Cactus is a plant known for growing best in the desert. That fact changed when people started to plant it indoors. And then arises the question, “can cactus survive indoors?
Yes. A cactus can survive indoors as long as you care for it. The determinant is how good you are at taking care of it. It’s not a complicated job; it needs specific requirements to survive.
With some research and growing tips, you can plant cactus indoors. So, what do you need to successfully grow the cactus plant indoors? There are a few things such as watering, sunlight, and pests that you need to know to ensure your cactus is healthy.
Through the article, we will look at how your cactus can survive indoors without worrying.
How can cactus survive indoors?
This question is asked on many plants, but it’s common with succulents plants because these are plants that originated outdoors, and they like the outdoor sun. To be sincere, the cactus is a low-maintenance plant, regardless of what people tell you.
Once you plant it indoors and provide it with the required requirements, you can leave it grow alone with minimal care from time to time. So, here are the things you should consider to ensure you have healthy growing cactus.
Factors to consider to ensure cactus can survive indoors
Pick the correct cactus plant
There are various cacti in the market that you can choose for your indoor garden. Some people tend to go for the aesthetic and beauty of the room when choosing the cactus; however, the best way to look at it is how easy they are to care for.
There are two varieties of cactus: desert and forest cacti. Desert cacti are the type that can withstand harsh weather conditions and survive since they spine for support. While Forest cacti are spineless, thus they can’t survive in hostile conditions. The Forest cacti are best for the indoor garden because they are easy to care for and can adapt to good conditions.
Provide enough lighting
Cactus like to grow in the sun, which they use to make food. The minimum amount of sunlight it requires is 8 hours a day. If it is indoors, it’s likely to lack enough natural sunlight. Maybe you have it on a window facing south, where it can receive maximum sunlight, giving it a maximum of 5 hours. That might not be enough to make it grow to its fullest, so you have to provide it with extra lighting.
Or maybe it’s winter, and there is no sunshine outside. Supplement the lighting with an artificial source of light. You can purchase an artificial light for your plant to ensure it receives maximum light.
Underwater the plant
Yes! You heard it right. Giving the plant little water is better than giving it more. Why? Because it is tolerant to less water and sensitive to more water.
The best way to give the plant water is to confirm if the soil is completely dry before you water it. You can do this using your finger or purchase a moisture meter to check soil moisture.
Also, ensure the pot has proper drainage holes to drain excess water from the soil.
During winter, give it even less water than usual because of the cold temperatures. But, if you have artificial lighting, you can give it water as usual.
Fertilizer can improve the growth of cactus. It provides the plant with nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and iron. The best fertilizer should have low nitrogen content and is soluble.
Don’t give the plant fertilizer after potting it. This can reduce your cactus survival indoors. The best time to apply it is after it has started growing. You can do it three times every 2 months.
Planting cactus indoors, you need to use potting soil. The soil is mixed with the required nutrients for it to grow well. You can purchase it from a local store or online.
If you want to make your soil, use potting soil and perlite in a 1:1 ratio. Instead of perlite, you can use crushed pumice or gravel. Avoid using garden soil, especially sand soil.
As you have noted, cacti grow best in the sun, meaning the temperatures are high. So if you are planting cactus indoors, ensure temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them out of the cold.
Pruning is the practice of removing extra leaves from the plant. For cactus, it doesn’t require pruning when it is growing because the leaves are not many. However, you can prune dead or damaged leaves to avoid spreading to other parts of the plant. Also, people prune the plant to remove new pups for propagation.
When you are pruning, ensure that you use a sharp pruning knife or garden shear to make a clean cut.
Kill pests and diseases.
These are common for many plants. Cactus can survive indoors, but pests and diseases can reduce those chances if you don’t take care of it in its early stages.
Most diseases are a result of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These include diseases such as leaf spot, Anthracnose, armillaria root rot, botrytis blight, and fusarium wilt. Once your plant has been affected, it can be hard to treat them.
So, can cactus survive indoors with pests? Yes. It can survive, but you must check the roots and other parts of the plant every 2 to 3 months to ensure they are healthy.
Things to do to prevent cactus from pests and diseases
- Conduct a routine check on the plant to remove any dead material, including dead roots.
- Treat pests and diseases at an early stage with alcohol. Alcohol can kill pests and diseases, but when doing this, ensure that the plant is away from the sun for 3 to 5 days. Alcohol with the sun can burn cacti plants.
- Change the potting with fresh soil when there is a disease within the garden. Also, disinfect the pot to avoid reinfection.
- Don’t give the plant too much water.
If you are good at caring for plants, your cactus can survive indoors. Even the smallest of changes in a plant can affect its growth. If you are new to gardening and doubting yourself, use this guide to ensure you grow a healthy cactus plant.