Q. How do I water my cactuses and succulents?
Watering cactuses and succulents is one of the most misunderstood plant care tasks. These plants are water storers. In their native habitat, their root systems can spread over great distances, enabling the plant to access more of the scarce water supply. In container culture, however, cacti and succulents need a good drink like most plants, with a short rest without water in early or late spring.
When the soil around a cactus is dry 1/2 inch down, water slowly and thoroughly. You can check the moisture level with a thin matchstick held in place for a minute or so. Water more often when in bloom, usually in spring. Many succulents need more watering, so check when purchasing.
When the weather starts to cool, water only enough to keep the plant from shriveling. Plants may go dormant in March or April; water less until new growth appears. Then water sparingly at first, increasing as the weather warms up. Humidity level can be 10-20 percent. On especially hot summer days, a very light water mist is fine during the hottest part of the day.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service