Cactus Survival Tips

Oops you did it again, you watered that cactus, a little too much, oh baby baby. Giving cacti too much love is not an uncommon problem. And you heard it here first, even Britney’s had this problem (ok the odds are very high that someone named Britney has had this problem).

Is it time to stage an intervention?

Depending on the state of your cactus, there may still be the opportunity for it to keep on keeping on. But if you want your baby to live, you’re going to have to act, and the first step is recognizing the problem. Some of you might already know you’ve over-watered your cacti, but if not, check for these tell-tale signs:

  • A mushy base: Is the bottom of your cactus starting to look like it could be made into a creamy sauce?
  • Leaning tower of cactus: Does your cactus bear a scary resemblance Pisa’s leaning tower?
  • Soiled soil: Does the soil of your cactus stay moist and take foreva eva to dry out?

E.R.: Cactus Edition

If you said yes to any of the above questions, womp womp, you’ve got an over-watered cactus. But don’t fret just yet, your cactus might have a fighting chance if you follow these emergency steps. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you were an ER doctor, here’s your chance:

  1. Throw some gloves on and get that cactus out of its toxic environment. Remove the cactus from the pot and soil.
  2. Its time to get purging and perform plant surgery. With a sterile sharp knife, cut off half an inch of healthy cactus above the rotted base.
  3. Double check you’ve gotten rid of all the rot so that you aren’t haunted by ghosts of cactus’ past down the road.
  4. Put your cactus in a cool, dry place for recovery and wait for the cut area to callous over completely (this typically takes 1-3 days).
  5. Replant your cactus in well-draining cactus soil.
  6. Learn from your mistakes and don’t over- water your cactus in its fresh soil and pot!

Life Lessons for You and Your Cactus

In general, you shouldn’t need to water your cactus more than once a month, and in the winter it should be even less since that’s when cacti are dormant. And never ever ever water your cactus if the soil is moist! Cacti are meant to live in dry conditions…you know, like in deserts? So while all of our skin is cracking and looking pale and sad this winter, let your cactus be the one thing that thrives in the dry winter air this season.

Ok turns out those life lessons were mainly for your cactus, but a happy cactus is a happy cactus owner! Let us know how your cacti are doing on Instagram by tagging UPP and using the hashtag #makegoodplantchoices!