How to Plant a Cactus

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Planting a cactus in the yard can add a landscaping highlight that will make your yard attractive and save on watering at the same time. Once they are even minimally established, cacti do not need much water, if any. Cacti also grow well in pots, since almost all of them are shallow rooted. They make a nice addition to a patio or balcony in cold weather climates, where they can be brought into the house for the cold weather of fall, winter, and spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Cactus
  • Pot or a garden spot
  • Cactus soil if using a pot
  • Utility knife
  • Shovel
  • Heavy leather gloves

How to Plant a Cactus in the Ground

  • Buy a cactus from the nursery, or order it online.

  • Put on your gloves after you have assembled your tools.

  • Dig a shallow hole for the cactus. They do not have deep roots. You should dig a little lower than the roots of the plant, but you don't have to go down much more than a few inches.

  • Set the cactus pot on its side, and gently start tapping to loosen it from the pot. Most larger cacti will come out of the pots fairly easily. If it doesn't, you may have to use a utility knife to cut the plastic on the pot, and gradually remove the root ball from the pot that way.

  • Set the cactus in the soil by holding it from the root ball, and push back the original soil until the hole is filled up.

  • Lightly water it. Depending on our climate, you may need to water it once a week, or once a month. Cacti do not need much water at all.

How to Plant a Cactus in a Pot

  • Buy a cactus, a slightly larger pot than the one that it is already in, and cactus potting soil.

  • Put the cactus soil in the pot, leaving about 1/2-inch space at the top. Lightly tap the soil down.

  • Tap on the original pot to gently remove it from the pot.

  • Make a hole in the soil with your fingers that is big enough to accommodate the new cactus and its existing soil.

  • Place the cactus in the hole in the pot, and water lightly.

  • Set in a sunny spot outside, but bring it in when temperatures threaten to go below 40.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be very careful when you are planting a cactus. They almost all have spines, and it's easy to get scratched.
  • Watch your eyes when planting a cactus. Nothing hurts worse than a scratched eyeball, and if it happens, it's a trip to the emergency room.
  • If you are planting a cactus in a pot, do not overwater. A cactus can be bone dry for weeks. Too much water will eventually kill the plant.

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