As we spend more and more time at home, it’s natural to look for new activities like learning how to best care for a cactus. What’s the fun? Similar to bonsai, when properly cared for, a cactus will look elegant as a green decoration at home. It is said that maintaining a cactus is also the same as maintaining indoor air quality indirectly. Something that is very much needed in this modern era.
From Hobby to Natural Health
Yup! This cactus, which is a succulent plant, lives by inhaling the carbon dioxide we release when we breathe. At the same time, they release oxygen into the air. Imagine if you had not just one or two small pots of cactus, but a number of collections. Looks like you already have a natural air purifier at home. Interesting right?
Cactus as decoration can be used to improve mood. Remember when we were little we were taught to occasionally rest our eyes by looking at the green pages? Well, as an alternative, replace the green page with rows of beautiful cacti. Surely the mood and productivity immediately went up.
Okay! When you decide to bring a cactus home, you’ll definitely need some guidance on how to make friends with these prickly little ones. Don’t worry, it turns out that how to care for a cactus is quite simple and doesn’t require much attention. The 10 best ways are summarized in the following discussion.
Observation of Origin
Different species of cactus, also different origin. There are cacti that come from sandy soil areas, and there are also those from rain forest soils. Know the location of origin or the parent media for the cactus to make it easier for you to determine the right soil mixture in the pot and of course help the cactus live in its new environment.
Can’t Forget Hydration
Although cacti are known as flora that can live in an environment without water, they are still ordinary plants. One way to properly care for cacti is to water them regularly. Why? Because water makes cacti grow.
How to water it is very easy. Just make sure that the soil of the planting medium is dry before irrigating. If the weather is very hot, you can give the cactus a weekly hydration of 1/4 or 1/2 cup of water. Meanwhile, during the rainy season, hydration can be done up to two weeks. Not a bother, right?
Let’s Play with Earth
It was said that cacti grow. So, what if we have a variety of cactus plants in one growing medium? This way of displaying cacti does make the garden beautiful to look at. But after growing and getting bigger, cactus roots can stick out of the pot because there is no more free space. This is an early sign that your cactus needs a different planting medium or soil. Reporting is the solution.
Don’t be afraid when you have to busy. Prepare the right tools to facilitate the moving process. And consider this a regular exercise, you can because you get used to it.
Since cacti are needle-leaved, you can wrap the cactus in newspaper for first protection. Then, use leather or other thick gloves, or BBQ tongs to hold the cactus during transfer. Help with a dull knife to loosen the soil around the roots before the cactus is uprooted.
Then for new potted soil, you can get it at many plant stores. Choose the one that suits your cactus type. Soil for cacti is more sandy and rocky than soil for other plants.
Take note! After reporting, cacti need at least two months of recovery. Don’t get hydrated just yet. Once the roots are strong enough and grip the soil, then you can give it water.
Choose the Best Pot
Basically, cacti can be planted in any type of pot. Well, this is a clever trick. If you don’t want to bother checking to see if there’s still water in the soil, you can use a pot with a drain hole. However, if you are a person who enjoys the routine of ‘routine checks’ it is fine to try using a pot without water drainage holes. Just make sure you don’t accidentally drown the cactus, because they still have some water in the soil, OK?!
The size of the pot, depending on the size of the cactus you have. If the pot is too big, there will be a lot of water build-up that the cactus doesn’t like. Small pots have a distinct advantage here. The best potting material is terracotta, compared to plastic pots which take longer to dry again.
Give Cactus Nutritious Food
Don’t be surprised by this. Cacti also need fertilizer, you know! But this is only for growing cacti (Bringing new branches, and other developmental traits). Look for a fertilizer that is really suitable for each type. That is, which contains less nitrogen, but is rich in phosphorus.
Its use is sufficient in small doses that can be combined during the hydration process. Or you can use a ratio of one (1) tablespoon of fertilizer, mixed with one (1) gallon of water. The duration of its use is once every eight weeks.
It’s Sunshine Time
In the dry season, cacti from sandy soil really like direct sunlight. The duration of irradiation is usually up to four hours per day. In contrast to tropical cacti from the rain forest, which prefer sunlight that is slightly blocked by a hood. But when the rainy season comes, remove the rain forest cactus hoods, because this is when they need sunlight to grow.
Tips for providing sun exposure for cacti, as quoted , is to always rotate the side of the cactus that gets sunlight so that the cactus does not turn yellow or white. This spin can be done once a month, in a round pot formation.
Beware of Fleas!
The best way to care for a cactus also includes paying attention to the various symptoms the plant is experiencing. One of them is changes due to lice.
The mealybug and scale insects or barnacles are the most common ticks that are often found trying to gnaw at the bones of a cactus. These two types of ticks are difficult to spot when attacking, because they often hide in areas under the cactus that are rarely seen by the eye. Characteristics of mealybugs are usually clustered like white cotton, but brittle like wax. While the characteristics of insect scales or barnacles are shaped like a dome.
Another with mites (Spider mites). If mites attack a cactus plant, a brown spot will appear on the plant. Sometimes also accompanied by the presence of web threads, such as spider threads. If you find any indications of mites on your cactus, immediately pat the infected area with a piece of paper. Mites can stick there, shaped like dust.
Also beware of gnats (Fungus gnats). They usually hover near the ground, because their larvae live in the soil. Gnats need to be eradicated immediately because they absorb the nutrients that the cactus needs from the growing medium.
How to clean fleas from cactus: Apply a cotton swab that has been dipped in alcohol on the infected area. Do not spray the alcohol solution directly, because it can damage the cactus epidermal tissue.
Pay More Attention
Like babies, each cactus also requires careful handling on its own. Therefore, more attention becomes an important key in the maintenance of cacti. Which treatments are working for your cactus, and which are not.
If the cactus grows like it is leaning towards the sun, it could be that the area to place your cactus is not right. Immediately change the place where the cactus is placed to get better sunlight. Likewise when the color of the cactus seems to fade. That’s a sign that the cactus gets too much sun.
Don’t be shy about joining the Cactus Club
Sometimes, sharing your experiences is the best way to care for a cactus as well as getting all the information relevant to your situation when it comes to caring for your beloved plant. You can learn, and vice versa, other members will also be helped by your experience. Sharing is caring, right?
And Last But Not Least, Cactus Fun Facts
- Cacti can flower. Wow! Depending on the type of cactus, cactus flowers can be red, pink, blue, yellow, or white.
- Cacti can live for decades up to 200 years. Super!
- A cactus that needs water is a young cactus, which is to grow
- How to prevent cactus lice from coming is actually quite simple, that is, just remove the dry, fallen leaves that are around the pot
- Plant experts always recommend reporting every 2-4 years, as a way to keep the cactus always young
- When is the best time to busy? It was the dry season. Because, cactus roots are drier than the rainy season
An always useful tip apart from the 10 best ways to care for cacti already discussed is to have fun. You don’t have to be 100% aware of how to keep small thorns. As long as you sincerely love, cactus will repay you in the same way.