An indoor cactus garden is fun and low maintenance. Cacti and succulents do not require frequent watering, and are a great option if you travel frequently.
I really find cactus gardens very interesting, especially when you combine cacti and succulents of different sizes in the same pot, each with its own distinctive features. And there are so many plants to choose from!
Starting a Cactus Garden
Starting a cactus garden is fun and easy. They are such interesting plants and will be a feature in any part of your house. Here’s how to get going:
- Find a suitable pot. Ideally clay and it MUST have a drainage hole. The pot can be shallow but as wide as you want, depending on how many cacti you want to plant
- Purchase some potting soil that is specifically made for cacti and succulents. This means it has good drainage.
- Plan how you would like to arrange your cacti and succulents within the container
- Fill the pot with potting soil, leaving around 2 inches (5cm) at the top
- Carefully remove the cacti from the pots you purchased them in, and transfer into the new container. Plant them from the back of the container to the front to avoid getting pricked!
- Add more potting soil to cover the roots of the cacti, using a spoon to get to difficult areas
- Add a layer of gravel to finish off and give it that cactus garden look!
Cacti should not be planted in regular potting soil. Rather use special succulent/cactus potting soil that has a higher sand content and drains easier. Or you can make your own mix: one half sand, one quarter peat and one quarter black loam.
Coming from deserts, cacti are not thirsty at all. Water your cacti with warm water, similar to what they would get in their natural hot habitat. Watering a cactus with cold water isn’t good for its roots.
Water once a week in summer. Water well so that water drains out the pot’s hole. But do not over water as you may kill the cactus! During winter, you only need to water every three to four weeks.
When a cactus is flowering, it needs needs to be watered more often.
Cacti can survive a variety of lighting conditions from full shade to full sun. They will thrive with four to six hours of direct sunlight per day. Keeping them in the shade may prevent them from flowering.
What’s the Difference between Cacti and Succulents?
Succulents are a family of plants that store water in their leaves or stems. Cacti fall into the family of succulents. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti generally come from the Americas while most other succulents come from southern Africa.
The difference between cacti and other succulents does not lie in the presence of spikes (called spines), rather in the presence of “areoles” or “spine cushions”. The spines of a cactus will grow from these spine cushions. This is not the case with prickly succulents. Their spines will be positioned more randomly.
Care of Cacti
Cacti are pretty easy to look after. Follow the watering instructions above and fertilize one to two times per year. The fertilizer you use should contain more phosphorus than nitrogen. Follow this advice and you will really enjoy your indoor cactus gardening!