How to Grow a Cactus Indoors

Gardening expert Ann Wied shares her tips on how to grow a cactus.



It takes know-how to grow a cactus.


By Ann Wied

It takes know-how to keep a cactus looking sharp as a showpiece houseplant. For a cactus to thrive indoors, pay close attention to the light, soil, water and fertilization requirements of your specific plant.

Light. For optimal light, consider not just direction, but also intensity and duration.

Soil. Proper soil  promotes root health and provides support, so use a mix that’s roughly half potting soil and half drainage material (like perlite and coarse sand).

Water. It’s important to water regularly during the growing season and lightly during dormancy. Some varieties are winter growers, so be sure to follow recommendations for your specific cactus.

Fertilizer. Fertilize only when your plant is actively growing, and use houseplant fertilizer at half- or quarter-strength. High-phosphorous fertilizers promote flowering and healthy roots. Don’t overfertilize with nitrogen.


About our Expert: Ann Wied is consumer horticulture educator for the UW-Extension in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

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