Cracking cactus care
Cactus are legends when it comes to holding their drinks. You’d think they’d be a natural occurring fauna from the Irish or Scottish lands given their reputation, but their name instantly conjures up images of dry, parched lands. This image of a plant thriving in such extreme conditions, deludes people into thinking that anyone can raise a cactus, be at the office or at home. Except, of course anyone can’t and there are two dead cacti in the office to testify to that very fact. Sure, cactus aren’t high maintenance but they aren’t zero maintenance either. There are things you have to do to make sure a cactus lives as long as it is supposed to.
First, you need to dispel the myths. You may think that cactus don’t need water because of how they survive in the desert and stuff but remember that there is a difference between surviving and thriving. During a cactus’ growing season, between spring and into fall, your plant needs to be watered at least once a week. Add a bit of fertiliser every now and then too and make sure the water soaks the soil thoroughly but doesn’t flood itself. Rainwater, devoid of alkaline, can be better than tap water so whenever possible collect rainwater for future use. As the weather cools and days become shorter, increase intervals between watering, unless your cactus grows in the winter. That’s a different story.
This brings up the point, that more important than watering your cactus is actually understand your cactus. Like any plant, different cacti have different requirements and in the near future, before you fall prey to Plants Rights Activists, its best to have a defence ready. So learn about your plant well. Depending on what kind of cactus you have, you will have to prepare the lightning accordingly. If your cactus is getting too much sunlight, it will soon wear a bleached outlook and if it gets too little, the shape will change with the plant stretching towards the light. Sometimes, when light and heat changes rapidly, your cactus may actually scorch permanently so one needs to be careful towards that end too.
The next things for consideration are potting, what kind of soil to use and how to avoid pests. But those are things for another day. Our main concern today was the light and water because that’s how our last two cacti died. If your cactus lives healthily past the first few months and the water and light don’t bother you, then it is time to think soil and things. Having a plant is like having a baby. Having a cactus plant is like having a nasty baby. Of course, both are generally the same thing so have fun and get busy. Nurturing is not for the lazy.