Here is one of the most widespread gardening myths: cacti and succulents are easy and very easy to keep alive. Well, it depends; how do you know plant killer. Because there is a nuance: succulents are simple, if you make it easy for them. This is: do not torture them with a regular soil or soil, like the one you use with the rest of your indoor plants.
Cacti and succulents: how to make them survive indoors
If you have tried to have cacti and succulents at home, but have ended up with them in the garbage (or, better, in the compost), there is a question you need to ask yourself. What land have you used? Because the answer is usually: a basic soil for plants. Oops!
Foolproof recipe for cacti and succulents: mix the soil
Plants such as succulents and cacti have unique soil or soil requirements, due to the peculiar structure of their roots and their preference for dry soils. So many problems start with placing them on the wrong ground. And the complications can be many: from flooded roots until his eventual death.
Luckily, getting the ideal soil for cacti and succulents to grow happily is quite simple: mix universal substrate with fine gravel that makes it easier for the soil to aerate. And, above all, that prevents it from flooding. Just what your succulent needs.
The reason: these species need a well aerated, porous soil that is difficult to flood. Therefore, our goal is to provide cacti and succulents with the drainage they require; and this is usually achieved with the mixture of common substrate (the easiest to find in large areas and plant stores) and fine gravel or gravel. The foolproof recipe (or almost): add an additional 30% fine gravel to your soil, by volume, to help it drain.
Other options: Instead of gravel, you can use perlite or arlite, a type of expanded clay, which comes in the form of small balls. Arlite is especially interesting: in addition to providing the drainage we are looking for, and preventing the pot from watering, it acts as a small sponge that retains part of the moisture. This is very interesting for cacti; but also if you need to rescue a plant that you have drowned.
If you don’t want to cook this concoction, you can always buy a ready-made substrate, specially designed and mixed for cacti or succulents, at a garden center. [Hace un tiempo te contamos los trucos para escoger las plantas más sanas del vivero].
And don’t go overboard with the shower
Also, forget about following the same irrigation schedule that you use for the rest of the plants. In winter, it is enough to water them once a month. And, in summer, try to get them wet every five days. It is much more than your cactus or succulent plant needs to survive, but it will thank you, and it will grow faster. Now, you have to make sure that the floor is dry before taking the watering can. If not, give yourself a few days before trying again.
Cacti and succulents: don’t overdo it with fertilizer, either
And practice the mindfulness or the slow life with your cactus. Since they are long-haul, slow-growing plants, both cacti and succulents prefer to feed on slow fertilizers and they do not do well with regular liquid fertilizers designed to increase plant performance in the short term.
Again, you can use a compost or a fertilizer that has been specially designed for cacti or succulents: you will give them a boost of vitality, but at their own pace. Just what they need in spring and summer, their peak growing season.
If you want to pamper your cacti more, transplant them in spring to a pot only slightly larger. If you have doubts, here we tell you what size is suitable for your plant.
Another trick to make cacti and succulents happy
You already know: a puddle on its delicate roots can cause irreparable damage to your cacti and succulents. Since the key is to keep the soil aerated, and avoid puddles at the bottom of the pot, try this: forget about putting a plate under the pot. Instead, water and leave your pot in the sink or tub for a few hours, until all the excess water has drained out of the holes. You already have it!
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