67 BEST Tips How Often Do You Water Cactus Plants (Facts)

David R Grant Feb 06, 2023
8 People Read
Cool little cactus very prickly against a red wall background

My beloved mother-in-law overwatered my cacti to death (true story).

Leaving my beloved cactus collection in the hands of my mother-in-law was a classic case of "good intentions gone wrong".

My mother-in-law's love for her son ran so deep that she thought it best to water my prized cactus collection a little TOO much.

Though her love for me welled up, it didn't stop every single one from succumbing to root rot.

I was left with mushy, rotten roots and an overwatered plant carnage - but luckily not without consolation from the nice woman as we shared in tears over the scene of destruction!

What really cactus plants are and how do they differ from other plants?

(1/67) Cactus plants are a type of succulent plant that, unlike most other plants, are able to thrive in extremely dry, hot climates.

This is due to the fact that cacti possess several features that enable them to store and conserve water better than other plants.

(2/67) Cacti store water in their bodies while they have feature enabling them to efficiently gather moisture.

For example, they have very small and deep roots that help retain moisture even in low overall humidity levels, as well as thick and fleshy stems which act as water reservoirs.

A huge cactus outside the apartment, similarly in the desert, huge against the sky

(3/67) Additionally, their leaves are reduced to spines which helps reduce evaporation of water from the surface of the plant.

Furthermore, cacti usually have an extensive network of shallow roots – much larger than those of other plants – which allow them to absorb more moisture from a larger area despite generally low soil moisture level.

(4/67) In addition, many modern varieties of cacti have been bred for their ability to survive in even drier conditions by having larger spines and a thicker outer coating which further reduces evaporation.

Ultimately all these adaptations allow cacti to survive with little watering or no water at all in some cases.

As a result, how often you water your cactus will depend largely on how dry your climate is and how tolerant your specific variety of cactus is too extreme dryness and heat.

The different types of cactus plants.

(5/67) Cacti come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, making them an interesting addition to any garden or home.

From the iconic Saguaro cactus which can reach heights of 40-50 feet tall, to the small and perfectly round Barrel cactus which rarely exceeds two feet in diameter, there is something for everyone.

(6/67) The diversity among cacti species continues with their color, spines, and blooms.

For example, many varieties of the Prickly Pear Cactus boast bright yellow flowers while some species of the Cholla Cactus can have deep purple hues in their leaves.

Moreover, certain varieties such as the Golden Barrel have smooth, golden-colored spines while other like the Claret-cup bear dark red bristles that often cover most of its stems.

(7/67) Furthermore, many cacti boast beautiful blooms that can vary widely in color and size.

Some are small and white while others are large and vibrant in shades ranging from yellow to orange to red or even purple.

These amazing flowers usually appear during springtime or summer months (warmer months) when daylight is more abundant and temperatures tend to be warmer;

however, some species also bloom during late fall (in areas with milder climates).

Opuntia cactus that blooms

(8/67) Finally, it’s important to note that many cacti are native only to certain regions around the world.

For example, the Saguaro cactus is native only to Arizona and parts of northern Mexico

while Mammillaria from Mexico is widely popular among collectors due its unique shape and pinkish-yellow blooms.

Ultimately these characteristics make cactus plants an incredibly diverse group of succulents with something for everyone!

Most beautiful wild desert cacti - desert plants.

(9/67) The desert is home to a wide variety of cacti, each with its own unique look and characteristics.

The most beautiful wild desert cacti tend to be those that prefer full sun and dry conditions, such as the Saguaro, Barrel, and Prickly Pear cactus.

The Saguaro is an iconic drought-tolerant species from the deserts of the American Southwest and northern Mexico.

These super drought-tolerant plants can reach heights of up to 50 feet tall, boasting white flowers in springtime and yellow fruits in summer.

(10/67) The Barrel Cactus is another iconic species found in arid climates all over the world.

Its perfectly round shape makes it one of the most recognizable desert cactus plants. It produces bright yellow blooms at night during the flowering season and its spines are usually smooth and golden in color.

