Indoor Cactus Care Guide
Some of you might prickle at the thought of keeping a spiny plant in your home, but despite these spines, cacti are some of the most popular houseplants. Cultivating cacti in the home can help add to your interior decoration style and give those who can’t have pets the satisfaction of responsibility and growing something with love and care. Cacti and other succulents are famed for being resilient to even the most forgetful gardener. Despite this durability, new cacti parents should still prepare themselves by reading our indoor cactus care guide!
Types of Cacti
The first and foundational step for indoor cactus care is getting to know your cactus: cacti can be broadly distinguished as desert cacti or forest cacti. The original habitat of these plants will determine what kind of habitat they’ll like in your home: a desert cactus will be happy in bright light and will carry on even when you forget to water, while forest cacti generally come from tropical or subtropical regions and will need more humidity and close attention.
Desert Cactus Care
Desert cacti are perfectly adapted to living comfortably in even the most hostile environments. Fleshy stems that store water, broad roots to reach as far as possible for moisture and even those threatening spines are adaptations to conserve water. These unique traits mean that cacti are tough and won’t wilt if you forget to water for a while, but they also mean that watering too frequently can overwhelm them. Desert cacti also need a strong, direct light source. Plant your desert cactus in a pot with a fast-draining soil intended for cacti, or amend your regular soil with inorganic material like lava rock or perlite. It would be best if you placed them in a bright spot that gets sunlight for as much of the day as possible. During the spring and summer months, you should only water thoroughly when the soil feels completely dry. Cut back on watering even more in fall and winter to allow your cacti to go dormant and avoid root rot.
Forest Cactus Care
Forest cacti naturally grow in humid, shady forests and are often found using larger plants or rocks as a platform to grow on. These forests are rich in moisture and nutrients, making a forest cactus a bit more demanding of its gardener than a desert cactus. If you’re using soil, we recommend using a light and sandy potting mix that can drain freely, with a small amount of compost or other organic material added. To replicate the humidity needed, you can mist your plants with water daily or place them in a tray filled with pebbles and water, keeping them on the pebbles above the waterline.
We hope you take our advice to heart and raise a healthy cactus. Are you looking to talk to other home cactus growers? Visit the PlantX Forum to share tips and more with other cactus cultivators!