Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by Mattias
Cactus plants are succulent plants that can store water, all thanks to their fleshy stems. And hence it holds moisture. You won’t have to water it daily or as frequently as non-succulent plants.
However, despite being drought-tolerant plants, if you do not use enough water on them or use too much water than you are supposed to, it could cause harm to them.
So, how often should you water cactus plants?
How much water should you use on your cactus plant?
Which type of water is best for your cactus plant?
How do you know when it’s time to water your cactus plant?
Consider this the ultimate guide about Watering Cactus Plants
How Often Do You Water Cactus Plants?
The conventional frequency for watering a cactus plant is once every 10 days. However, certain factors either extend or drawback this watering frequency.
The conventional frequency for watering the cactus plants can be altered by factors such as where it is planted, the size of the pot it is planted in, the weather conditions, the size of the plant, the age of the plant, the species of the plant, and the type of soil it is planted on.
Let’s discuss each of these factors.
Read also: How Often Do You Water Cucumber Plants?
Where It Is Planted
Cactus plants are planted either indoors or outdoors. Indoor cactus plants usually require less water than outdoor cactus plants. This is because the outdoor plants have access to direct sunlight, while the indoor plants have access to indirect sunlight.
The access that outdoor cacti have to full sunlight means the moisture in their soil will dry out faster than the moisture in the indoor cactus, which don’t have access to as much sunlight, and hence more frequent watering will be needed.
The Size Of The Pot It Is Planted In
How often you water succulents like cactus plants also depends on the size of your pot.
Cactus plants grown in smaller pots need more frequent watering than those grown in larger pots.
This is because the water in a small cactus pot drains and evaporates faster than in large pots, and larger pots can hold more moisture than its counterpart.
Cactus plants in small pots require watering every 7 to 10 days ( 1 to 2 weeks), while those in large pots require watering every 4 to 6 weeks.
Note: Ensure you use the right size of point for your cactus because using the wrong size could cause harm to it.
For example, if you use a cactus plant that requires less watering in a large pot, the excess water in the pot will make it overwatered and put it at risk of root rot.
The Size Of The Plant
The size of cactus plants is another factor that determines how often they should be watered.
A large cactus requires less water than a small cactus. This is because larger cactus plants have large and thick leaves that can hold water for an extended period, while small cactus plants have thinner leaves that can’t hold moisture for a long time and hence will require more frequent watering.
The Age Of The Plant
Younger cactus plants require more water than mature cactus plants. This is because when cactus plants are young, their growth rate is higher, and their roots absorb moisture faster.
However, you must be careful about how frequently you water these plants and how much water you use on them, as using too much water can cause harm to them.
The Type Of Soil It Is Planted On
The type of soil mix in which your cactus plant is grown also influences how frequently it needs to be watered.
If you grow your cactus plant in potting soil that drains water quickly, you will need to water it more often than when you grow it in well-draining soil.
The proper soil for your cactus plant has a good drainage system consisting of draining holes that can adequately move water away from your plant to prevent it from being affected by root rot.
The Specie Of The Plant
Different cactus species are available, with different needs, water storage requirements, and water storage capacity.
So, ensure you find out the type of cactus you have and the level of water it needs per time.
The time of year and weather conditions are other vital factors determining how often you should water cactus plants.
Cactus plants require more watering during the winter months than during the summer months. This is because the winter months are warmer with high temperatures, and the soil dries more frequently.
Winter months, however, are colder; in this period, you will experience dry soil less frequently and wet soil more regularly, reducing the watering frequency.
In addition, the summer season is an active growing season while the winter season isn’t, and the amount of water needed during the growing season is more than the one required when the growth rate is retarded.
If you are growing your cactus plant indoors, the temperature in the room in which it is grown will determine how often you should water it.
If the temperature in the room is hot, the potting soil will dry up faster, and you will have to water the plant more quickly than if the temperature in the room is cool, and the soil dries up less swiftly.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Water Your Cactus Plant?
The best way to know when it’s time to water your cactus plant is by checking its soil moisture level.
You can do this using either your fingers or a moisture meter.
You can use your fingers to check soil moisture level by dipping it into the soil. The moisture level you feel with your fingers will determine if it’s time to water it or if you should wait a while before watering it.
You can also use a moisture meter to check the soil moisture level of the cactus plant. If the meter shows that it is between 90 to 100% dry, then it is time to water it, but if it isn’t dry to that level, then you should wait for a day or a few days before checking it again and possibly watering it if it is dry to that level.
Note: Ensure the cactus soil is at least 90% dry before you water it to avoid overwatering it and putting it at risk of root rot.
Which Type Of Water Is Best For Your Cactus Plant?
The type of water best for your cactus plant is rainwater and distilled water. Ensure you avoid using tap or hard water to water your cactus plant, as they contain hard minerals that can build up in its roots and cause harm to it.
Read also: How Often Do You Water A Bonsai Tree?
How Much Water Do Cactus Plants Need?
The amount of wafer your cactus plants needs is enough water to soak up the soil and its roots until it comes out of the draining holes.
And the easiest way to give your cactus plant a good soaking is through deep watering.
Ensure you add a lot of water to your cactus plant until it touches the surface of the soil and goes down to the bottom of the pot and out through the draining holes.
How Do You Know That Your Cactus Plant Is Being Overwatered?
If you water your cactus plant more than you should, you could overwater it, and this could cause harm to the plant’s health, root, and leaves.
Overwatered cactus plants have the following attributes:
When your cactus plant is overwatered, the root is the first thfected. However, due to your inability to see the roots, you might not be able to notice this rot in time, so look out for the other sign, which is stated below.
Change In The Leaves’ Appearances
When you overwater your cactus plant, you will start noticing a change in the color and structure of the leaves. The leaves, usually green, will turn black or brown. Also, you will see that the leaves will appear mushy and swollen.
How To Fix An Overwatered Cactus Plant
If you notice the above-stated signs on your cactus plant, it is being overwatered, and you first need to stop watering it.
Next, you have to remove the plant from the pot and check the color of its roots. The color of healthy cactus plants is white, so if you notice that the color has changed to either black or brown, you need to cut it off.
After cutting it off, repot it in a potting mix that is dry and fresh, and wait for at least 1 week before you start watering it again.
How Do You Know That Your Cactus Plant Is Being Underwatered?
As desert plants, cactus plants can survive without water for a certain period, but if you let them stay for too long without watering them, then it could also cause harm to them.
The signs of an underwatered cactus plant include withered leaves, a sideways leaning of the plant, a dimpled appearance of the leaves, and the plant feeling too soft.
If you notice any of these signs, you need to adjust your watering schedule and improve on how often you check the plant’s moisture level and water it.
Read also: How Often Do You Water Bamboo Plants?
Summary Of How Often To Water Cactus Plants
The key to maintaining healthy cactus plants isn’t just about watering them but correctly; this can be tricky.
So, in this cactus plant watering guide, I have stated all the factors you should consider before choosing the proper watering schedule for your cactus plant.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.