(11/67) Lastly, there’s the Prickly Pear Cactus which is actually made up of several different species native to various parts of North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

It can grow anywhere from one to six feet tall depending on its variety and produces beautiful yellow flowers during springtime or summer months which are in northern hemisphere warmer months.

Beautiful beautifully blooming cactus in the desert

(12/67) Overall these three species are some of the most visually stunning wild desert cacti available today!

They offer both a colorful display when they bloom as well as interesting shapes that can add texture to any garden or patio setting.

While they do require full sun exposure and dry conditions to thrive properly, with proper care these beautiful plants will make for an enjoyable addition to any landscape!

Most beautiful indoor cacti - indoor plants.

(13/67) The most beautiful indoor cactus plants tend to be those that are adapted to survive in more humid and shaded environments, such as the Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, or Moon Cactus.

The Christmas Cactus is a well-known species from the forests of Brazil which produces stunning pinkish-red blooms during wintertime.

It prefers warm temperatures and indirect sunlight, making it ideal for growing indoors.

(14/67) The Easter Cactus is another popular species that is native to the mountains of Brazil.

This an interesting cacti due to its unique flower shape which resembles little birds dotted along its stems.

Its flowers can range from white and pink shades up to deep reds and purples depending on the variety.

(15/67) Finally there’s the Moon Cactus, a hybrid species created by grafting two different types of cacti together into one plant.

One part of this hybrid remains green throughout whole growing season while the other side blooms in bright yellow or orange hues during springtime months when temperatures are warm enough for flowering.

Blooming cactus on the desk near the computer in the apartment

(16/67) All three of these beautiful cacti make excellent house plants due to their tolerance of low light environments and ability to thrive indoors with proper care.

They also offer a colorful display while they're in bloom; making them perfect additions for any home!

With proper watering and fertilizing regimens, these indoor plants will bring life into your home for many years to come.

How often do you water cactus plants?

(17/67) Watering cactus plants is a critical aspect of their care.

Generally, they should be watered once every two weeks in the summer months

and once every three weeks in the winter.

(18/67) When watering, it is important to ensure that your pour water in such a way that the soil is completely saturated with water; otherwise, the plant may not receive enough water and moisture.

(19/67) Additionally, it is best to use lukewarm water or room temperature water when watering to avoid ‘shocking’ the roots with cold liquid.

(20/67) Most cacti prefer to have their soil remain slightly damp between waterings rather than being overly wet or dry.

To check how moist the soil is during this period, you can not look at top of the soil but simply stick your finger 1-2 inches into the soil and if it feels slightly damp then it means that it still has enough moisture for your cacti.

If it feels too dry, then you should water again immediately!

(21/67) It is also important to remember that different types of cacti require different amounts of water and some may even need higher watering frequency than others.

For example, many epiphytic cacti require a more frequent watering schedule due to how quickly their wet soil can dry out in comparison to other species.

(22/67) Any newly planted cactus will need more consistent and thorough watering until its roots become established in its new environment and are able to take up more moisture from its surroundings independently.

(23/67) Ultimately, how often you should water your cactus plants depends on several factors such as

  • the type of cactus, how much light they’re exposed to (direct sun exposure will require more frequent watering),

  • how moist/dry their soil remains naturally between each watering cycle,

  • and how established their roots are in their environment;

however regardless of which type of cacti you have, always make sure that you provide them with enough moisture so they can stay healthy and continue growing!

Beautifully blooming cactus on orange

How to properly water cactus plants?

(24/67) Cactus plants can be a beautiful and easy-care addition to any home, but it’s important to know how often to water them.

Generally, cacti should not be watered frequently. Instead of frequent watering, consider giving your cactus a thorough deep soak - soaking every two or four weeks depending on the species.

(25/67) When planting a new cactus, wait until the wet soil has dried out before watering it for the first time.

A spray bottle is an effective way and easiest way to ensure that the soil is sufficiently moist without overwatering.

(26/67) Once established, cactus plants should be watered deeply but not too often. During winter months when the plant is dormant, watering can be reduced even further as compared to summer months when it is best time for them to actively grow.

(27/67) It's also important to use the right type of water for your cacti.

