Cactus care and how to grow cactus without killing them

Of all the things that I am asked regularly, one of the most common is, “How to do cactus care and how not kill them?” This is so ironic. Because if you run a search on “hassle free plants to have indoors” or “Plants that need little care” you’ll find cactus to pop in in most of the lists. Cactus care is supposed to be hassle free like your search suggested and it’s not supposed to break your heart. And yet, a lot of you suffer because the pricklies give up on you. Shame!

Now I for one, reply to all my insta DM’s and comments unless they want to “do frandsheep” with me, in which case I just feel sorry and decline. Talking to most of you on your cactus care woe, I have come to the conclusion that the main problem with your cactus care is not that you have done something wrong but you have {possibly} overdone the right thing. Most of you tell me how your cactus rot and died which I think is a direct result of you overwatering the plant. This is the number one killlaaa in the home cactus community so mark your calender to not water it if you have a habit of regularly watering your plants and your cactus nestle among them. Consider this point Crucial.


Now I am not an expert but in most cases, its simple over watering though it can be many other things too. I am just saying what I observed over the years. These are suggestions; things that have really worked for me. So if it doesn’t, don’t be throwing your pricklies at you know who.

And while that watering bit, I fugured on my own, this advice comes directly from the mothership of all plant related queries- my grandmother. I know you will not believe me (you might also be like, “Whaa? I wasted 20 seconds {mind you the average time on internet is 2 minutes} of my precious time to read this?) but I’ll tell you anyway: love them, but don’t smother them with love. Like every relationship, the human-cactus relationship needs some space too. I am not asking you to neglect them. I am asking you to not constantly worry about them, water them and fret over them because bruv, they like to hang loose. They are dessert pricklies. Believe me you, this works. And I can vouch for this!

If you have the above two things sorted, in most cases you’ll not need anything else. They are hardy, drought resistant and are super cool plants to chill with. As for the rest of it, I am jotting down a few tips and tricks that has really worked for me in my journey to become a plant mama from being a plant killer. And I am pretty confident it’ll help you too. Take a look.

Cactus Care: How to not kill the pricklies

1. Do not over water. Even if you live in a hot and humid place like Mumbai. Water them once a week or when the soil feels completely or 3/4th dry. If you are unsure that the water is still moist, give it another day or two. But when you water them, water them thoroughly and let the water drain well.
2. Think of the conditions in which they are naturally born. High heat, dust, strong winds and scarce rainfall, but heavy rainfall. You should take cue from this.
3. Choose a planter that allows drainage because stagnant water can cause root rot and eventual death.
4. NEVER Place your potted cactii in direct sun. Instead place them in a bright, partially sunny spot or atleast in a spot that gets indirect sunlight three to four hours a day. If you place them under direct sun, they burn up.
5. Make a cactus specific potting soil– I got mine from Ganpat Rao farms in Thane-Belapur road. Cacti need porous soil that drains well so a good mix is really beneficial
6. If you want to keep them at indoors and you have very little sun, just take them out three to four times a week for some sun bath. That also works.
7. Clay pots over Plastic pots. THIS. Alone has made so much difference to my cacti. Because clay or terracotta is natural, it lets the soil breathe- something I’ve found to be very good for cactus as it absorbs excess water from the soil and also prevents the soil from getting excessively hot. Plastic pots on the other hand tend to retain the moisture and heats up quickly. Try this and you’ll see the difference.
8.Tell them they are good boys. Oh, you don’t know how far a kind word could go. Tell them you love them and they’ll love you right back.

I hope this will answer all your query. If all this is still not saving your cactus, take them to your nearest {trustworthy} nursery and let them take a look. Sometimes an ill fitting pot or a poor mixed soil can makes cactus care really difficult and the cactus very unhappy. But in most cases the above will work.

Got more to add in cactus care? Tell me and I’ll be happy to add it in our post!

To all the cactuses in the world that prickles us funny
Rukmini

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