If you’re after the plant of the moment, look no further than your humble cactus. The succulent has taken the design world by a storm with its sculptural silhouette and low-maintenance appeal.
So how exactly do you care for a cactus?
Choose the right pot for your cactus. Terracotta pots with drainage holes are ideal for cacti, because they allow the soil to dry out faster. If you have a pot that doesn’t have drainage holes, drill them yourself.
The right potting mix
Don’t plant your cactus in any old potting mix. It needs well-draining soil so water doesn’t accumulate around the plant. You can buy special cactus and succulent potting mix from any garden store. Sprinkle fine gravel around the collar of your cactus to keep it dry.
Find a sunny spot in your home if you want to keep your cactus indoors. If your cactus doesn’t get enough light, it will start to bend towards the light source. Move your plant into a better position.
A little water
Good news for those who tend to forget to water their plants – cacti can be very forgiving. However, your plant does need adequate water supply. Allow the soil to dry out completely before digging your finger into the soil around 6cm and checking for moisture. If it’s dry, give it a good drink. A good rule of thumb is to give you cactus a little water once a week. During the colder months, you can give your cactus less water.
Feed your cactus in spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer. Choose one with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium diluted to a quarter strength.
Watch out for pests
Common cacti pests include mealybug, scale and spider mites. Deal with mealybug and scale infestation by dabbing them with a cotton tip soaked in rubbing alcohol. Spider mites are harder to see, but you will noticed yellowish, rusty brown spots. They hate water so try misting your plant overhead with water.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.
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