15 Basics Knowledge You Need To Know About Cactus

This article will raise your cactus lovers level from beginner to advance. Since you need to know more about cactus, this will be a good knowledge pack to enrich your cactus insight.

There will be so many questions to be asked or those who are not really familiar with cactus yet. What is cactus? Do they need water? Can I grow cactus in my house?

Those are the most common question when it comes to cactus. Before you start growing your own cactus, you need to know these following fact about cactus:

Are cactus the same as succulents?

Basically, succulents are the name used to call plants with the ability to store water in their stems, root, and leaves. Since cactus also has that special ability, it included as one of succulent’s family group. So when asked about cactus and succulent correlation, the answer is that “Every cactus are succulent.”

Since it has those characteristics, the easiest way to identify the cactus family is by noticing its leaves, do they fleshy or not?

It can live between 15 and 300 years.

The oldest living cactus ever recorded is called ‘Old Granddaddy’ founded in Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. It was recorded to have 300 years of age before it died!

Where do they grow?

Cactus Natural Habitat. Source: Pixabay.com/12019

Cactus usually live in a dry place, with dry soil and hot climate which often associated with. The wax layer on their entire body keeps cactus from over evaporating. In other word, they have the ability to save water for long periods.

Cactus loves sunlights

Cactus need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight. Compared to other plant species, high intensity of sunlight is required by this plant. When you grow it in your home, you probably need to rotate it periodically to make sure it gets sunlight exposure evenly. When the leaves color turns to white or yellow, that is the sign that your cactus has exposed to sunlight too much. Move it under a shaded area immediately.

Why should watering cactus when mother nature doesn’t?

Watering Cactus. Source: Pixabay.com/Susanne Jutzeler

Its ability to save water makes them only need a little amount of water. Sandy soil where cactuses naturally live is great water drainage for them. With that fact, it doesn’t mean that cactus doesn’t need water at all. For example when we talk about mini cactus which just has 3cm tall. They only need a half teaspoon per month.

How hard it takes to kill cactus?

Cactus belongs to relatively hard to kill plant family. When I say ‘hard’ it doesn’t literally mean that you need hours to kill them. In fact, by overwatering the cactus, they will easily die. What we really want to say here is that they don’t really need a complicated effort to keep healthy. In their natural habitat (which is dessert), they are facing an extreme climate. A super hot under a fully shining sun and an ice cold windy night are where their natural life took place. With that fact, it is obvious if we say cactus is a super-adaptive plant.

Do cactus have a flower?

Cactus Flower Botanical / Image source: Pixabay.com / Chris1947

Yes, it does! The important thing to know is that it is not easy growing a flower. The flower can only grow on a cactus that experienced ‘reincarnation’. As it happens in their natural habitat, they ‘live’ in summer, and ‘faking death’ in winter, then live again as it is before. To imitating this process in order to grow your own cactus, you can let your cactus abandoned in winter, then start to watering them again in summer.

Are they always prickly?

Not every cactus species are prickly. What we usually think of as cacti are desert cacti, but there are also forest cacti without the bristles, however, the range available as houseplants are quite small.

Are they poisonous?

There are no cactus species that are poisonous. The most problem that occured when taking care cactus is finger irritation. Its spine will stick easily to your hand and it will be hard to find since some spine is tiny yet so soft.

Some cactus can be eaten and some even grow fruits.

Cactus Fig Prickly Pear. Image source: Pixabay.com/ Analogicus

Dragon fruit is one of the cactus kind that provides fruit. The prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.) is commercially produced cactus fruit commonly called tuna or Indian fig. It is the only reliable cactus fruit crop field grown in the US.

They all have a unique different name

You can check the correct name of your cactus and succulents on Succulentguide.com. All you need to do is input the famous name and then you will be directed to its Latin or scientific name.

It can grow indoor

bright light is a key to healthy indoor cactus. Place your cactus near the windows. White painted walls will help to spread light exposure to your plants.

Understanding the water need for each species

A different cactus species can have a different amount of water need. Some Species take months and another take weeks or even days to get re-watering. An accurate calculation helps the cactus to stay healthy. Remember to always let the soil dry completely before watering.

Tips for Handling prickly cactus

Usually, people facing this problem when they need to move their plant in another planter. A simple hack like covering your hand with a folded newspaper is an effective way to prevent hand damage.

It can be used as medicine

Some country uses a specific kind of cactus to make a health beneficial juice. Nopal juice may help to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It can also be used for treating wounds. Both parts of the nopal plant the no pales and the fruit have been used in traditional medicine for disease treatment and prevention.

Cactus is a unique enhancement for your home decoration. You can put it either outdoor or indoor. Both are great decisions since cactus are low maintenance plants. After you know that basic cactus knowledge, now it’s your turn to have your own cactus in your home!