Melinda Myers offers advice for the care of these easy-going plants.
Jump in and make your own succulent garden in a fresh new container!
- Cacti and succulents are great low maintenance plants for busy, experienced, and new gardeners. These sturdy plants tolerate the low humidity in our homes and benign neglect from busy gardeners who tend to underwater their houseplants.
- Grow individual plants in a container or plant several together to create a dish garden or living wreath. Just make sure all the plants have a similar growth rate and watering needs when combined into one container.
- No matter how you design your planting, bright light is a must for successfully growing cacti and succulents. Grow them in a sunny window or under artificial lights for best results.
- Keep your plants healthy year-round by adjusting your indoor care to the changing seasons. As the days shorten and light intensity decreases during fall and winter your plants will need less water.
- Move cacti and succulents to a draft-free cool location for winter. A sunny window in an unused room or basement with artificial lights may be the perfect wintering spot for these plants. The cooler temperatures will help these sun-loving plants adapt to the lower light of winter. Adjust your watering schedule to compensate for this decrease in light. Water thoroughly and only often enough to keep the plants from shriveling. The cool winter temperatures and drier soil may also provide an added bonus of flowers in late winter.
- As the days lengthen and the light intensity increases the plants will need more frequent watering. Always check the soil moisture first. Wait until April when growing conditions improve to fertilize plants if needed. Use a dilute solution of any indoor plant fertilizer high in phosphorous, the middle number of the fertilizer analysis. Only fertilizer once or twice a year as needed.
- Continue to grow your plants in a sunny window indoors or move them outdoors for the summer. Wait for temperatures to warm and gradually introduce your cacti and succulents to the sunnier conditions outdoors. Avoid areas that receive direct midday sun. Check your plants more often as the sunnier conditions mean you’ll be watering more often.
- Move your plants back indoors as temperatures begin to cool. Then start the yearly cycle of low maintenance care once again.
CACTI AT A GLANCE
Name: Succulents are plants, including cacti, with thick fleshy leaves or stems. Lots of cacti and succulent varieties are available.
Size: 1-inch to several feet tall, upright, rounded or trailing
Light: Bright light from south-, east-, or west-facing window is best
Water in Winter: Thoroughly but just often enough to keep the plants from shriveling
Water in Spring - Fall: Thoroughly when the potting mix dries
Fertilizer: Once or twice a year in late spring or summer as needed
Soil: Cacti and Succulent Mix or a mix of one part potting mix and one part coarse sand
Written by, gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Each month Melinda will feature a low maintenance plant perfect for beginning and experienced gardeners looking for attractive easy care plants. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s Low Maintenance Plant of the Month with you!