Our friends at Plant Shoppe helped us answer the questions we had about the care of our cacti and succulents, and gave us good tips to keep in mind:
1. Do succulents and cacti need a special pot?
No, they do not. Any type of pot will work, but it should have drainage. This allows for any excess water to pass through protecting the plant from overwatering. (Overwatering is the top reason for desert plants’ death).
Cacti and succulents are desert plants and like it dry. Potting them in clay or terracotta pots helps mimic that dry environment they prefer and absorbs any extra humidity that can potentially cause root rot.
We pot most of our desert plants in clay pots for functional and aesthetic reasons and highly recommend it.
2. What is the necessary amount of water they need?
As mentioned earlier, these guys like it dry. They prefer a good drink where you saturate their soil with water every 2 weeks in the summer and even less in the winter. Always make sure that top 2” of the soil is dry before you water them though.
TIP: A quick way to tell if your plant is thirsty- insert a wooden stick (we use a chopstick) into the soil and pull it out. If it comes out dry- it’s time to water. If it comes out with soil on it, the soil is moist and doesn’t need water. Water only when dry.
3. Should they be under sunlight all the time?
Most succulents and cacti need at least six hours of sunlight a day to thrive. This sunlight can be indirect, which means it is filtered through a window or another medium before it reaches your plants. So, having your plants on a windowsill where they bathe in sunlight every day is a great option. They don’t have to be outdoors to thrive.
4. What care should be taken in summer and winter?
Spring and summer are the growing seasons for plants. That’s when you should water them every other week or more, fertilize if needed and make sure they get plenty of sunshine. In the winter, you should reduce watering to once a month or even less depending on when they are thirsty.
5. What if we live in a city where autumn days are cloudy and winters with few hours of light?
In the autumn and winter seasons, there’s less light in the day, which means you should move your desert plants closer to north/south-facing windows to increase light levels. You can also add some grow lights to give them a good chance to survive if there’s not enough light coming into your house or apartment in the autumn/winter season.
6. Can we opt for some artificial light on those dates?
Yes! There are lots of amazing options on the market including LED grow lights with many different brightness settings perfect for cacti and succulents. Since we live in sunny Texas, we haven’t used any grow lights ourselves but many of our plant friends use them who live in cloudy winters.
Plant Shoppe is a modern plant pop-up shop that brings healthy and happy plants for your living space. You can find them every Sunday from 10am to 2pm at:
Alamo Heights Farmer’s Market
255 East Basse Road #130
San Antonio, TX 78209
You can follow them on their Instagram account here.
Photo credit: Plant Shoppe