Choosing Cactus Plants For Zone 7 Gardens
Cacti are one of the most popular plants for home gardeners. They provide a variety of benefits to your garden including shade, water retention, pest control and aesthetic appeal. However, they require special care when it comes to growing them in zones 5 through 9 because their growth habits are different than those found in other parts of the world.
Zone 5 and 6 plants tend to grow slowly, which means they take longer to reach maturity. These plants need less light than others and so do not tolerate hot temperatures well. Their leaves may turn yellow or brown if grown in hot weather. You will want to plant these types of cacti in areas where the temperature rarely exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).
Plants in zone 7 suffer from two problems that make them unsuitable for indoor gardening. First, they do not tolerate high humidity levels and so must be planted in locations with low relative humidities such as basements or attics. Second, they have slow growth rates and do not produce flowers until late summer or fall.
Cacti in zone 8 are fast growers that need bright light to thrive. It is best to place them outside in the early spring for them to get used to the sun gradually. When temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), they should be placed in shady locations.
Cacti in zone 9 are very hardy and grow well either inside or out. If you live in an area with mild winters, then these cacti can be grown outside. Otherwise, they should be brought inside in the fall and back outside in the spring.
How to Plant a Cactus
Proper planting is extremely important when growing cacti.
Sources & references used in this article:
Endangered cacti in the Chihuahuan Desert: I. Distribution patterns by HM Hernandez, RT Barcenas – Conservation Biology, 1995 – JSTOR
Cacti of the Trans-Pecos & adjacent areas by AM Powell, JF Weedin – 2004 – books.google.com
The cactus primer by AC Gibson, PS Nobel – 1986 – books.google.com
Basal cactus phylogeny: implications of Pereskia (Cactaceae) paraphyly for the transition to the cactus life form by EJ Edwards, R Nyffeler… – American Journal of …, 2005 – Wiley Online Library