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Hot deserts, dry winds, arid climates – these are some of the most common words that come to our minds when we hear of a cactus plant. Is that all there is to know about them though?

Similar to our lives, cacti are thorny yet so very beautiful. Thus, it is important to take care of these lovely little creations as more people are becoming interested to fit these greens of nature in their homes.

Most people strongly believe that cacti and succulents require minimum amount of water. However, watering these plants completely depends on the type of cactus an individual owns and the time of the year. While desert-type cacti require watering sessions with long intervals in between, tropical-cacti require more watering throughout the year. Someone on the internet once jokingly even told about her succulents that the best rule of thumb when it comes to cacti is to forget about watering them. Although we learned at school that regular watering is crucial for plants, such might not be the case here. For some cacti, weekly watering might be needed while for others, watering every three to five weeks may be adequate. As winter approaches and days become shorter, these cacti usually go dormant. During these periods, the potting mixtures of these cacti must be allowed to fully dry out between the watering. For proper drainage, you could either have pots with holes at the bottom or create a draining soil with layers of rock and sand along with the soil. It is also important to note that tap water can be alkaline or contain harmful minerals, which makes rainwater a much more preferred option for watering.

If you have ever been on a vacation to the Sahara desert, you most certainly enjoyed basking in the golden rays of the sun. Did you notice the cacti all around you doing the same? While placing a cactus in your balcony or your outdoor garden, it is of utmost importance to consider the temperature, humidity and amount of sunlight it will be getting. These factors contribute greatly to the healthy growth of your plants. Optimum lighting conditions are essential and it must be ensured that the plants are not getting too much or too little light. Too much light can give your cactus a “bleached out” look, disappointing you by changing its color from the emerald green plant you had once brought home. On the other hand, too little light may cause the plants to reach out excessively towards the sunlight. Thus, make sure you always keep an eye out to tell in case things take a negative turn.

Although cactus can be grown in pots made of plastic, ceramic or even clay, there are certain things to keep in mind. The pot, regardless of its material, must ensure proper drainage of the water. The species of cacti with deep, tuberous roots require narrow, deep pots while the ones with fibrous roots require shallow pots with wider surfaces.

Then again, even if you take care of all these, could things still go wrong? Certainly so, if you have uninvited guests visiting your plant! It is not very uncommon to see various pests leaving their mark on your stunning collection. Systemic insecticides, overhead watering and washing off bugs and mites can be some preventive measures that you could take.

With these little efforts and hard work, we could add a lot more to the greenery and beauty in our homes. So why not bring home a cactus? After all, having a cactus no longer seems like a prickly puzzle to solve.

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