Cactus Plant

About

A cactus plant is an excellent, easy care, indoor or outdoor plant that adapted to very hot, dry, desert areas. Most cacti are succulent plants which means they store water so they can withstand long periods of drought. The leaves of a cactus plant became spines, so it is only the thick, fleshy, stems of the plant store the water. A cactus plant has a waxy skin that also helps the plant retain water.  Cacti plants are photosynthetic which means they use sunshine to convert water and carbon dioxide into food. The spines of the plant protect it from birds and other animals and help keep the plant cool by preventing water from escaping. These spines grow out of areoles which are like the leaf nodes found on other plants

Cactus Plant Description

There are about 2000 varieties of cacti, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. About 50% of indoor cactus plants will  bloom is properly cared for. Many produce large, beautiful flowers that can be yellow, white, orange, pink, red, and even blue. Some get flowers that bloom only at night and last just one day while others have flowers that last for weeks. Indoors, a potted cactus plant needs to be three or four years old before it blooms, and flowers only develop on new growth. Keeping a cactus plant slightly rootbound helps it to flower.

   

Cactus Plant Problems

The base of the cactus becomes soft and mushy when the soil is too wet; this usually occurs in the winter. Although the plant cannot be saved, you can use the healthy upper part for propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at https://www.houseplant411.com/glossary.

Little or no new growth occurs when you don’t give the plant enough water during the warm summer months and give the plant too much water in the cold winter months.

Small, brown, hard, shells on the plant means it has a plant pest called scaleSoft Brown Scale plant pests are  the most common scale that attack indoor houseplants, especially ficus tress, various ivy varieties, spider plants, ferns, aralia, and schefflera. The scale plant pests appear as small, bumpy, brown spots that may appear to move. As the scale plant pest sucks on the sap of the plant, it secretes a sticky substance called "honeydew." The honeydew attracts black mildew. Because of the shell-like exterior, sprays are only partially effective against scale. Wipe off the lines of brown oval bumps with your finger, a cloth, or a child’s toothbrush then spray the plant with Neem Oil or a houseplant insecticide. You can use the non-toxic, easily made Green Solution to clean off the black mildew.. Read how to identify and treat scaleSoft Brown Scale plant pests are  the most common scale that attack indoor houseplants, especially ficus tress, various ivy varieties, spider plants, ferns, aralia, and schefflera. The scale plant pests appear as small, bumpy, brown spots that may appear to move. As the scale plant pest sucks on the sap of the plant, it secretes a sticky substance called "honeydew." The honeydew attracts black mildew. Because of the shell-like exterior, sprays are only partially effective against scale. Wipe off the lines of brown oval bumps with your finger, a cloth, or a child’s toothbrush then spray the plant with Neem Oil or a houseplant insecticide. You can use the non-toxic, easily made Green Solution to clean off the black mildew. in the Glossary of the website.

White, cottony, sticky residue on the leaves is a sign Mealy BugsLearn how to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky, white, cottony residue on houseplants..  Read how to identify and treat Mealy BugsLearn how to identify and treat Mealy Bugs, a houseplant pest that leaves sticky, white, cottony residue on houseplants. in the Glossary of the website.

Tips of the stems become soft and shriveled when the plant is over watered.

Quick Care Tips

Average household warmth in the spring, summer, and fall, 10°-20° cooler in winter

Provide good air circulation but do not mist

Place a cactus plant in the sunniest spot in your house

Over watering, especially in winter, is the main reason a cactus plant dies

When repotting, use the next size pot and nothing larger; this helps the soil dry out quickly and prevents root rot.

Conclusion

The spines on a Cactus plant (plural cacticactuses) are sharp and dangerous. Though not poisonous, a painful puncture wound from a cactus plant can get infected and cause serious problems for quite some time. Kept cactus plants out of the reach of children, dogs, cats, and other pets. You can read more about common outdoor and indoor plants that can be dangerous in my book Don’t Feed me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.

FAQ

I Love My Cactus Plant , but Every One I Buy Gets Brown and Mushy at the Base and Dies.

The reason you cactus plant dies, is because you are over watering. A cactus plant is a great indoor plant only if you are careful not to give it too much water! The soil of a cactus plant must be allowed to dry out before you water. In cool weather, a cactus plant can survive on a tablespoon of water per month.

Can I Move My Indoor Cactus Plant Outside in the Summer?

Your cactus plant will love to go outside in warm weather. Be careful to introduce your cactus plant to direct sunlight very gradually or it will get an ugly sunburn. Bring your cactus plant inside before temperatures go below 55°F (12.8°C)

How Can I Propagate a New Cactus Plant From My Old Cactus Plant?

Propagating a cactus plant is quite simple. Break off a small piece from an area on the original cactus plant that’s not easily visible. Dip the cut end of the piece you removed into a small amount of Rooting Hormone. Plant the cactus plant cutting in a small pot of porous, fast-draining soil. A cactus plant is a very slow growing plant so it may take quite some time before you have a substantial new plant.

I’m Afraid I’m Going to Over-water My Cactus Plant. Is There Any Way to Tell When a Cactus Plant Needs Water?

There are several ways to tell if a cactus plant needs water. When the soil in the pot is wet it holds together, when it’s dry it becomes powdery and falls apart. You can try sticking your finger into the cactus plant pot as far down as you can to test for moisture. You can also stick your finger into the drip holes on the bottom of the pot to check for the moisture around your cactus plant. The easiest way is to simply look at your cactus plant. If the cactus plant has become soft, supple, or even a little shriveled; it is definitely time to water.

My Cactus Plant Never Blooms. Is There Anything I Can Do?

A cactus plant, like a gardenia plant, needs temperature fluctuations in order to produce flowers; for a cactus plant, there should be at least a 20°-25° difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Feed a cactus plant with a fertilizer low in nitrogen (since it encourages green growth) and high in potassium (since it encourages flowering). Putting a cactus plant outside in the summer encourages the plant to flower, but be careful to avoid direct sun.