How do cacti hold back water?

Caring for cacti and making them bloom

Status: 04/30/2020 10:12 a.m.

Most of the cacti available from us come from warm, dry and sunny areas. In their natural environment, the plants have to survive longer periods of drought. This is not a problem for the plants belonging to the group of succulents - they store water over a longer period of time.

Cacti need a break to bloom

Cacti are particularly popular because they require relatively little maintenance and because they are often unusual in shape. But they look extraordinary especially when they form flowers. Some species only bloom for a few hours, some for a few days and some only at night. What is a spectacular sight in the great outdoors also works on the window sill at home. For this, cacti need a break from October to March.

Pour little and put in a cool place

A cool location and hardly any water - this is how cacti should spend their break in order to produce plenty of flowers.

Which form of rest is best for which cactus varies. For some genera (for example Melocactus, Gymnocalycium, Parodia) it is sufficient to limit watering extremely from November to the beginning of March. The cacti then only get a few drops of water every three to four weeks. There is no fertilization in this phase. The plants should be in a cool place. It is best to have a place with lots of light right next to the cool window pane, there should be no radiators underneath.

In the case of many other genera, it is advisable to move the plants to bright winter quarters with temperatures between 8 and 15 degrees. When moving, the substrate should already be dry so that the cacti do not rot. From March onwards, slowly get used to water and higher temperatures again by spraying the plants. If the cactus still does not bloom, it may be due to its age: some species bloom after two years, others only after ten or more years.

Water and care for cacti properly

During the growth phase, cacti regularly need water, they cannot tolerate waterlogging.

The biggest mistake in caring for cacti is too much water. They do not tolerate waterlogging at all. However, the thorny plants cannot do without water indefinitely. It is poured - preferably with stale water or rainwater - when the substrate is dry. One possibility is to put the entire pot in a container with water so that the substrate can soak up. Then drain well so that there is no rot.

A special liquid cactus fertilizer is recommended during the growth and flowering phase. The substrate, ideally special soil for cacti, should be loose and changed about every five years. Be careful when buying: Some shops offer cacti that have false flowers attached with hot glue. That harms the plant, buying it is not recommended.

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NDR 90.3 | Meeting point Hamburg | 02.03.2020 | 8:00 p.m.