How to make your cactus happy
Mammillaria Cactus (or any type of dessert plant) flourish with a porous soil base. Cacti require little water and a lot of sun, the dryer the better.
Cactus’ are one of the easiest plants to have in your home especially if you are a first-time plant parent. They require minimal care and thrive on neglect. You can expect your cacti to thrive for 15+ years if you follow their simple rules for life. Here are my experiences handling this type of cactus and how I am keeping her happy and strong.
When I first saw my cacti stacked and bundled with other cactus’ and succulents at Lowes, I knew I had to save them. To save you from a rant, I was frustrated with the mistreatment of these beautiful plants. When plants are mistreated from the start, it may seem hard to try and save them, but with a few adjustments and A LOT of LOVE, your rescued cactus will thank you.
With my cactus’ I always use a terracotta pot. Terracotta pots are clay-based which makes them porous. This is important for first time cacti owners because if you overwater, the pot will absorb the excess. Overwatering is a common mistake amongst plant owners. Too much water will kill your cactus. If this has happened to you, read my article (Help! I think I may have killed my Cacti!), I will show you the steps I have taken when I experienced overwatering.
To start my potting process, I like to start out by adding pebbles or gravel to fill 1-2 inches (varies with how large your terracotta pot is) in the bottom of your pot. This is for drainage purposes. Then I like to add a porous potting mix. I have had great success with using Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix. I fill the pot with a large amount of soil, leaving 3-4 inches at the top of the pot. After your cacti is planted in the mix (read below on how to properly place your cacti in the potting mix) add sand, pebbles or gravel to fill the remaining space of the pot (leave small space near top of pot so water doesn’t spill everywhere).
Examining how large your cacti and pot are, will help you determine how deep you should make your hole in the potting mix. You want to make sure that your hole has enough room so that the roots of the cacti are comfortable.
I would suggest using gloves to transplant your cacti (ouch)! Take a knife and lightly dig the edges of the old soil to help ease the repotting process. Grab the base of the cacti and pull lightly from old container. Afterwards, place roots and cacti in the pre-dug hole in the potting mix.
After placing the cacti in the hole, make sure you firmly pat the soil around the base of the cacti (Not too tight, but just enough where the cacti can support itself standing straight). Add extra potting mix if necessary for support.
Cacti do extremely well in many different atmospheres. I feel comfortable giving my Cacti about 6-8 hours of exposed sunlight. My cactuses are placed in a South Facing window during the warmer months. During the colder months, I have my cacti go under a grow lamp to make sure adequate light is given. My cactus thrives in atmospheres where it receives tons of bright light.
+ Watch out for plant etiolation (the stretching and elongating of your plant towards the sun). This means find a sunnier spot for your cacti.
+ Be mindful your cacti can get sunburn. Keep an eye of for too much sun exposure. If you feel your cacti may be getting too much direct sun exposure, move it! You don’t want to burn your plant baby!
My cactuses prosper in 70-76 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Celsius).
+Wet soil, mixed with the cold temperatures, can awaken the angel of death for your plant.