7 tips to make cacti and succulents grow faster

Cacti and succulents are fairly slow growing and can take years to show significant growth. But if you want your cacti and succulents to grow faster, in this article you’ll find tips to make your cacti and succulents grow faster and general care tips to keep them thriving.


1. Let them sleep in winter

Not allowing cacti and succulents to go into winter dormancy will result in thinning, elongated growth, and weakening.

If you have your cactus at home and the winters are cold, you should let it sleep during this season, which means much less watering and no fertilizing at all.

This will prevent uneven growth and nutrient depletion. Winter dormancy will also help them form flower buds (if they are blooming or just starting to bloom).

In order for your cacti and succulents to have a period of inactivity, you must mimic the period of lack of sun.

When outside temperatures begin to drop, gradually reduce watering. However, the most important thing is not to completely stop watering. Although some owners advise against watering in the winter, they do need a little water to stay healthy.

Light watering between once a month and every 5-6 weeks during the dormant period may be sufficient (check the soil first).

2. Provide enough sunlight during the growth period

For your cacti to grow, you will need to provide them with enough sunlight to grow in the summer. This is so as long as you have warm, hot summers and cool/cold winters.

Most cacti and succulents, especially desert ones, need lots of bright light. Tropical cacti prefer bright, indirect light. Both types need a lot of bright and especially indirect light.

In summer, you can arrange your cacti on the windowsill, on the balcony or even outside.

However, the midday heat can burn them. Outside there is usually nothing going on, but behind glass the temperatures can have a scorching effect.

Also, don’t leave them in direct sunlight for more than two hours, especially if it’s very hot. However, this will vary by species.

Another important thing to remember is that cacti and succulents in their natural habitats are used to constant heat and sun, but at home they are not. Especially after the winter dormancy, you should gradually introduce them to the sun, to avoid burns which can even kill the cacti.

If you mist your cacti and succulents, do it very early in the morning, before the sun rises or after it has set. In very hot weather, do not spray them as the water will act as a lens and may cause burns.

To sum up this point, they need lots of light (sometimes shady) to grow. Don’t put your cacti and succulents on a shelf or in a dimly lit bathroom (unless they tolerate low light). This way they won’t slowly grow and die.

3. Allow adequate air exchange

Cacti and succulents love good air exchange and cannot thrive without it. They hate high humidity and stagnant air and will die slowly if they live in these conditions.

That said, avoid drafts and place cacti under air conditioning as they hate wild temperature swings. Do not put them next to radiators in winter; put them in a cool place.

Be sure to place them in a bright place, such as the balcony, windowsill, or even outdoors. Avoid placing cacti in closed terrariums, as they cannot survive high humidity.

In summer, you can even leave them outside if possible. However, if the temperatures where you live are very low during summer nights (less than 55F or 13 Celsius), never water your plants at night. In that case, take them inside.

If nighttime temperatures are low and then very high, water in the morning to mimic morning dew. Summer daytime temperatures of 27 to 30 degrees Celsius are ideal for most cacti and succulents.

4. Avoid transplanting or separating flowering offspring

If you don’t want to hinder the growth of your cacti and succulents and prevent them from flowering, do not repot them during flowering. If you transplant in bloom, its flowers will fall off or stop blooming altogether.

Also, you should not separate the flowering pups, as this will interfere with the normal growth process of the plant. Transplanting and separating the pups from a growing and flowering cactus will disrupt its growth.

The best time to repot your cactus or succulent is just before the start of the growing season, when dormancy is over.

5. Use soft water to irrigate

You should always try to water your cacti with soft water. Soft water has a lower mineral content, to which cacti are very sensitive. These minerals accumulate in the ground and reach very high levels. This interferes with cactus growth and even causes root death.

The best type of water for watering cacti and succulents is rainwater, distilled water, bottled water, and reverse osmosis water. You can also check the purity of the water using a TDS meter, and you should aim for a maximum of 150 ppm for cacti.

If your only option is tap water, be sure to leave it in an open dish for 1-2 hours before watering. Also, you will need to repot your cacti and succulents often if you use hard water, otherwise their growth will be stunted.

If you’re using tap water, repot your cacti every 1-1.5 years or so, instead of every 2-3 years if you’re using soft water.

6. Fertilize cacti and succulents

You can pay to help them bloom and grow faster. However, you must be careful with fertilization and not feed dormant plants. Fertilize only during the growing season.

Slow-release fertilizer is the best type for cacti and succulents. He will feed them longer, sometimes up to 4-6 months.

Bone meal or eggshells added to the bottom of the container will act as a fertilizer. It will slowly release nutrients without impacting cacti and will mimic natural fertilization in their natural environment.

Another option is to use liquid fertilizer, which is dissolved in water and used when watering cacti. Choose a fertilizer with less nitrogen and more potassium. During the summer growing season, mix with water and use as directed. To look at: How to Make Compost and Liquid Organic Fertilizers

7. Transplant once in a while

Repotting cacti and succulents from time to time is very important to promote healthy growth and keep your plant alive. This is not only beneficial, but also necessary.

Old soil collects excess minerals from water, as well as unused fertilizers. Also, over time, they need more space for their roots.

How often you need to repot will depend on the water you use and whether it has overgrown its current container.

You will need to take the plant out of the pot and take a look at the roots (they might stick out too). If you use tap water for irrigation, replant them every 12-18 months and the rest every 2-3 years or so.

When you repot your cacti, you give them a fresh start to grow better. When transplanting, pay attention to the roots. All you need to do is transplant into dry soil and wait 7-10 days before watering after transplanting. This will allow the roots to heal before taking on water, thus preventing infection.

Keep them out of the sun right after transplanting until you water them again.

A comfortable container for your cactus should have a few inches on each side and some extra depth, but nothing too big.

It may also be interesting to read: 7 famous myths about growing succulents

Place the plant at the same height, to allow new space to be used for root growth.

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