Plant Care

The ultimate guide to cactus care

Lovin' your cacti

With over 60 years of growing experience, we know a thing or two about cacti and succulent care here at Cactus Country – and we love to share! Cacti and succulents grow in some of the most inhospitable environments on Earth, so they are likely to stick around for a while if you treat them right. Use the resources below to learn how to give your prickly friend all the TLC it needs to thrive for years to come! Be sure to contact us if you have any cacti questions or would like us to source you a specific plant for your garden. We are always happy to help!

Plant Care

Useful Q&A'S

Cacti are part of the succulent family, although cacti have spines to protect them from the sun and the hoards of hungry llamas, alpacas and other soft nosed animals! Cacti also store water – they shrink during long droughts and swell after a storm. This makes them very drought hardy. Most cacti can handle the hottest part of your garden, whereas succulents don’t always handle frost or super hot conditions.

Cacti come in all shapes and sizes. A mature mammillaria cactus can grow to 20cm, while a mature pachycereus pringlei could be anywhere from 5m tall up to 15m+ at full height (50+ year old).

The biggest problem cactus owners have is giving them too much water. If you’re used to indoor plants, you’re going to have to change from regular watering to minimal water and more sunlight. Cacti like direct light and would rather one good drink of water than smaller, more frequent drinks. Cacti don’t like wet feet, so avoid planting them in areas that get a lot of water and don’t have good drainage.

Most of our cacti can survive harsh frosts and long, hot summers. Any mature cactus over 50cm tall can handle just about anything, including long droughts.

You sure can, just make sure it is located in a position with good direct sunlight and rotate the pot to avoid it growing lopsided.

In winter when the weather is cooler and there is more rain, you shouldn’t need to water cacti at all – unless you have them indoors. Even so, you may only need to water them once a month in cooler conditions. In summer, you may need to water them once or twice a week depending on maturity. An easy way to check if your cactus needs water is to put your finger or a knife in the soil. If you find moisture in the top 3-10cm of soil there is no need to water. If not, they will prefer a good soak and then nothing again until the soil is completely dry.

Some cacti can handle full sun and others will perform best with half a day of sunlight. Plants with beautiful blue coloured skin will do best in partial shade as sometimes the harsh sun can bleach the skin. Some cacti, like epiphyllum, naturally grow in forest environments and can handle much more shade.

Most cacti and succulents can tolerate harsh conditions, such as long hot summers and frost, however there are some species that do better in warmer conditions. Cactus Country can help you select plants that will do well in your local environment.

Most people want to keep their plants in pots to control the speed of growth and allow them to be moved around. Cacti grow well in pots when using a high quality cactus mix and adding slow release fertilizer every 12 months. For speedier growth, plant your cacti in the ground and add some slow release fertiliser to the soil around the root zone.

Yes, all cacti flower, however some cacti don’t flower until they are 10+ years old. Interestingly, Cactus Country’s hybrid cacti tend to flower earlier than cacti collected from the wild. We have noticed some third and fourth generation cacti flowering within three years, which is extremely fast.

Some cacti can be toxic to pets. Euphorbia, for example, has a white sap, which is poisonous to touch or ingest. Cactus spines can also be hazardous to inquisitive pets. That being said, there are ways to safely incorporate cacti into a pet-friendly household. Contact Cactus Country to enquire about the safest plants for your individual needs.

Yes, they can. We have some cheeky cockatoos and galahs that eat the tops out of cacti! If you catch them make sure you shoo them away quickly so that they don’t get a taste for them. Otherwise they’ll be back regularly and they will destroy them.

You sure can! Follow Tarn @cactuscountryplants on Instagram and/or Facebook to see what plants are on offer. You can also email if you are looking for something specific. We also have an online shop, which we update regularly with new plants.

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