Tap water contains dissolved minerals which can build up in soil over time and lead to root rot and other problems with your plants.

(28/67) Using distilled or filtered water can help reduce mineral buildup and keep roots healthy and ensure healthy cactus plants.

(29/67) There are also certain species of succulents that prefer rainwater over tap or filtered water, so do your research before deciding on which kind of water is best option for your plant's needs.

(30/67) Finally, it's essential to create a watering schedule for your cactus plants as each species requires different amounts of water at different points in time of year.

Knowing when and how much water your plant needs will help you keep it healthy and happy for long.

Beautifully looking geometric cactus with red and green color

When to water cactus plants?

(31/67) When it comes to watering cactus plants, the best way to decide when and how much water to give is by paying attention to your cactus's environment. For example, cacti that are exposed to full sun or higher temperatures during summer months may need more frequent watering than those kept in cooler or shadier spots.

(32/67) During winter months when the plant is dormant, it will require less frequent deep waterings or less water as compared to summer months when they are actively growing.

(33/67) When determining a watering schedule for your cacti, consider factors such as the type of cactus and right soil composition you have. Different types of plants will have different needs.

It is also important to take into account the amount of light the plant receives (direct sun exposure will require more frequent watering), as well as how moist/dry their soil remains naturally between each cycle.

(34/67) Creating a consistent routine for your cactus plants is essential; not only does this make sure that they receive enough moisture but it also helps them become established in their environment so they can take up more moisture from their surroundings independently.

(35/67) Additionally, if you notice any signs of over-watering such as yellowing leaves or root rot then be sure to adjust your routine accordingly; too much water can lead to long-term damage for any plant!

How much water to give cactus plants?

(36/67) When it comes to giving cactus plants the right amount of water, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Generally speaking,acti should not be watered too frequently, and instead of regular watering, it's best option to give them a thorough soaking every two or four weeks depending on the species.

Beautiful cacti on an island against the backdrop of the ocean

(37/67) However, when planting a new cactus it is important to wait until the soil has dried out before watering for the first time. The type of water used also plays an important role; tap water contains dissolved minerals that can build up in soil over time and lead to root rot, so it’s best option to use distilled or filtered water for your plant.

(38/67) It's also important to consider environmental factors such as direct sunlight and high temperatures when determining how much water your cactus needs. If your plant is getting full sun exposure or is in an area that gets high temperatures then you may need to water more frequently than those kept in shadier spots or cooler climates.

(39/67) Additionally, if you notice any signs that your cactus has been overwatered such as yellowing leaves or root rot then be sure to adjust your routine accordingly as too much water can be damaging for any plant.

(40/67) When it comes down to it, the best way to determine how often and how much you should water cactus plants is by paying attention to their environment and adjusting your watering schedule accordingly.

Different types of cactus and their watering needs.

(41/67) Different types of cactus and their watering needs are dependent upon the individual species. For example, some species need a lot of water while others need very little water.

For instance, certain epiphytic cacti require more frequent watering due to their naturally dry soil composition and can benefit from long-time waterings every two or four weeks in order to become established in their environment.

Beautiful prickly cacti on the background of a bay with yachts

(42/67) On the other hand, desert-adapted species may require less frequent deep waterings or less water and do best with short, infrequent doses of water.For cacti kept indoors it is important to choose the right size pot for your plant; large pot will hold more soil and provide a larger area for roots to spread out so that they can absorb enough moisture more easily.

(43/67) Additionally, outdoor cacti should be planted in well-draining right soil which helps prevent root rot caused by overwatering. When determining how much water your cactus needs make sure you take into account factors such as direct sun exposure, temperature fluctuations and native climate conditions as these all affect how quickly water evaporates from the soil.

In general, it is better to err on the side of caution when it comes to watering; too little water can cause wilting or discoloration whereas overwatering can lead to root rot and other damage over time.

Researching your specific type of cactus is key; understanding what kind of environment they thrive in and tailoring your watering schedule accordingly will ensure that your plant gets enough moisture without being damaged by excess.

By paying attention to these details you can ensure that your plant stays healthy and vibrant for long years!

