti is positioned to get a little morning sun after watering. The cacti cannot ever be permitted to sit in water. Soil that has been waterlogged will rot the roots of the cacti. Cacti plants do best in a rich soil, but only if it is free-draining. Commercial cacti potting soils can be used, or if you can make your own by putting together equal parts of a peat-based potting soil and sand or grit. http://www.spinesandleaves.com/cactus-plant-care.html

Cacti usually prefer to be planted in a pot and should only be repotted as needed. April is the best time to repot the cacti. When you do repot you need to wear heavy gloves or wrap the cacti in newspaper. Put the cacti in a container that is only a little larger than the previous container. After you repot the cacti, you should wait several days before watering.

Use a low nitrogen fertilizer once a month from June to September. You should never fertilize repotted plants during the winter.

When you get your cacti home you will want to place it in a well lit position in your home. It needs to be able to get some direct sunlight throughout the day. Cacti will do best in a temperature that is anywhere from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season. Dormant cacti plants will do best in temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. The best place for cacti in winter is a sunny cool room or next to a window where it is cooler. During the summer cacti can be moved outside and will adapt very well to the change of climates. For the first weeks, place them in partial shade so they can have a chance to adjust to the brighter light.

A few types of Arid Climate Cacti are:

Star Cactus-this is easy to grow. This is a green spineless cactus and has white flakes on the outside of the ribs.

Golden Barrel Cactus-sits upright and has a green body that is covered with gold-yellow spines. The flowers are also gold. This cactus would be good for beginners.

A few things to remember when caring for your cacti, if your not sure whether to water the cacti or not, then you should probably wait until the next week. The cacti will be able to handle the neglect better than the over watering. Don’t put the cacti too close to the glass on the window, if the temperature raises above the 86 degree mark, then this could burn your cacti. Enjoy your cacti!!!