Cactus and succulent plants have developed the ability to survive under adverse conditions of little water, poor soil and extreme heat – but not neglect or abuse. The best culture comes from careful observation of the plant’s responses. When you know your plants you can tell by just looking at them when they need water, more or less light, etc. A green thumb is really just tender loving care. With proper care, cacti and succulents can be extremely rewarding for their beautiful and unusual forms and flowers.


2 Parts Organic + 2 Parts Porous Inorganic + 1 part Sand.
For the organic part use leaf mold, composted fir bark, or a planting mix like Supersoil. The porous inorganic part can be Perlite or agricultural pumice. Sand must be quite course, like washed plaster sand. Never use beach sand.


Unglazed red clay pots are probably best for the beginner. Plastic, glazed or porcelain pots can be used but more care must be taken to avoid over-watering. Any container must have a drain hole, at least the diameter of your small finger. Use the smallest size pot that seems appropriate for the size and shape of the plant. Usually a pot that is one inch greater in diameter than the plant will be fine.


A gravel top dressing is attractive and functional. It improves water penetration and helps to prevent stem rot and algae growth. It also keeps lighter particles, such as pumice, from floating over the top of the pot.


You will have to determine the best light conditions by watching your plants. Strong light is needed by most cactus and succulents for best form and blooms. Most can also take full sun for several hours a day, but others sunburn quickly in midday summer sun. Begin in filtered light and move into the sun gradually as you watch for sunburn and excess heat that can cause root damage. Few succulents do well in subdued light.


All cactus and succulents need good ventilation so don’t place them in damp, unventilated locations. Lack of ventilation encourages insect pests that are attracted to the fleshy leaves of succulents. Since their natural habitat is hot and dry, they have little resistance to these pests.


Remember that cacti and succulents evolved in nature to be very water-thrifty plants. They still need water, but generally less frequently than most ordinary plants. When you water, it is best to soak the soil mix thoroughly. Don’t water again until the mix is almost dry. Water less frequently and allow the soil to become more dry when the plant is resting or dormant (usually in winter).


When the plant is actively growing, a diluted, balanced or low nitrogen fertilizer can be used each time you water. Liquid or water soluble fertilizers diluted to ¼ or ½ strength normally give good results.


Mealy bugs, spider mites and scale are the usual pests. Consult your local garden supply shop for appropriate pesticides and use strictly according to instructions.


If you have questions, please feel free to contact us @ The Prickly Palace