Basic Care for Your Prickly Hippie Plant
It is true that mostly all Cacti and Succulents grow and survive in drought-like environments, however, that doesn't mean you should never water your plant. I have found that watering once a week from Spring to Fall and less often-- maybe once every two weeks from Fall to early Spring-- helps keep my plants beautiful and happy. Keep in mind that during the hottest Summer months, you will need to keep a watchful eye on your plants' watering needs.
Remember, it is definitely better to underwater your Cacti/Succulents than over-water.
Signs to Water
- When the soil is completely dry to the touch
- When your plant looks shriveled (very easy to tell in the leaves of Succulents)
- When your plants have been exposed to immense heat and sun for many days (again, soil should be dry!)
Obviously, rainwater is the best option for your plant. Sit out a watering pail and collect natural water to see the best results (and save money!) Be aware that mineral buildup from tap water could eventually cause issues for your Succulent or Cacti and never water your plants with water that has been through a softening system that uses salt as a recharging agent. (csssj.org)
Succulents and Cacti do extremely well in many different atmospheres. Usually, a nicely sunlit windowsill will do just fine for your plant (especially in the winter months-- or if your sunny outdoor areas are exposed to extreme rays of sun too many hours of the day!) Keep an eye out for plant etiolation (the stretching and elongating of your plant towards the sun to receive more light.) If your plant is elongating to an abnormal degree, you need to find a window with better sun exposure!
My outdoor succulents grow immensely well in areas that get morning and/or late afternoon sun, but are shaded from the intense mid-day rays. Be aware that Succulents can easily get sun-scorched and dried out if the heat and sun exposure is too intense.
My cacti, however, are outside and exposed to the sun all day. They are stronger when it comes to intense heat and sun exposure and tend to thrive in that environment.
Be sure to monitor the sun exposure of the area you plan to keep your plant. Keep an eye out for where and when the sun directly hits that area. Also, is your plant outdoors? If so, is it protected from intense storms/too much rain? Even the best pots with perfect drainage sometimes can't stand up to Mother Nature. You don't want to sunburn your plant with too much sun exposure, nor do you want to drown the little guy!
Weather and Temperature
Care for your Succulents and Cacti definitely depends on where you live. It is important to do your own research about weather conditions and temperatures (both highs and lows) to get the best out of your plants!
The most important factor for your summer months is sun exposure (see information on sunshine above!) You must understand how much sun your plant is getting daily as well as the humidity and temperature. Though extremely hearty plants, Succulents and Cacti can get sun scorched and dried out very quickly if the sun's rays are too intense.
Take precaution when moving a plant from shade to full sunlight, or from inside from Winter months to direct sunlight once Spring arrives. Sometimes, these plants get "shocked" too quickly from such an intense change, and die-- even if you feel you've done everything right! Gradually introducing your plants to new climates and sunlight is the way to go.
Rain + Cold = Dead Plant
The more research of exactly what species of Succulent or Cacti, the better results you will see, however, a safe temperature to begin bringing your plants indoors (or taking proper coverage precautions outdoors) is 50 degrees. If temperatures are going to drop to 50 or below, it is time to find a window indoors for your plant. Most importantly, take precaution during cold months if it has recently rained. The wet soil, mixed with the cold temperatures, can quickly spell death for your Succulent or Cacti.