How to Care for a Flowering Cactus

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Flowering cacti are ideal houseplants for travelers. While they require exposure to sunlight they can go two to four weeks between waterings and only need occasional pruning. There are many types of flowering cactus, and large outdoor centers usually carry a wide selection. When choosing your new cactus, make sure that all of the spines and branches look healthy and choose a pot that will suit the cactus. Flowering cacti are great in containers, so buy several varieties and plant them together.

Things You'll Need

  • Cactus potting soil
  • Newspaper (optional)
  • Cactus food
  • Pot

Purchase cactus potting soil, cactus food and a pot when you bring home your new flowering cactus from the garden store. Most cacti are sold in tiny pots so you should be fine with a 3-inch pot, but adjust accordingly for a larger cactus.

Loosely pack your new pot with potting soil, then remove your cactus from its pot, place it in the center of the new pot and mound fresh potting soil on the sides and top of the pot. If your flowering cactus is spiny, you can wrap a couple sheets of newspaper around the outside to grasp it without getting pricked.

Mix your solution of plant food and add this to the soil, making sure to note when it's time to feed again. Then water thoroughly.

Place your flowering cactus in a space where it will get lots of light. If you live in a temperate climate such as Texas or California, you can place your cactus outside and take the pot in during inclement weather.

Water the cactus when the soil is quite dry, testing the moisture content by sticking a pencil down into the soil. If there are still soil particles clinging to the pencil it's not time to water.

Tips & Warnings

  • While some varieties of cactus flower right away others may take years to flower.
  • If you place your cactus outside, leave it in a partially shady area at first to allow it to acclimate to the temperatures in your area. Cactus leaves do not like getting wet so avoid spraying them with water or leaving them in the rain.

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