Cactus is a plant that belongs to the Cactaceae family. It is also known as Cacti and has a very unique appearance. But here’s the kicker. Cactus comes in over 2,000 varieties.
You can have cactus in all shapes and sizes. It is also easy to take care of. The plant’s natural habitat is the desert. Thus, the cactus grows in an environment where survival is a challenge and since it does not get much water or other useful substances in its natural environment, it is very resilient.
Cactus can go months without getting water. Meaning, its main goal is survival with limited resources. Cacti’s nature hugely affects its growth. It does not focus on growth and branch generation. This is why it is very hard to grow a cactus.
Rapid growth is against cacti’s nature. Thus, if you want to grow a big cactus and grow it fast, you need to be committed to the task.
5 Ways to Grow Cactus Faster
Even though it is a big challenge, you can fasten cactus growth. It will not be easy, but it is definitely manageable.
To grow cactus faster you need to implement a strict caring schedule: water according to accurate schedule, provide necessary fertilizers and ensure good lighting.
Here are the best practices to grow cactus faster:
1. Potting mix
Choosing a good potting mix for your cacti is the first step towards growth. I recommend you to get well-draining soil for your plant. Additionally, make sure the soil has a mix of sand, gravel, or granite. This will provide a natural feeling for the plant and support healthy growth.
2. Put it in a well-lighted space
The natural habitat of the cactus is a desert. The plant is used to direct sunlight. If you put cactus in a dark space, it will have a negative influence on the plant.
Pick a space that gets bright sunlight for at least a few hours daily. Before choosing the space, learn about the origins of the plant.
If your cacti come from a desert, then place them in a spot with direct sunlight. However, if it is a tropical cactus, then indirect light will work better.
3. Provide good fertilizer
Feeding your cacti is one of the best ways to fasten its growth.
Fertilizer works best for grown cactus. If your plant is super small, you should restrain from using this method. I recommend you use a slow-release fertilizer.
Cactus is not used to getting a lot of nutrients at once. Thus, it’s best to add fertilizer into the routine slowly. It is recommended to use fertilizers during the growing season.
4. Dormancy period
In a natural environment, cactus go dormant during summer. They stop growing in order to survive. Even though it sounds like you should avoid this period, it actually works the other way.
The dormancy period is necessary for the plant. It works as a natural cycle for the plant. I suggest you decrease watering once it gets colder and creates a dormancy period for your plant.
This period will last about 1,5 months. During this time, you will need to water the plant only 2 times. But remember to decrease the watering very slowly before the period starts.
5. Watering is the key
Water your cactus once a week during the peak of the growth period. During cooler seasons water it once every 2 weeks. Be sure to water the soil well and do not splash water on the plant. Water only the soil and remove excess water.
How fast do cactus grow?
The recommendations above will help you grow cacti faster but have realistic expectations. Cactus will not grow rapidly in a year even with the best possible conditions.
So, what is a realistic growth speed for cactus? Cactus will grow most noticeably during the first year of its existence. After that, you can expect it to grow 1-3 inches for 2-3 years and after that, the growth will eventually decrease.
If you are new to succulents this growth speed will seem very slow. Even if you are doing everything right, your cactus will not grow rapidly. It is very important to have patience and realistic expectations.
How to make a cactus grow arms?
You cannot make cactus grow arms. It is a natural process that happens if the cactus is well taken care of. Cactus can grow sprouts, leaves, and “arms”.
In good conditions, the cactus grows and produces more branches. Cactus are different and some of them grow sprouts, while others grow “arms”.
The Saguaro Cactus is the most popular type of cactus that grows arms. This is a desert cactus and it grows very slowly. Producing arms is a process that continues for years.
Saguaro can live up to 200 years old and it grows as high as 60 feet. If you are growing cactus indoors, there is a big chance it is not a Saguaro.
So, how can you encourage your plant to produce more sprouts? The answer is simple, take care of it and the plant will eventually tend to its growing needs.
All the recommendations above should speed up the growth and development process.
How to grow cactus indoors?
Cactus is a low-maintenance indoor plant. It does not require much attention or anything at all. To grow a healthy and good-looking cactus at home, pay attention to these factors:
- Good lighting
- Well-draining soil
- Potting mix made especially for cacti
First of all, make sure your cactus gets enough sunlight daily. This rule works all year long except for the dormancy period.
Secondly, deliver potting mix and soil that is specially made for cactus. Cacti do not like holding too much moisture, so always pour away excess water.
Water it regularly but not very often. If this is a little bit confusing, here is an explanation. You should have a strict watering schedule for cactus, but you should not overwater it.
Even though the plant will survive irregular watering, why do it? Watering regularly will help your cacti grow healthy. One thing you should pay attention to is the type of water.
Soft water with fewer minerals is the best option for this plant. Cacti are not used to getting a lot of substances that might accumulate in the soil. So, by using soft water, you will prevent plant damage.
As I already mentioned, placement is very important. And, not only in terms of lighting. Cactus will not enjoy a very humid environment or a very cold one. It should be placed at a spot with good airflow. Cactus is used to having dry soil and surroundings. So, good airflow will ensure it is doing good.
How to grow cactus from cuttings?
Propagating cactus from its cuttings is the most common and easiest way of growing a cactus. It is very challenging to grow cactus from seed, but growing it from cutting stems is easy.
To grow cactus from cutting, follow these simple steps:
- Choose a leaf or a sprout that has developed noticeably separately
- Cut the chosen sprout at the thinnest/weakest attachment point
- Put the cuttings and let them dry the “scarring” point
- Put a cutting in a small pot with well-draining soil
- Insert the base of the cutting in the soil, 1-2 inches deep (depending on the size of the cutting)
- Make sure the cutting stands well in the soil
Believe me, this process is as easy as it seems. You do not need to worry as long as you do not overwater the new plant. It is best to propagate cactus at the end of the winter or at the beginning of the spring.
How to make cactus grow flowers?
To make cactus bloom you should understand how cactus grow flowers generally.
Cactus flowers are a result of direct and bright sunlight that is provided by the desert and the dormancy period. Flowers are a result of an after-dormant condition. This is why it is so important to let your cactus go dormant.
Reduce watering during the winter and place your cactus in a dark place where the temperature is lower. During the dormancy period water cacti only once a month. After the weather gets warmer move your plant to a spot where it will get bright and direct sunlight.
This alternation of winter and spring creates a good condition for cacti blooming. Of course, this does not guarantee that cactus will grow flowers. It is actually a very complicated task to make cactus bloom. However, you will have more chances if you follow these recommendations.
If you are keen to have cacti flowers, then I suggest you buy a plant that is already blooming. This way you will be sure that the plant you are buying is able to produce flowers. If it happened once, it is more likely to happen again.
Cactus usually bloom in their third or fourth year after sprouting. Some varieties take a longer time. And most of the cactus do not bloom indoors. The lighting is just not enough for the flowers. But you should not worry. Cactus itself is a very nice-looking plant even without flowers.