10 Things You Should Know Before Buying A Cactus

Although cacti are low-maintenance plants and can do well in harsh conditions, you still need to do some research to grow healthy cactus. Here are 10 facts you should consider before getting a cactus for your indoor or outdoor garden.

Cactus owners are a devoted bunch. Their plants may not be as cute as kittens or puppies, but they know that their prickly green friends need just the right care to grow and thrive. Unfortunately, some of them make costly mistakes when it comes to caring for cacti. It’s important to learn from their mistakes, so you don’t end up killing your plant!

So, what are some of the things you need to know before purchasing a cactus? Well, you need to know that most of them are sold as seedlings, they need special care to survive at home, most of them are prone to bacterial infection, different species have different needs, and they can be grown in many different ways.

In this post, we discuss some of the critical things you need to know before buying a cactus.

1. Mostly Sold as Seedlings

In garden centers and nurseries, they are usually found in small pots or plastic tubs containing a soil substrate that has been specifically designed to meet their needs.

Cactus plants are typically sold as seedlings and come in a container with a suitable soil substrate.

This substrate contains a base of fine-grained materials, such as pumice stone, that retain water for prolonged periods.

The soil substrate also needs to be light enough to enable it to hold on to the water and allow air pockets between each grain in which roots can develop.

2. Their Spines Aren’t Too Dangerous As Most People Believe

Although their spines make them look as if they’re covered in thorns or needles, not all cacti are uncomfortable to touch.

In fact, this characteristic depends more on the type of spines than it does on whether or not the cactus is thorny.

Cacti generally have two types of spines: short and thick, known as glochids, usually arranged in clusters on the lower third of their stems, and longer and thinner spines, which are called sharp or hard spines.

The shorter, thicker ones are usually brown or grey and soft. On the other hand, sharp spines tend to be white or light and can be up to 8cm long.

In fact, cacti with long and sharp spines are quite dangerous and should be handled with care.

The majority of cacti have both types of spines. The degree of discomfort they cause varies depending on several factors but is generally correlated with the size and position of each spine.

The spines on the bottom third of the plant are usually longer and more numerous, making it harder to touch them without getting hurt.

Cacti with long, sharp spines tend to be considered among the most dangerous, but there are a few species that have very thick glochids that they only use as a defense against herbivores.

3. Need Special Care to Survive at Home

The most common care mistake that gardeners make is overwatering, which can cause the plant to rot. Too much water in winter leads to the plant’s roots becoming damaged and its leaves drooping or shedding completely, while excess humidity causes their stem tissues to turn brown.

Another mistake that people make is moving them from a brighter environment to a darker one, from a cooler area to a warmer environment or from outdoors to indoors. These sudden changes can cause the plant’s roots to dry out and its skin to deteriorate.

Cacti also need fertilization to produce new stem tissue, but most people do not realize that this should be done every two weeks rather than once a month.

Cacti are not too difficult to grow, and they can be very rewarding, especially because they can flower without being treated with hormones or other growth stimulants.

However, you can easily become overwhelmed by how large these plants can grow if given good care. Cacti will grow from seeds and cuttings.

4. Different Cacti Species Have Different Needs

The most important characteristic to take into account is the origin of each species, as there are cacti that live in tropical forests or mountainous areas, some of which need temperatures below 10°C while others can survive daytime temperatures over 30°C, and some can live in completely dry environments.

Some cacti have very adaptable natures and can survive for long periods without water, but they are still plants and need water to thrive.

Allowing them to go without water will just make it more difficult for the plant’s dormant tissues to survive.

5. Cacti Plants Are Prone to Bacteria Infection

The part of a cactus that is most easily infected by bacteria or other microorganisms is its stem, and this also tends to be the part where infections develop.

If left untreated, the infection can quickly spread from the roots to the leaves and stems of these plants via their vascular system.

This can happen for several reasons: keeping them in a damp environment, over-fertilizing them, or simply because the skin has been injured.

The majority of infections are caused by fungi and tend to be treatable with fungicides. However, some bacteria such as pseudomonas can lead to more serious diseases in which the plant’s fabric is destroyed.

Cacti are highly resistant plants that can survive for many years, but they are not immortal organisms.

As with all living things, keeping them in good health means recognizing when something is wrong and knowing what to do about it.

6. Some Cacti Species Do Better Indoors

Some cactus species are more suited to living indoors than others.

Those that come from cold regions should not be left outside because they will need a heated environment to survive the winter months, especially if they are exposed to lower temperatures or raindrops.

Although most cacti are native to deserts and outdoor settings, some cactus species prefer being grown indoors.

To grow a cactus plant indoors, you will need to find a suitable place for it. These plants like bright sunlight, but they need to be protected from direct sunlight, wind and the morning dew.

They are also sensitive to changes in temperature or humidity levels which is why most of them grow best when kept near an air conditioning vent, next to a stove or near a balcony railing that faces the sun.

7. Cacti Live For a Long Time

Some cacti can live for more than a hundred years. Many of them usually slide into hibernation mode when they are not receiving enough light or water, which helps them survive drought conditions and extremely hot weather.

Some cacti, including the Saguaro, can live for hundreds of years.

On average, a cactus plant will live for 80 years. The Saguaro cactus is one of the most well-known cacti, and it lives for around 200 years.

However, domesticated cacti plants tend to be short-lived than those in the wild because most gardeners fail to provide their plants with optimum growing conditions.

