How Often Should You Water a Cactus?

If you’re bringing home your first cactus, the process of watering is often a bit difficult to understand. Because the majority of cacti come from deserts that are dry and arid areas, you might think they prefer frequent watering however, there’s more that is apparent with these prickly cactus species.

They prefer soil that is drier However, cacti do require some moisture, particularly during their growth season. You’re probably thinking, what frequency should I keep my cactus hydrated?

For a happy cactus to grow it is essential to understand more than the frequency of watering it. There are a lot of things to think about when the watering of these plant, however you’ll be aware of all you need to know by reading this article.

How Often Should You Water a Cactus?

Let’s get started because there are a lot of aspects that must be addressed. If you are growing a cactus plant water is equally crucial like it’s for all other plants in the house.

How Much Water Do You Give a Cactus Plant?

It’s based on a variety of variables, such as the seasons, the location of the plant and the type of soil you’re using and the size of the plant relative with the container. Therefore, there’s no definitive answer as to the amount of water a cactus plant requires. But, these factors are discussed below to give the reader a clear understanding of this issue.

Although this is an unanswerable issue, it is important to be attentive to how the Cactus. If it is pale in color and then becomes wrinkled and wrinkled, it should be watered more often.

If you’re not sure you’re not sure, go cautiously and stay a bit under water instead of overwater. Plants can rebound from the underwater however, overwatering could cause irreparable harm.

cactus in tea cup with flowers

Can a Cactus be Overwatered?

It is possible to drown the cactus. Doing this is more serious than underwatering , as the consequences are irreparable. It is possible to overwater your cactus when you observe one of the following signs:

  • Rot or the decay of the plant
  • The stems and leaves begin to wilt and changing color, eventually changing from black to brown
  • The plant’s base transforms into black

The root rot is a problem which affects every plant, and it can develop when you overwater your Cactus. When the rot begins it will cause the roots to not be capable of absorbing water and nutrients. This is the reason the stems and leaves change hue and fall.

If you think your plant is suffering from root rot, you must remove the plant from its pot and examine the roots.

To take the plant out to take it out, place the plant’s bottom at the point where it touches the soil using one hand, then flip over the container upside-down using the other. This makes it easier for you to take the plant from its pot.

The roots ought to be soft and white However, if the root rot is present it will be evident that some parts of the root-ball that are brown and soft.

If you only have some sections of rotting roots, trim them using clean shears Remove the affected soil and clean the pot using bleach. After that, repot the plant using new soil.

When to Water a Cactus Cutting

Because of its small size and the limited root structure, cuttings is likely to require less watering than a cactus that is older. If you do decide to plant the cutting it will require an irrigation.

After you’ve potted your cutting, don’t water it until the initial 2 centimeters of topsoil are dry.

This will ensure that you don’t drown it and slow the growth. When the soil is dry enough, sprinkle water over the plant’s foundation till the ground is moist to a depth of three to five centimeters.

Watering a Cactus After Repotting

Repotting is not required until approximately 3-4 years. However, once you’re ready ensure you make use of a quality mixing of potting that drains properly.

Following the transplant it is essential to thoroughly water the plant. The water that you soak in the container following the transplant provides the cactus ample water to absorb nutrients, decreasing shock from transplants.

It is still essential to allow the water to drain from the bottom of the pot to let the soil dry out. Do not try to conserve the water that’s left by placing a tray or dish underneath the pot. This increases the risk that you will get root rot.

Watering a Cactus in Spring and Summer

When you are deciding how often to water a cactus in the indoors, it is important to consider the seasons. Because of the higher temperatures of winter and spring, soil is likely to dry out faster.

The location of the growing plant is also a major factor in this. The more hot the area is, it will require more moisture. require.

A well-drained soil is vital as it allows excess moisture to escape from the pot, thus keeping the roots healthy throughout the year.

In the warmer months Cacti require more water and therefore, watering should be done at least once every 10-14 days.

If you live in a dry, hot region, you might need to water your plants at least per week. Examine the soil for 2 to three days after watering to determine whether once per week is enough or if you require sprinkle greater (or or less) than once per week.

Watering a Cactus in Autumn and Winter

The season of growth runs from spring through summer, which means that the rate of growth decreases during winter and autumn. Because of this, it requires less frequent watering since it ceases to grow once it senses a decrease in temperature.

It is only necessary to water your cactus at least twice per month in winter because the colder temperatures hold the soil’s water.

In the fall, if it’s more than 5oC it is possible to apply water approximately once each 10 days. If not, you can follow the same schedule of watering like you do during the winter months.

In these times it is important to be sure to check the soil’s moisture prior to every watering. Cacti are able to handle dry soil, but certain soil moisture is needed.

Humidity affects the growth of plants, so when using central heating during winter, the humidity levels will decrease, increasing the soil’s evaporation rate.

An effective strategy is to purchase an small humidifier to ensure that your plants are at the right humidity when you have a lot of houseplants.

How to Water Cacti Indoors

Cacti are succulents that retain water in their stems and leaves The most dangerous thing that a plant owner can do is to overwater them. As we’ve mentioned, overwatering can cause root rot, and is best avoided. The effects of underwatering are less severe, however it can harm the plant because the roots become dry and slow the growth of the plant.

