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Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

Since my teens I have managed to kill an amazing number and variety of house plants.  When my seed sowing for the garden finished last year I decided to attempt to grow cacti, I mean really, how wrong can you go with them?

To date I have a number of baby cacti, which I have planted on as seen in photo, now, that they are growing I'm afraid these too will have an untimely demise.

Basically, can anyone advise me how often I need to water, feed themimageimage etc.


Oops.........don't know why one pic is upside down.


  • Only water them when the compost is completely dry, and not at all in Autumn and Winter. If in doubt, do nowt -  a few weeks without water will not harm them, but they dislike permanently damp soil.

    Use low strength, low Nitrogen fertiliser, such as quarter strength tomato feed or Chempak No. 8.

    Use John Innes No. 3 compost with lots of grit and/or sand.

    Your babies seem to be doing fine so far!

  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    Thanks Alan

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    They look great Mary. Cactus are wonderfully hardy house plants. 

    I have three on my bathroom windowsill; because I have a tendency to over water things I actually use a small syringe! (Unfortunately the forum won't let me upload a photo right now). Each cactus gets about two teaspoons of water every two weeks (every week if it is incredibly hot) from May - October. They seem to prefer too little than too much. If any water drains into the dish I throw it away.

    Enjoy them!

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    They do better in clay pots. Get some clay half pots or shallow pans. If you cannot get  terracotta half pans just use normal clay pots. Use JI no. 1 with added sharp sand or perlite - half to half. Pot them so that the neck is still above ground. Surround them with fine grit up to  the top of their necks. Put them somewhere sunny. Water about once a week in the summer, little if no water over winter. Do not keep them too warm in the winter ie. not anywhere near radiators. They prefer to be cold and dry rather than warm and dry. If you do keep them in the house over winter then do give them a little water every month. In the summer, if they are in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill then you can water them every week or so. Give them a good water - the soil is free draining enough for it to run through if you give them too much.  Do not feed them. They will not grow as well if you do and will get ungainly. 

    Do not put too many in the one pot as if your management is not good you will lose every plant in the pot. Better to spread them out a bit in the hope one potful or more survive!  5 to a pot is more than enough.

    In another 5 years or so, you may have plants to be proud of! When/if they ever get to the flowering stage then a very dilute tomato feed or phostogen every other month will do - or none. 

    Last edited: 05 June 2017 22:05:14

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003

    Thanks for the advice peeps, must search for small clay pots,  Hogweed, maybe in 5 years and they survive, I will then be able to identify them.   

  • soulboysoulboy Posts: 429

    I've been growing cacti for many years, I just love them. I had so many at one point that I had to sell and give away some. My advice is the same in some respects as other advice you've had here but different in others.

    The things that I do that are somewhat different to what's already been said is that I stop watering the plants completely from the beginning of October to the beginning of March, regardless of whether they are in heated rooms or not. However, most are next to windows and not close to radiators.

    When I resume watering in March I do so every two to 3 weeks and I give them a feed of half strength tomato or flower liquid plant feed once a month. Too much feeding can cause excessive and distorted growth, as Hogweed pointed out. I occasionally give them a half strength feed of liquid seaweed in place of other plant food, maybe twice a year.

    If it's particularly hot in the summer I will water once a week.

    I don't have all mine in clay pots, they will do fine in other pots as long as all the other conditions of soil, feeding etc are correct.

    There are some good forums and websites dedicated to cacti and succulents where you can get advice on care and ID's.This is one of them:

    With regards to flowering, different species of cacti require specific care and conditions for them to flower. For example, some cacti will only flower if they are kept in cold conditions during the winter. A good place for this is in an unheated room next to a window or an unheated greenhouse or cold frame.

    I've attached some pic's of mine in flower to show you the amazing beauty of cactus flowers that you will hopefully get in the future.







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