What are signs of an underwatered cactus?

(44/67) Underwatering a cactus can have various signs, depending on the severity.

The first sign is usually a wilting or wrinkling of the plant's leaves and stems due to the lack of moisture in its potting medium.

This is followed by discoloration of the leaves, as well as yellowing, brown spots or curling up at the edges.

(45/67) Additionally, underwatered cacti tend to be limp and soft in comparison to their turgid counterparts. If a plant continues to go without water for too long, it may start to shrivel up as well.

House cactus blooming purple

It is also important to note that with some species, such as epiphytic varieties, roots may become exposed due to an insufficient soil moisture level; this can be a cause for concern since these plants require moist conditions for survival.

Therefore, if you notice any of these signs it is important to adjust your watering routine accordingly in order to ensure that your cactus receives enough moisture for optimal growth.

Troubleshooting common problems with watering cactus plants.

(46/67) Watering cacti is a tricky endeavor and there are several common problems that can arise if not done correctly.

The most important thing to remember when watering cacti is to avoid giving them too much water.

(47/67) Excess water can cause root rot, which can kill a cactus. Proper good drainage is essential to liquidate excess moisture and in effect for avoiding root rot, so it’s always important to make sure your cactus pot has drainage holes in the bottom for any extra water to escape.

(48/67) Additionally, good idea is to choose a large enough pot for your cactus; a pot that’s too small won't give the roots enough room or provide adequate drainage, while one that’s too big will retain too much moisture and also restrict oxygen exchange.

(49/67) When you do water succulents, it's wise to use tepid water so as not to shock the roots with cold liquid.

Water until it drips out of the bottom of the pot and then wait until the surface of the soil feels dry before you water again (this could be anywhere from 7-14 days).

(50/67) If you find yourself with an overwatered cactus, reduce watering significantly and don't allow the plant to remain in standing water - instead use a container with drainage holes.

Keep in mind that different cactus species of cacti require different amounts of moisture and enough light; some species may need more frequent watering than others.

(51/67) Finally, be sure to give your cactus much sunlight and fresh air so it can thrive in its environment!

Assorted small home cacti

How often do you water cactus plants - smaller cacti.

(52/67) Short answer - small cacti can often go for long time without water or with less water and will thrive in more arid environments. For these types of cacti, it is best to wait until the potting soil is completely dry before adding any water. Depending on the type of cactus, this could be anywhere from a few days to several weeks between watering sessions.

(53/67) It's important not to exceed the plant's threshold for water, as overwatering can lead to root rot or other problems. When watering a small cactus, be sure not to use too much water - just enough water to moisten the soil without flooding it.

(54/67) If you’re having trouble gauging how much moisture your cactus needs, try sticking your finger into the soil - if it’s damp two inches down then there’s no need to add more water yet.

Additionally, some species of small cactus plants cacti are more resistant to drought than others, so make sure you research your specific type before deciding how often to water it.

(55/67) Finally, consider investing in a moisture meter or similar device that can tell you when your plant needs watering. This way you can ensure that each of your plants gets just the right amount of moisture for optimal growth rate and health!

What is the best soil mix for cactus?

(56/67) The best soil mix for cacti depends on a variety of factors, including the type of cactus, the climate in which it is being grown, and the amount of sun and water it will receive. Generally speaking, cacti require soil that is light and well-draining with some organic material to give them extra nutrition.

Cactus soil should be loose enough to let oxygen reach the roots while still offering the necessary support.

(57/67) A good cactus soil mix should contain equal parts sand, perlite or pumice, and soil potting mix.

(58/67) Additionally, you may want to add small amounts of well-rotted manure or compost for extra nutrition as well as charcoal chips or other similar materials to improve drainage.

Tiny taken out of a pot with soil

When preparing your soil mix for planting, make sure to moisten it lightly before adding your cactus; this will help prevent root shock from occurring when you transplant your plant.

(59/67) Finally, try to find a pot that’s large enough so that you can add about an inch of gravel at the bottom for even more drainage. With this combination of sandy soils and organic matter, your cactus should be able to thrive in whatever environment you choose!

