Succulent and Cactus Care Tips

Succulents and Cacti are similar in that they store water in their leaves, stem, trunk, or basically what is above ground so we can usually take care of them the same way.  The biggest difference between the two is that cacti can take more light than succulents and can usually go longer between watering.

What we have noticed about succulents and cacti is they have an incredible will to live and do their best when you don't give them lots of attention.  They also do better when crowded together or planted clumped together with other plants.  The more they have to compete, the better they seem to thrive.

Because these beautiful plants store their water in their leaves or stems the minimal amount of time between water is usually at least 1 week.  Always check the soil with either a moisture meter or by sticking your finger at least past the first inch of soil to check for moisture before watering.  Letting the soil dry out thoroughly is key to preventing root rot and helping the plants develop stronger roots as they spread out and search for more moisture.  We also recommend after planting in a new pot or new soil, don't water for 3-5 days and let those roots start to spread out and search for water on their own.

Light as we said is the biggest difference between cacti and succulents.  Cacti being primarily found in desert environments mostly prefer bright direct light.  A south facing window or outside during the summer getting full sun is perfect for them.  Succulents for the most part prefer indirect light or partial sun so a table a few feet from a window or under a tree that blocks sun most of the day outside will be best for them.  

Regardless if you bought your cactus or succulent from us or another grower, be mindful that they were likely grown in a greenhouse or kept inside and need to be acclimated before leaving outside.  Do this by slowly introducing your plant to sitting outside for an hour then bringing back inside and slowly progressing that time outside over the next 1-2 weeks to get it used to the sun vs what it was experiencing inside a greenhouse, under grow lights, or in your home.  

Fertilizing is very minimal with cacti and succulents.  Again, they like to fight for their survival and don't like getting a lot of attention.  You should only need to fertilize twice each year.  Fertilize once before spring/summer and once as winter approaches.  You want to give them that boost of nutrients to help them prepare for the blooming/growing season of spring/summer and once again as they enter their winter dormancy to help them get through.  You can purchase fertilizer specific for cacti and succulents at the big box stores or you can make your own.  One of my favorites to use is eggshells.  I save up some from a few breakfasts, then I boil them in a pot of water, let the water cool then water with that water.  I'll then crunch up the eggshells into small pieces and mix that into the soil so that it's a longer release.  This also avoids the risk of burning the roots by applying too much nitrogen.

 The cacti/succulent soil that we have custom blended for use in our store eliminates many of the biggest problems with keeping your cactus or succulent alive.  It is probably the fastest draining soil you will find and prevents over-watering and root rot.  I promise it is easier to kill these plants by over-watering than by under watering.  It is also amazing if you have a plant that is struggling or needs some TLC, they will love it in our soil.