Cacti are actually a whole family of plants, cacti , which belong to the group of succulents . It is a family that has its origin in America, with a small exception in tropical Africa. Its most distinctive features are its ability to store water in the stem and its natural defense in the form of thorns. They are highly appreciated plants in gardening and decoration, since their shapes are as characteristic as they are attractive and, in addition, they require very little care.
If you want to learn how to plant cacti in your own garden or home, in a pot or in the ground, join us for this interesting gardening guide on how to plant cactus .
How to plant potted cactus – step by step
As with most succulents , cacti can be propagated by planting the seeds, but it is much more common to do so by cuttings or suckers. This is because a cactus seed can take a long time to develop as these are slow growing plants.
On the other hand, many cacti produce suckers that only have to be separated from the mother plant, and if a cutting is cut, it has a good chance of developing well in a short time and the mother plant will continue to develop without problems. Due to this, below we explain how to transplant or plant cacti for their suckers, cuttings or do it directly with newly purchased cacti, to which it is almost always necessary to change the container and substrate, since the process will be the same. It is necessary to use thick gardening gloves to handle these plants, thus protecting us from their thorns. The best time to plant a cutting is early in the warm season, from mid-spring. Once all this is clear, follow these steps to plant a potted cactus :
- Cut the cuttings with a very sharp and disinfected knife, or separate the suckers from the mother plant, taking care not to break their roots. A fork can be helpful to gently pry from below. If it’s a cutting, let it dry for a week before planting it. If it is a sucker, you can plant it immediately after carefully cleaning its roots of dirt.
- Prepare the pot and, for this, keep in mind that you do not need a container much larger than the plant, but it is very important that the substrate used offers the best possible drainage. The best material for cacti are clay containers, which perspire and allow better circulation of air and even humidity.
- Use specific substrate for succulents , or prepare yours with a bed of gravel in the bottom of the pot and a base of coconut fiber . Make sure the container has drainage holes. The gravel or coarse sand will prevent the substrate from running through them but will make it easier for the water to drain out.
- Plant the cactus , that is, its cutting or sucker. Do not do it very deep, since it is not advisable that its stem is too buried, and place it in a bright spot but protected from both cold and direct sun.
- Water by sprinkling , in small amounts but frequently, during the first two weeks, always without flooding or getting too wet.
If you sow cactus seeds , follow the same process to bury the seeds and wait for the plant to grow. Sow in spring , don’t over water and be very patient.
How to plant cactus in soil – tips
Follow the steps outlined above to plant cacti and keep these tips for planting cacti in the ground in mind when getting started.
- Many cacti can be planted outdoors, but it is necessary to pay attention to the specific characteristics of each species and the local climate. It must be borne in mind that not all of them are capable of withstanding the cold or humidity of certain climates.
- In any case, the procedure to follow is the same as when planting them in pots, here it is even more important that the cacti have a very well aerated soil with effective drainage , since we will not be able to control the watering as much, especially if it rains.
- Ideally, you should prepare a depth of at least 20 cm in an area of soil with soil suitable for cacti . You can prepare it yourself with washed river sand, peat and perlite, in approximately equal parts.
- If you live in a very hot climate, remember not to place your cacti where they receive direct light in the hours of the most intense sun, since most of them can become stressed or burned.
Cactus care – a basic guide
These plants tend not to be very demanding in their care, but still, it is better to take into account some basic points of cacti care :
- Earth: this is the most important thing, as we have already said. Its soil or substrate is the point that will most influence the proper development of our cactus, and it must be light and loose, without weighing down to provide good drainage.
- Watering: in cold months, it is enough to water the cacti every 15 days or so. In the warmer ones, do it only when the substrate is dry.
- Light: these plants need a bright environment, but many will not bear very strong direct sun well.
- Compost: fertilize your cacti with specific fertilizer every 15 days in the warm months. In the cold months, you don’t need to do it at all.
- Transplant: About every 2-3 years, your cacti will need a transplant. You will know that the time has come when its roots appear through the drainage holes of the pot.