What are best pots for indoor cactus plants.

(60/67) The best pots for indoor cactus plants depend largely on the size and type of cactus you are growing. Size of your pot is crucial.

(61/67) For small, slow-growing varieties such as the Christmas cactus, a smaller pot is ideal — just try to make sure it has good drainage.

(62/67) Larger, fast-growing varieties such as barrel or columnar cacti will need bigger pots with multiple drainage holes so that their roots have room to spread out and take in nutrients.

(63/67) Clay pots are also great for these types of cacti because they are porous and allow water to evaporate at a slower rate than plastic containers.

(62/67) Terracotta pots are also great choices because they provide superior air circulation which is beneficial for the health of your plant’s root system.

(64/67) It’s important to note that when choosing a pot size, make sure it’s 2-3 inches larger than the diameter of your cactus’s current pot — this will give it plenty of room to grow!

(65/67) Additionally, consider adding gravel or stones at the bottom of your pot before planting - this will help with water drainage and soil aeration.

(66/67) With the right combination of pot size, material and drainage capacity, your cactus should thrive!

(67/67) Size of pot depends on size of cactus - put larger cacti in larger pots even if they are just young and such a small cactus seems to be comfortable in a small pot now because it will grow and replanting later may be harmful to it.

Interesting - Are there jungle cacti?

Yes, there are several varieties of cacti commonly known as jungle cacti.

These include the Epiphyllum, Hylocereus undatus, Schlumbergera bridgesii and Selenicereus megalanthus.

jungle cacti

The Epiphyllum or 'orchid' cactus is an epiphytic species that grows in the jungles of Central and South America.

It has long stems with dark green succulent leaves, which produce fragrant white flowers during bloom time.

The Hylocereus undatus, also called dragon fruit cactus or pitahaya, is native to Mexico and can be found growing in tropical forests throughout Central America.

It produces edible fruits with sweet pulp that can be eaten raw or used to make smoothies and other desserts.

Lastly, the Schlumbergera bridgesii and Selenicereus megalanthus are both vining types of jungle cacti that produce beautiful flowers in shades of yellow-orange to red on their flat segmented stems.

All these species grow best under humid conditions such as those found in a typical jungle climate - plenty of moisture but no direct sunlight!

Beautifully blooming purple cactus in the desert

Difficult to keep cacti without proper knowledge.

When it comes to how often you water your cactus, the type of cactus you own matters significantly.

While some varieties are incredibly resilient and can go for weeks or even months without being watered, others need more regular watering.

As a general rule of thumb, cacti from desert regions (e.g. saguaro, claret cup hedgehog, and hedgehog cactus) can survive with minimal water while...

...those from tropical climates (e.g. Christmas Cactus, moonlight cactus, and tiger jaws) should be watered more frequently.

Apart from how much water they need, different types of cacti come in a range of shapes and sizes depending on their native habitat and how tolerant they are to drought and heat.

For example, some species grow tall with curved stems and large flower buds like the Saguaro Cactus while others form a dense mat-like ground cover such as the Prickly Pear Cactus.

There are also shrubby species like the Barrel Cactus that resemble miniature trees with spines instead of leaves as well as trailing varieties such as the Dragon Fruit Cactus that hang down from planters or baskets.

Finally, there are also many hybridized varieties which have been bred for their colorful flowers or unique growth habits such as the Crown Of Thorns Cactus which is prized for its colorful bracts that bloom throughout spring and summertime.

No matter what specific type of cacti you choose to grow in your home or garden, it is important to understand how often they need to be watered in order to ensure they thrive in their environment while keeping pests away at bay.

Without proper knowledge of how much watering each specific variety requires it may be difficult to keep your plants healthy despite your best efforts.

Despite my mother-in-law's best intentions...

super blooming opuntia cactus

Despite my mother-in-law's best intentions, her love for her son resembled too much water to nurture my beloved cactus collection.

After finding the rotten roots and watching tears pour from her eyes - I had no choice but offer a bit of comfort so all wouldn't be lost in this horticultural disaster!


Prickly cacti, prickly life.

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