Decor : Indoor cacti – How to take care of them and decorate our home with them
If we really think about it, cacti are a bit strange plants. They don’t really look like a lush plant. However, that same austere and simple appearance makes it eye-catching. There are two large groups of cacti grown as houseplants, desert cacti and forest cacti. Both groups are popular and do very well indoors with relatively little maintenance. Of course, there are different types and sizes of cacti. But most indoor cacti are small to moderate.
Desert cacti, one could say that they are the most traditional cacti. They are usually covered in thorns or tiny hairs. As the name implies, forest cacti grow in wooded areas, ranging from temperate forests to tropical and subtropical regions. Among the best known forest cacti is the Christmas cactus. This one is native to Brazil, and blooms in red, pink, purple, and even yellow. It is worth mentioning that both desert and forest cacti grow very slowly. Although their growth habits are very different, but they both feature beautiful flowers.
How to care for indoor cacti
Desert cacti have a unique beauty, some of them having the most beautiful flowers. Growing desert cacti is not difficult at all. This type of cactus is among the hardiest of all indoor plants. You can certainly find dozens of types of desert cacti on the market. Some species will flower after three or four years of cultivation. Although others will take longer or may never flower indoors.
As for forest cacti, as we already mentioned, they grow in tropical regions and are generally plants, they are climbing plants that adhere to trees. So they can be excellent hanging plants. Among the varieties of indoor cacti is the rabbit ear, which has bunny-shaped ears and white flowers and is a desert cactus. Old lady has hair and many thorns, it looks like a pincushion and is a desert cactus. Easter, it offers bright and colorful flowers, it is a forest cactus. The Star cactus features a star-shaped mound and yellow flowers. And it is a desert cactus.
Amount of light
Intense light is essential for the health of desert cacti, especially in the winter season. It is worth mentioning that some species can burn in the direct summer sun if they have not hardened first. Forest cacti love bright sunlight, but not direct sunlight. Of course, you can take your indoor cactus outdoors during the summer.
The best practice is to mix desert cacti in a fast-draining cacti mix. But if you don’t have it available, then you can modify the soil and potting regular with inorganic agents like sand or perlite to increase drainage. Remember that cacti in general are slow growing, so they will rarely need a transplant. Keep in mind that many species of cacti will bloom best when lightly potted. Now for forest cacti, you can use a regular planting mix and transplant at the beginning of the growing season.
During the spring and summer season, when your desert cactus is actively growing and blooming, you should water whenever the compost begins to dry out. During these waterings, you must make sure that the plant is well watered. Now, during the winter rest period, you will hardly water it, only water if the plant begins to wilt. One of the most common mistakes made with desert cacti is overwatering in the winter. And this is what causes rot at the base of the plant or at the tips of the growing areas.
If rot progresses, the plant may need to be discarded. Now, as for forest cacti, you can water them like a normal houseplant during the summer months and when the buds start to show. During the resting period, you should only water when the soil is dry to the touch. Of course you should keep in mind that, as with succulents and desert cacti, forest cacti should not be overwatered during the resting period, as root rot will occur.
Ideal temperature and humidity for indoor cacti
During the period of active growth, desert cacti prefer hot, dry temperatures, ranging from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit or 21-27 degrees Celsius. During winter, plants prefer a cooler period, up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees Celsius. In their desert habitats, many cacti are used to very cold nights. However, you must protect them from very cold drafts in winter. Forest cacti are less demanding on temperature. During the growing season, they have a wide range, from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 to 21 degrees Celsius. Of course, during the rest period, a colder period of 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 13 degrees Celsius is essential.
For desert cacti, you will need to use a cactus fertilizer during the growing season. It is worth mentioning that some growers obtain unfavorable results with standard fertilizers. So it is worth looking for a specialized fertilizer for indoor cacti. For the cacti of the forest, it is important that you fertilize during the growing season with a standard fertilizer.
Most indoor cacti do not need pruning. They only need the removal of dead or damaged growth, with the help of clean and sharp garden shears. We recommend that you wear protective gardening gloves while doing this. It is really important that you consider this recommendation.
Indoor cactus plant propagation
If your indoor cacti produce suckers, you can propagate them. First, make sure you have a clean, sharp, and sterilized knife. Then it is very important that you put on protective gloves since you do not want to get pierced by the thorns of the cactus. Once you have your implements, cut the branch as close to the base as possible. Then let your cactus sit in a dry place for a few days, giving it time to recover from the cut. Meanwhile, dip the cut end into the rooting hormone and place it on a good growing medium, using a potting mix for cacti and succulents, and spray frequently. Once it develops strong roots, it can be planted in its own pot. For those who don’t know, rooting hormones are chemicals that stimulate root growth.
Indoor cactus pots and transplants
Indoor cacti should be transplanted when they need fresh soil. To transplant forest and desert cacti, you should always start by putting on a pair of protective gloves. Then remove your plant from its current pot and with the help of a clean trowel, loosen the roots. Fill the bottom of a terra cotta pot with a quick-draining cactus potting mix for desert cacti, or a regular potting mix for forest cacti. Add your plant, pour the potting mix around the sides. And with the help of a stick-shaped tool like a toothpick, push the soil down and water lightly.
Common pests and diseases of indoor cacti
All types of cacti can be prone to pests, including mealybugs, scales, fungus gnats, and spider mites. Fortunately, in most cases, it is possible to very carefully remove these pests from plants simply with the help of cotton swabs and water..
How to grow indoor cacti from seed
Growing desert and forest cacti from seed requires patience. But not because it is a difficult procedure, but because of the slow growth that characterizes them. But if you still want to grow from scratch, then you can collect seeds from a cactus that has flowered or buy packaged seeds. Make a potting mix for cacti and succulents, filled with perlite and sand. Plant the seeds as deep as you can and cover them with a thin layer of sand or cactus potting mix. Water lightly, cover with plastic wrap and place it in a bright place but not in direct sun. Most cacti will germinate in about three weeks. Once it sprouts you can remove the plastic cover during the day. In about six months, the seedlings should be ready for their own pots.
Ideas to use indoor cacti as part of your home decoration
If you’re looking to incorporate some interesting green elements but don’t want to spend too much time maintaining them, indoor cactus plants are the perfect solution. Then keep reading to the end to put these simple ideas to complement your home décor into practice.
Use them as centerpieces for the living room
If you’re looking for that perfect and unusual centerpiece for your living room, considering indoor cacti is a great option. It is worth mentioning that, a cactus can survive for years with minimal maintenance, plus they can certainly add some style to any room. You will only need a beautiful pot for the plant without complications, and place it on the coffee table. Already…