Bill's Cactus Care Page

By: Bill Zingg

Some General shapes of Cacti

Copper King CactusMexican cactusMoon cactussaguarobunny ear

other shapes cactus roundpickle plantpincushionsmall cactus

Cactus are generally fairly easy to grow, even for a beginner. The best time to buy your cactus plant is in the summer, as this is the primary season for cactus plants. Some things that are needed to have a healthy plant, such as a correct potting mixture, a pot that is the correct size for your cactus, freedom from insects, fertilizer, and water.

Potting mixture

  • The best kind of soil is cactus soil. However, this is sometimes hard to find
  • Regular potting soil and sand in a 50/50 ratio will work just fine
  • Add a bit of gravel to ensure drainage


  • When you buy your cactus, most likely it will have been in the current pot for some time.
  • Repot, using a pot only slightly larger than the pot it originally came in.
  • Always make sure that you have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot
  • Try not to dig out the cactus.Instead, break the previous pot and set the new one
  • If you have too big of a pot, you will over-water. This will cause stem and root rot, which will kill the plant.

Freedom From Insects

  • Inspect the plant before buying it, making sure that there is no insect infestation. It might also be a good idea to look at the cacti that you already own, checking them for aphids, red spider mites, and mealy bugs.
  • If this is a problem, go to your local gardening center and get the correct insectacide.

Temperature, Watering, and Fertilizer

  • Cactus are used to 90-100 degree heat, they require south-facing windows for the bright light that they produce. During the fall and winter months, they are used to temperatures from 45-55 degrees farenheit. When you first get your plant, you will have to water it when needed. A good rule of thumb is that the cactus soil should have a half inch of dry soil on top. Using a pencil, prod the soil to check for moisture at that level. When watering in the dormant season (fall and winter), you should only have to water it every couple of weeks. A light fertilizer should be used, a 5-10-10 every 2-3 months as needed.
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