Fertilizer For Cacti & Succulents
Cacti are not only beautiful but they provide a great source of nutrients for your plants. They are very hardy and can survive harsh conditions such as extreme heat or cold, drought, pests and diseases. Some of the most common types of cacti include:
Pachypodium grandiflorum (also known as P. gigantea)
Pachypodium luteolata (also known as P. japonica)
Pachypodium obscuripinnicum (also known as P. peruviana)
These species are all native to Mexico and Central America, though some are grown commercially in the United States. All of these species grow well in dry, sandy soil.
The main purpose of fertilization with cactus fertilizer is to increase the growth rate and vigor of your plant. Other purposes include increasing the yield from your plants, improving the flavor and color of your fruit, and even keeping pests away from your plants! There are many different kinds of cactus fertilizer available today.
You will find that there are two primary types: liquid and granular.
Liquid cactus fertilizer is the easiest type to use and it dissolves instantly in water. All you have to do is mix the concentrate into water and then pour it onto your soil. It is important that you only water your plants using this solution because too much nitrogen can be harmful to your plants.
Water regularly after using this solution and then check the pH of the soil to make sure it is in the correct range.
Granular cactus fertilizer is in solid form and is mixed into the soil where your plants are growing. It is best applied in the spring and again in the late summer or early fall. You should only use this type on sandy soils because clay soil can keep the nutrients from soaking into the ground.
Follow the directions on the package for the amount to use with different types of plants.
There are other types of cacti fertilizer on the market, some of which are organic and others that are synthetic in nature. Many companies make their own versions of these products, each claiming theirs is the best. Do your own research before settling on one product over another.
Tips for Using Fertilizer on Cacti
Cacti are undemanding plants that thrive in many different environments. If you have decided to start growing cacti, just follow these tips and your plants should grow strong and healthy.
* Choose a well-draining soil: Cacti need soil that is porous, so aeration is good. If the soil you have is heavy and doesn’t allow air to pass through it, you can add perlite or vermiculite to it. This will help to keep the soil loose and allow the water to drain through it.
* Watering: When growing cacti, they only need to be watered once a week at most. Some types need even less water than that, so always check the tags that came with your plants to see how much water they need.
* Location: Cacti can be grown indoors or out, depending on the type you choose. Outdoor plants need to be situated in a place that gets full sun at least part of the day. Indoor plants can be placed just about anywhere as long as they get natural light.
* Pests: Aphids are a common pest for cacti. These little green insects like to suck the juice from your plants. You can purchase an insecticide specifically for this problem or you can just wash them off with water or a mild soap solution.
* Watch for mold: If mold develops on your plants, it is an indication that the area is too damp. You should increase the circulation in that area to help prevent this from happening again.
Whether you want a piece of art for your home or an addition to your garden, cacti can meet that need. These plants are low maintenance and come in many different varieties, so you’ll be able to find one (or several) to fit your needs. Start growing cacti today.
Sources & references used in this article:
Potential of fertilization to improve nutritive value of pricklypear cactus (Opuntia lindheimeri Engelm.) by CL Gonzalez – Journal of Arid Environments, 1989 – Elsevier
The fertilizer requirements of cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) under summer rainfall conditions in South Africa by AS Claassens, AB Wessels – III International Congress on Cactus Pear …, 1996 – actahort.org
Nutrition and yield of ‘Gigante’cactus pear cultivated with different spacings and organic fertilizer by PER Donato, SLR Donato, JA Silva… – Revista Brasileira de …, 2016 – SciELO Brasil
Extraction/exportation of macronutrients by cladodes of ‘Gigante’cactus pear under different spacings and organic fertilization by PER Donato, SLR Donato, JA Silva… – Revista Brasileira de …, 2017 – SciELO Brasil
Effects of planting densityand organic fertilization doses on productive efficiency of cactus pear by NGDEME SILVA, MVFDOS SANTOS… – Revista …, 2016 – SciELO Brasil
Nopalea cactus pear fertilized with nitrogen: morphometric, productive and nutritional characteristics by JRA Leite¹, ECJ Sales¹, FP Monção¹… – Acta Scientiarum …, 2018 – SciELO Brasil
Productivity of Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Miller under different N and P fertilization and plant population in north-east Brazil by JCB Dubeux Jr, MVF Dos Santos… – Journal of Arid …, 2006 – Elsevier
Effect of N fertilizer on autumn floral flush and cladode N in prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) by A Nerd, R Mesika, Y Mizrahi – Journal of horticultural science, 1993 – Taylor & Francis
Cacti (Opuntia sps.) as forage in Argentina dry lands by JM Grünwaldt, JC Guevara, EG Grünwaldt… – Revista de la Facultad …, 2015 – redalyc.org