Common Mistakes When Caring For Cacti

Discover the most common mistakes you may be making when it comes to caring for cacti. Although this is a resilient plant, resilience isn't synonymous with immortality.
Common Mistakes When Caring For Cacti

Last update: 11 February, 2023

Caring for cacti is considered fairly simple, which is why cactus owners can become complacent. Plant lovers are prone to making common mistakes that jeopardize the health of their cacti, without even realizing it. The good thing is that being such a resilient plant, a cactus will forgive you. This plant will give you several opportunities to correct any wrongdoing. 

However, pinpointing what you’re doing wrong, is a different matter. This article will help you to do just that. Our tips and tricks serve as a first-aid guide, enabling you to identify what’s working and more importantly, what isn’t. Keep reading and follow our tips, because ultimately, it could help you to save its life.

The bugs that may be killing your cacti

Cacti belong to the succulent family, and it’s their ability to store water in their structures that make them resilient. However, we should remember that resilience isn’t synonymous with immortality. As such, you must provide a good standard of basic care to guarantee their well-being.

Next, we’re going to list a series of mistakes that you may be making when caring for your cacti. Take note so you can stop making these mistakes and, start enjoying healthy and flourishing plants.

1. Overwatering

Excess risk is one of the most common mistakes made when taking care of your cacti.
Excess watering is one of the most common mistakes you can make when caring for your cacti. 

As we mentioned, cacti store water in their structure, and this allows them to survive in desert and drought environments. As such, the main mistake you may make when caring for your cacti at home is to overwater them. This is often done without clarity and when we’re unsure how much water they actually need.

When the plant is flooded, its roots and internal structures begin to rot. If this problem isn’t fixed, the plant will die. So how often should you water your cactus? To find out, touch the substrate, if you notice it’s dry, it’s time to water the plant. Depending on the weather, you may need to water your plant every eight to fifteen days.

Another thing that you should consider is humidity, as this is closely related to irrigation. There are a number of plants that like to have water sprayed on their leaves, but the cactus isn’t one of them!

2. Lack of light

Life in the wild for a cactus exposes it to direct sunlight and intense heat. When we consider this, we can see that another of the most common mistakes when caring for cacti is leaving them in poorly lit areas. You’ll know that you’re making this mistake if your cactus is turning yellow and growing in an elongated shape.

Also, if you’re overwatering it, then your plant will likely die, especially if it’s kept in the shade. If you notice any of the signs that we’ve mentioned, move your cactus to a place where it can enjoy some natural sunlight.

3. Caring for your cacti: plastic pots

Plastic pots are very common and with a range of beautiful designs, it’s tempting to grow cacti in them. However, these pots aren’t best suited to cacti. This is because this type of container easily retains water, causing the plant to become flooded.

Although if you buy a cactus, it usually comes in a plastic pot, but it’s better to transfer it into a terracotta pot. This type of pot allows the water to evaporate quickly, so any excess water will quickly drain away. In either case, your pot must have good drainage and this is achieved by the holes in the base. The drainage holes must be small, but sufficient.

4. Going to the extreme and not caring for your cacti

One of the main mistakes we may make when caring for these types of plants is to forget about them. Plant lovers often become complacent, especially when it comes to cacti as they’re so resilient, we often think they can cope with anything. Water is essential to sustain life and the fact that cacti only require moderate amounts doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Analyze your plants and keep a record of when you watered them and how much you gave them. By doing this, you can establish an effective routine according to your schedule, and for your plant.

Add any fertilizer to your records, which must be specific to your type of cactus. You can easily get this in a nursery or specialized store. Above all, remember that, although your cacti are resilient, they also need some basic care and love to flourish.

5. Don’t transplant them without proper care or do this out of season

Repotting for the winter is a common cacti care mistake that you should avoid.
Repotting cacti during the winter is a common mistake that you should avoid.

You’ll notice that the roots of the cacti aren’t very thick and they don’t require a lot of space. But they are delicate and as such, they deserve your care. When it comes to repotting or transplanting your cactus, you must consider its roots.

Equally, don’t forget that this type of plant shouldn’t be repotted or transplanted at any time. Ideally, you should only do this during spring or summer and only when the substrate is dry. Taken together, these precautions will avoid stressing the plant and will facilitate its adaptation to the new pot or space in which it’ll grow.

Caring for your cacti and rectifying these mistakes

As you’ve seen, these mistakes are quite common but are easily rectified. Dont let this put you off! If you’re thinking of having a cactus but are concerned about its care, take a risk! Follow this guide and you’ll have a house full of beautiful cacti in no time.

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