Gardening expert Ann Wied shares her tips on how to grow a cactus.
By Ann Wied
It takes know-how to keep a cactus looking sharp as a showpiece houseplant. For a cactus to thrive indoors, pay close attention to the light, soil, water and fertilization requirements of your specific plant.
• Light. For optimal light, consider not just direction, but also intensity and duration.
• Soil. Proper soil promotes root health and provides support, so use a mix that’s roughly half potting soil and half drainage material (like perlite and coarse sand).
• Water. It’s important to water regularly during the growing season and lightly during dormancy. Some varieties are winter growers, so be sure to follow recommendations for your specific cactus.
• Fertilizer. Fertilize only when your plant is actively growing, and use houseplant fertilizer at half- or quarter-strength. High-phosphorous fertilizers promote flowering and healthy roots. Don’t overfertilize with nitrogen.
About our Expert: Ann Wied is consumer horticulture educator for the UW-Extension in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.