How to Plant, Grow, And Maintain Indoor Cactus

How to Plant, Grow, And Maintain Indoor Cactus

One of the most unique plant genera in the world.  Hundreds of unique shapes, designs, and wide-ranging colors. Cacti are incredibly easy to grow and maintain.  Used for generations for food, photosynthesis, and to support life and the healthy habitat of Desert area.  Whether you like spiny prickly plants or beautiful green shoots with brilliant flowers, there is probably a perfect Cactus for you.

2 Major Types Of Indoor Cactus

Desert Cacti - Desert Cacti are probably the most resilient house plants possible.  They often produce beautiful flowers after 2-3 years of potting given the right conditions.  Best practices are as follows:

  • Water frequently in the spring and summer.  Anytime you find the soil or compost to be dry, thoroughly water.  This time period is best for growth.  Back off watering in the winter until the soil is very dry.  Normally once every few weeks is adequate.  
  • The Desert Cactus love light.  In its natural environment, it would be absorbing desert sun for almost the entire day.  Keep near windows and direct sunlight as much as possible.  Keep an eye on baby shoots and give breaks if there is any scorching.  
  • Temperatures in the Spring, Summer, and Fall should be between 72 and 85 degrees.  Remember, the plants will be in direct sunlight so even if your home is not that warm, the sunlit areas will give a boost of temperature.   Winter temperatures can be as low as the 50 to 60 degrees if desired.  
  • Fertilize with a good cactus fertilizer.  It's always a best practice with plants to use the fertilizer best suited rather than a general fertilizer.  Additionally, the spring growing season is the best time to fertilize and encourage new growth.

    Forest Cacti -  Preferring a more damp environment the Forest Cactus is often found in hot tropical regions of the world.   These attractive plants often have the most blooms of the cacti family and in many cases are known for climbing leaves and vines.  Heres some tips on the Forest Cacti:

    • Great plants for your outdoor space in the summer and warmer months. They will thrive in 55-75 degrees.  In the winter a cooler environment will due.  50-60 degrees is optimal.  It is best to keep indoors over the cooler months.
    • Like the Desert Cacti, this variety should be watered thoroughly in the spring and summer months (especially young plants) and should be very infrequently watered in the winter.  Allow soil and plant to completely dry out in cooler months before watering.
    • High light areas are good for this plant, however direct sunlight can be a problem.  Place plants in a well-lit room with natural light but avoid more than 4-5 hours of direct sunlight.
    • Fertilize in the spring and summer with proper cacti fertilizer.  Similar to the Desert Cactus.  

       What Is Needed To Grow And Maintain Healthy Cactus Plants

      • Plant Pots - There are endless options of pots, terrariums, and containers for planting cactus.   The most important thing when selecting one is to be sure it can be set up with adequate drainage.   Good drainage can be a planter with holes in the bottom and a plate or tray for draining water.  Often times the pot that looks best for a decor theme does not have drainage holes.  That is totally fine.  Using some small rocks, pebbles, or clay pieces at the bottom as a substrate provides the perfect drainage for the plant.  Drainage is critical as Cacti are very susceptible to "root rot" if the roots become submerged in excess water.  In regards to the size of the pot; No need to oversize as cactus plants do not grow fast and are fairly easy to re-pot.  
      • Substrate - Substrate is what is used for drainage in plant pots.  Its the base layer of material that allows water to pass through when necessary.  Most commonly used are small pebbles or round pieces of clay.  About 1/4 of your planting material should be a substrate layer.  
      • Soil - A good organic potting mix combined with pumice, perlite, grit, sand or pebbles is best for cacti.  Cactus differ from most house plants and prefer some air flow through the soil.  We recommend mixing 2/3 soil and 1/3 pebbles, sand, grit, and/or clay. 
      • Fertilizer - This is pretty important.  Cactus plants can grow beautiful healthy flowers and vibrant green leafy stems and leaves if properly fertilized.  Look for a good organic mix that is specifically meant for cacti.  Look for fertilizers high in nitrogen and phosphorus.  Generally, you should use the fertilizer in the spring, summer, and fall.  A slow release fertilizer will optimize plant growth and health.
      • Watering Container - While a container specific to watering is not mandatory, having one set out in eyesight sure is a great reminder to water your cactus plants.  Something decorative that matches your decor theme is a great option.

        Ready to start growing some cacti?  We have put together a great list of resources and products to help send you in the right direction.  Below you will find great guides to many types of cactus, as well as pots and containers, and the very best substrates, soils, and fertilizers.   


        14 Popular Cacti For Indoor Growth - There are hundreds of great cacti you can plant indoors.  This Blog has great detail on 14 awesome plants that are very different:

        14 Types Of Cactus

        The Best Fertilizer For Both Cacti Variations -  We love all of the Shultz products.  Their fertilizer is super easy to use and has great amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous.  Both critical to healthy cactus: 

        Check it out here

        The Absolute Best Planting Soil For Cactus - This mix provides excellent drainage and water retention.  It is specifically made for cactus plants and succulents. It is a mixture of sifted hard Japanese akadama, USA pumice, New Zealand pine bark, and haydite

        The Best Cactus Soil

        Our Most Popular Planters For Cactus

        For Smaller plants.  Perfect for a desktop, counter, or tabletop.  Includes a handy bamboo tray for excess drainage. 

        Elevated Desktop Or Tabletop Pot With Bamboo Base 


        Perfect for larger cactus and a dramatic look.  An excellent option for cactus plants that will spend some time outdoors.  Handmade, durable, and available in several sizes. 

        Large Handcrafted Black Concrete Planter

        Don't Forget A Watering Can - Simple and classic stainless steel design.  Long thin spout for getting into tight spaces.  

        Stainless Steel Watering Can

        That sums it all up.  You are ready to add healthy and beautiful cactus plants to your living space.  Let us know if you have any feedback, tips or thoughts below.  Thanks!

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