If you’re looking to add a splash of greenery to your indoor living space, succulents and cacti are ideal houseplants to add. Not only are they hardy and easy to care for, they also come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colours, making them a visually appealing addition to your home.
Whether you’re just getting started with indoor succulents and cacti or want to brush up on your care knowledge, this article details all you need to know about caring for these special plants indoors. Let’s start by looking at the different types of succulents and cacti, as well as the best places to place them in your home.
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Types of Succulent and Cacti Plants
Succulents and cacti are popular plants for indoor gardening due to their drought-resistant nature and low maintenance requirements. While succulents come in many shapes, sizes and colors, they all store water in their stems and leaves, making them particularly well-suited for indoor gardening. Some of the most popular types of succulents and cacti include aloe, jade, echeveria and sedum. Cacti come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, such as barrel cacti, prickly pears and hedgehogs. All types of succulents and cacti can be grown indoors, provided they get adequate sunlight and are watered properly.
Types of Succulents
When caring for succulents and cacti indoors, it is important to choose the right types of succulents for the environment. Some of the most popular succulents for indoor growing include Echeveria, Haworthia, and Crassula. All of these types of succulents can be found at local nurseries and require minimal amounts of water, light, and soil to thrive indoors. It is important to research specific care instructions for each type of succulent that is chosen as they will vary depending on the species.
Types of Cacti
Regardless of where they are grown, cacti come in a wide range of varieties, from barrel cacti to prickly pear cacti. Regardless of whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors, it’s important to identify the kind of cactus that you have so you can properly care for it. Some cacti require more light than others and some are more drought-tolerant than others. Before purchasing a cactus, it’s important to research the specific care requirements for that variety to make sure it is well-suited for an indoor environment.
Where to Place Your Succulent or Cacti
When choosing a location for your succulent or cactus indoors, consider a spot that gets plenty of light. Ideal locations include west, south, and east-facing windows, as well as brightly lit areas. Make sure your succulent or cactus is not sitting in direct sunlight, as too much sun can cause the leaves to burn. It is also important to avoid placing plants in cold drafts or near heating and air conditioning units, as this could also damage plants. Lastly, provide your succulent or cactus with adequate ventillation, by leaving a few inches of space between plants on a windowsill to improve air circulation.
Indoor succulents and cacti require light to thrive, just like plants grown outdoors. Place your indoor succulents and cacti in bright, sunny windowsills or areas with indirect light. It is important to remember that cacti may require more light than other succulents. Exposure to direct sunlight can burn their leaves, so observe your plants closely and move them if needed. If your indoor succulents and cacti are not receiving enough light, the plants may become leggy and stunted. A grow light set up can ensure your indoor plants receive the light they need to stay healthy and continue to grow.
The temperature requirements for succulent and cacti plants indoors are relatively low. The ideal temperature range for cacti and succulents indoors is 10-21°C. If temperatures fall below 10°C, it can damage the plants. Make sure that your indoors temperatures don’t fall below this range. Additionally, be careful to not expose your plants to temperatures over 21°C, as this can also cause damage. Finally, it is important to make sure that any temperature changes occur gradually and that the plants get used to their new environment.
When caring for succulents and cacti indoors, it is important to keep the relative humidity between 40-60%. Additionally, misting these plants with a spray bottle or using a humidifier can help maintain the right amount of humidity in your home. For those in dry climates, creating an environment with moisture levels that replicates the plants’ native conditions can be beneficial. Placing the plants’ pots on a tray full of water and pebbles or in the bathroom can help boost the humidity in the air. Moreover, grouping plants together will prevent them from drying out, as will relocating them to cooler, shadier areas of the home.
Watering Succulents and Cacti
Because succulents and cacti are efficient moisture-storing plants, they should be watered less frequently than other plants. Generally speaking, indoor succulents and cacti should be watered every 7-21 days. It is important to ensure that the soil is dry before you water the plants. To check, insert your finger into the soil and if it is dry, you can go ahead and water the succulents and cacti. Water them until the soil is saturated and then allow the excess water to fully drain out of the pot. Additionally, it is important to note that succulents and cacti should not be kept constantly in moist soil as this can result in root rot.
How often to water
When watering your succulents and cacti indoors, it’s important to remember not to overwater them as this can lead to root rot and other issues. The best way to know when to water your succulents and cacti is to pay attention to the surface of the soil. When the top two inches of soil feel dry to the touch, it is time to water your succulents and cacti. Remember to always water thoroughly, allowing the excess water to drain out of the pot. It is best to water succulents and cacti once a week while they are indoors. Overwatering can be just as damaging as underwatering, so be sure to monitor your succulents and cacti carefully.
Soil Type for Succulents and Cacti
When caring for succulents and cactus indoors, the soil type is an important factor to consider. Succulents and cacti grow best in well-drained soil. You can purchase special cactus and succulent soil mixes, or use typical commercial potting soil mixed with sand, perlite, and pumice in the ratio of two parts potting soil to one part sand, perlite, and pumice. Alternately you can use equal parts of peat moss, coarse sand, and potting soil. If you make your own potting mix, make sure it is sterile and pest-free. In addition, select a pot with holes in the bottom to allow for drainage and aeration.
Fertilizing Succulents and Cacti
Succulents and cacti benefit from light fertilization over the summer season. Fertilizer can be applied with a liquid or granular fertilizer, depending on your preference. If you use liquid fertilizer, dilute the solution before use, usually at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Apply fertilizer once every two to three months during the growing season, using a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Make sure to not over-fertilize as it can cause root burn and damage to the plants. During the winter months, it is best to reduce or completely stop fertilizer applications as the plants enter a dormant period.
Potting and Repotting Succulents and Cacti
When potting or repotting succulents and cacti indoors, it is important to use the right soil. The best soil to use is a mixture of potting soil, coarse sand, and organic matter. Be sure to use a pot with good drainage, as these plants need soil that drains well to prevent root rot. If the pot does not have a drainage hole, add a layer of rocks or pebbles at the bottom before adding the soil. When repotting, make sure the new pot is only slightly larger than the old one.
When planting succulents and cacti indoors, make sure to water them well but be careful not to over water them. During active growth periods, water when the top inch of the soil is dry. In the winter, water less often and only when the soil is completely dry. To measure, use a finger or a moisture meter to feel the soil and make sure it is not overly wet.
Caring for Succulents and Cacti in Winter
Caring for succulents and cacti indoors during the winter months can be challenging. The light in most homes is not strong enough to provide enough energy to the plants during this time of year. Due to this, it is important to take care to ensure your succulents and cacti are getting the nutrients and light they need.
When caring for succulents and cacti indoors during the winter, it is important to limit their water to just the root area and avoid heavily wetting the air. During the winter, cacti and succulents should only be watered about every two to three weeks, and then only when the potting soil is dry to the touch. Additionally, if the temperature in your home is too cold, keep the plants away from drafts and windows.
It is also recommended to increase the amount of light they are receiving during the winter months by placing them near bright, sunny windows. In addition, adding a grow light can provide the extra energy succulents and cacti need during the winter months. This will ensure that they are growing and blooming as they should.
Common Diseases of Succulents and Cacti
At times, succulents and cacti kept indoors can fall prey to certain diseases. The most common diseases of succulents and cacti indoors include root rot, fungal infections and mealybugs. Root rot occurs when the plants are kept in excessively wet soil for long periods of time. Fungal infections can develop due to high humidity levels or poor air circulation. Mealybugs can also appear on indoors succulents and cacti, and can be identified by white, cotton-like substance on the leaves and stems. All of these diseases can be treated by removing affected leaves and stems, and by providing the plant with proper drainage and air circulation.