Water cacti properly and make them bloom

Cacti are boring, thorny and a bit stale? Not at all. When the low-maintenance houseplants bloom, they unleash a very special magic. How to water them.

Most of the cacti available in our country come from warm, dry and sunny regions. In their natural environment the plants have to survive longer dry periods. For the plants belonging to the group of succulents this is no problem – they store water over a longer period of time.

Cacti need a rest period to bloom

Cacti are especially popular because they require relatively little care and because they often have an unusual shape. But they look extraordinary especially when they form flowers. Some species bloom only a few hours, some a few days and some only at night. What is a spectacular sight in the wild, also works on the home windowsill. For this cacti need a rest from October to March.

Succulents © Colourbox photo: bugning

Thorny flowering wonders: Cacti are so diverse

Water them little and put them in a cool place

Which form of rest is best for which cactus varies. For some genera (e.g. Melocactus, Gymnocalycium, Parodia) it is sufficient to extremely limit watering in the period from November to the beginning of March. The cacti then only get a few drops of water every three to four weeks. Fertilizing is not recommended in this phase. The plants should stand cool. The best place is a place with a lot of light directly on the cool window pane, there should not be a radiator under it.

Various small cacti in pots. © fotolia photo: Stefan Korber

For many other genera, it is advisable to bring the plants into a bright winter quarter with temperatures between 8 and 15 degrees Celsius. When moving, the substrate should already be dry so that the cacti do not rot. From March, slowly accustom the plants to water and higher temperatures by spraying them again. If the cactus still does not bloom, it may be due to age: Some species bloom already after two, others only after ten and more years.

Watering and caring for cacti properly

The biggest mistake in care is to provide cacti with too much water. They do not tolerate waterlogging at all. Nevertheless, the thorny plants can not do without water indefinitely. Watering is done – best with stagnant water or rainwater – when the substrate is dry. One possibility is to put the entire pot in a container with water, so that the substrate can soak up. Then drain well so that no rotting occurs.

During the growth and flowering phase, a special liquid cactus fertilizer is recommended. The substrate, preferably special soil for cacti, should be loose and replaced about every five years. Be careful when buying: some stores offer cacti with false flowers attached with hot glue. This harms the plant, a purchase is not recommended.

Various mini succulents photographed from above. © fotolia photo: evening_tao

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