As mentioned previously the frequency at which you water the plant is contingent upon the time of year, however the method of watering is the same regardless of the time of year. It is recommended to soak your soil till you can see water draining from the soil at the bottom in the container.

From an evolutionary perspective From an evolutionary perspective, cacti get very little rainfall in the wild since they are desert plants however, when it rains it rains. This is why it’s important to soak the soil completely every time you water it.

Cactus Watering Criteria

The following guidelines will determine the amount and frequency you’ll have to water your Cactus.

Cactus Size

When a cactus is small enough to have established its root ball It will require to be watered more often than older cacti due its higher rate of growth.

As the cactus grows the surface area and volume ratio decreases. This reduces the loss of water off the plant’s surface. This means it needs water less often than cacti that are younger.

sing The Right Type of Water When Watering Cacti

It’s true however, the kind of water you drink can impact the condition of your Cactus.

Soft water

The treatment is done by using sodium or potassium to eliminate calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water with high sodium levels, the health of your cactus can deteriorate due to sodium buildup in the soil.

The plant is dehydrated and reduces its capacity absorb nutrition, limiting the growth of the plant and being a reason that plants die..

Hard water

Hard water is more enriched with more magnesium and calcium, which may leave permanent marks on the cactus because of accumulation in the soil.

The use of hard water may also impact the growth of your plant and its overall health.

If you notice buildup It can be treated by repotting your cactus using new soil. However, it’s advised to only transplant the plant every 3 to four years.


This is the most suitable type of water that a cactus requires since it has all the essential minerals that cacti require. Rainwater might not be readily all year round however, you can save it to use later on.

It is also possible to dilute the tap water by adding rainwater to prevent the accumulation of salts. In the end, you’ll have to transplant the cactus after the buildup has occurred in time.

Treating Mineral Buildup

If you notice a buildup of minerals You can get rid of it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon vinegar and rainwater or distillate water (1 part vinegar to 4 parts water). Put a cotton ball into the mixture and then wipe off the dirt on the plant.

It is also recommended to take out the initial few centimeters of soil that are affected due to the accumulation, and replace it with fresh soil. If you’re repotting, can clean the empty container with this mixture to dissolve any remaining minerals that remain in the container.

Type Of Soil Determines How Much Water The Plant Needs

The most important factors in growing cacti is to use excellent soil. They thrive in the porous and sandy soil that drains easily. This type of soil allows excess water to drain out of the pot after the cactus has taken up enough water.

The cactus plants get the proper drainage and aeration. The organic matter present in the soil is essential as it supplies the roots with water and enhances their ability to dry.

Type and Size of the Containers You Use

There are a variety of containers that you can pick from. The type of container you choose will determine the frequency of watering or not.

Ceramic Pots

The pots are tempered by clay. Ceramic containers that are not glazed allow water to drain away from the walls, and also help to absorb moisture from the soil. These kinds of pots are a great option for cacti as they prefer soil that drains quickly.

Ceramic pots that are glazed don’t retain moisture, which means the soil takes longer to dry. If you are using these pots, you should be sure to check the soil’s moisture prior to when you water your plant.

The benefit of these containers is that they are suited for indoor settings as well as their ability to shield plants from sudden temperature fluctuations.

Terracotta Pots

Similar to ceramic pots, terracotta vessels are made of clay, and are not glazed. They are comparatively porous, allow water to drain efficiently and absorb moisture from the sides.

In addition, they’re lighter and less expensive than ceramic pots, which makes pots a great option for growing cacti.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are the most popular since they are inexpensive and durable. They are also light and are available in a variety of styles and colors.

The drawback to the pots you can buy is they do not drain quickly If you do make use of them, you’ll not water your cactus as often to avoid root decay.

Fiberglass Pots

The pots are durable and can be made into a variety of sizes and shapes. But, water isn’t able to drain efficiently out of these pots, which is why when you’re trying to grow desert cacti, don’t make use of this kind of pot.

If you already have this pot, make sure you water the plant once it is completely dry so that you do not overwater.

Metal Pots

They are extremely robust and resistant to freezing temperatures. If you live near an ocean, they may begin to rust after a few years however, you can cover them with a coating to stop this.

One of the major drawbacks for these pots is that in direct sunlight they’ll absorb a lot of heat, causing burning to the Cactus.

The majority of metal containers do not have drainage holes, therefore it is recommended to drill holes in the bottom of your container if you intend to use one. It is recommended that you water your plant after the soil has dried in order to prevent bacterial infections from the root ball.

However, metal pots aren’t ideal for cacti, and it’s better to use other types.

Wood Pots

Wooden pots won’t break as they age, which is why they’re perfect to grow cacti outside. They also retain moisture and drain slowly.

However, the roots may be rotten very quickly if pots are flooded with excessive amounts of water.

If you’re planning to use wood containers then cover the inside of the container with plastic to prevent root decay. In the event that you’re already using a wooden pot, you can you can water your cactus less often because the pot holds water for a longer period of time.


How Often Do You Water a Cactus – Answered

The above tips can help you establish an appropriate watering schedule. It will also decrease the chance that your plant will be damaged, which can boost the development of the plant and its overall health.

But, knowing the best way to properly water your cactus will take time. However, doing it will provide you with a clear knowledge of what’s best for your plant and you’ll be able to enjoy cultivating cacti for your home later on, and that is worth the effort.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)