8. Cacti Should Always Be Planted In a Good Quality Soil

Cacti need good quality soils to survive and thrive, but the type of soil they will grow best in depends on the species.

The soil used to grow cacti should be light and porous, with a PH level of between 5.5 and 6.5. If the soil you choose has a very high clay content or is too heavy, it will not allow water to filter down to the plant’s roots, and it could also disrupt your cactus’ internal PH levels.

Cacti will need holes in their plant pots to allow excess water or air to exit. This means that you should avoid using peat-based composts because the plants won’t be able to breathe properly, increasing the risk of fungal growth.

9. Cacti Can Be Grown In Many Different Ways

There are three main ways to grow cacti and other succulent plants: in pots, as bonsai or simply planted directly into the ground.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, but they all have one thing in common: the soil used must be porous with good drainage qualities.

Growing cacti outdoors gives them the space they need to develop and spread out their branches.

However, this means that they are exposed to all kinds of weather, which can put pressure on them. This method also requires patience and hard work because your plant needs to be properly maintained.

If you choose to grow your cactus in a pot, make sure the pot’s volume is commensurate with the size of the plant. Just like people, cacti require plenty of rest, so make sure you water them well and don’t keep them in their pots for too many years.

Bonsai cacti are pruned to look like trees, which requires detailed knowledge about how much sun they need and how much water they should receive.

10. They Are Many Different Species of Cacti

Cacti plants belong to the Cactus family, and there are over 2,400 different species. They differ in size, shape and color. There are also some amazing hybrids created by crossing two or more different species together.

These plants are native to warm regions of North America, Mexico, South America and Africa.

There is an amazing array of cacti species, and these fun plants are easy to grow and a great option for anyone who wants to get into the gardening game!

Summary

Cacti are one of the most fascinating plants on earth.

They can live for more than a hundred years and go into hibernation mode when they are not receiving enough light or water, which helps them survive drought conditions and extremely hot weather.

read this next

Although cacti are low-maintenance plants, they still require adequate care to grow healthy at home. Here are some common mistakes that can kill your cactus and how to avoid them.
Cactus rot is a common problem in cactus care. Whether it is about root rot or stem rot, the results can be devastating. However, the condition can be reversed if noted early enough. By taking some simple but vital steps, you can save your rotting cactus plant back to its optimum health.
The Cactus is a unique plant that can grow up to a foot per year. It only needs water once every two weeks, as well as very little fertilizer to flower healthy. The Peanut Cactus has a hardy constitution, and will not wither from heavy winds or scorching heat. Here are some tips to help aid you along the way to growing a healthy peanut cactus plant.
Browning is a relatively common problem that many cacti gardeners have to deal with. Fortunately, this is not a death sentence for your plants. When you notice brown spots start to form on your plant, take time to identify the problem and deal with it accordingly
The snake plant is an interesting succulent. While its growth and care may not be as complicated, it can get challenging for beginners. Get the most reliable care tips from expert arborists and take your home gardening to the next level.
Desert plants have adapted their roots, stems, and leaves to store more water and decrease its loss. The ability to stay hydrated helps desert plants grow healthy in extremely hot or cold environments. Still, there are several threats for desert and Antarctica’s plants, including erosion, global warming, and human involvement.
It may seem difficult to take care of a cactus, but it can be fun and rewarding when you have patience and time to devote to your plant. Cacti are versatile houseplants that can work in almost any corner of your home.
the pencil cactus is a sun lover that requires at least six hours of direct sun during the growing season. When grown indoors, it will benefit from at least four to five hours of bright light daily. The pencil cactus does best in full sun locations with warm temperatures.
Cactus soil and succulent soil, surprisingly enough, are not the same thing.  While the two soils look similar and may be fine to use for individual plants in your collection, you will want to make sure that you understand how each kind of soil differs from the other before you plant anything in it.
Propagation of this popular and showy plant is fairly easy, because the small cuttings root readily in water. The succulent-like clumps grow beneath the parent plant in sod and other grassy areas. The flowers are tiny, white, and borne singly on slender stems that arise from the center of each leaf cluster.
Some people call it Tile Flower, some people call it Desert Rose. But we’ll tell you the name of this stunning flower, and we’ll tell you amazing facts about it that you probably didn’t know before. It’s not a rose at all, and in fact it’s not even a flower! It is also not rare, but it is wonder-filled with its vibrant colors and striking shape.
You’ve nurtured your cactus in its container for weeks–but why does it show no signs of life? It’s time to refresh yourself on the basic facts about how to get your cactus blossoms. Your job is like that of a detective, only the clues are hidden underground. You must know when and how to intervene if your cactus isn’t actively growing.
You can revive your dying cactus by following one of these 10 quick steps. You might need to fix root rot, monitor watering, temperature, and light, repot the cactus and change the soil, use a fertilizer, or just give the plant some time to revive on its own
String of Bananas is a variety of succulent with thin, wiry stems. The long, slender leaves on each indoor plant shoot off the ends like a string of beads, hence the name String of Bananas. These leaves grow upwards and form a canopy over the plant, giving the String of Bananas its unique look.
Although cacti plants are hardy, they still require proper watering to thrive. Generally, the watering technique you choose to use will have a significant impact on the overall health of your plant
Golden Barrel Cactus needs direct sunlight to thrive; since golden barrels grow outdoors in desert conditions that receive intense sunlight, the cactus cannot acclimate itself to low light. These plants do best when they receive full sun exposure while also planted in well-draining soil.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.