Cacti are some of the oldest living plants on earth. If you have one and give it proper care, you can encourage faster development. But, how to make cactus grow faster?
It will come down to water, sunlight, space, and fertilizer. There are other considerations too, but these are the most poignant.
How Fast Do Cacti grow?
Cacti are slow growers, taking about two or three years to reach a ¼ to one inch. Although some Cactus species grow a little faster, they are the slowest growing succulents in the plant kingdom because of their native habitat.
Since Cacti come from the desert, they grow sluggish due to scarce water and nutrients along with bone dry soil. They adapted to conserve water, which allows Cacti to withstand long periods of drought.
For a plant to have an exchange of Carbon Dioxide intake and Oxygen emission, they must have many stomata. But, Cacti have fewer stomata which means a lackadaisical growth rate. Stomata allow for water loss due to Carbon Dioxide and this isn’t good for Cacti to survive.
Instead of leaves, Cacti have spines because of their water-storing capacity and they don’t soak up sunlight the same way as other plants. A Cactus has lower photosynthesis and chlorophyll with a soft, cotton-like layer on the skin. All these elements make Cacti grow slow.
How Can You Make Cactus Plants Grow Faster?
It’s important to understand that a Cactus shouldn’t grow too quickly. Their design and adaptations won’t allow for it. But, you can help the process to make a cactus grow faster.
An important aspect to ensuring a Cactus plant grows faster is its pot. You must clean and disinfect it before planting the Cactus to ensure root and soil health. Also, there must be plenty of drainage holes. The pot should be larger than the Cactus, giving a few inches deep and around.
This is because repotting should be rare while helping the plant absorb water and nutrients. Their potting soil should be something like rocks, sand or other large particles so water can flow through.
Repot Cactus plants about every few years, but make sure it’s not in the flowering growth stages. Only repot after dormancy but before the growing season begins. Take care with the roots and only repot into dry soil. It should go without water for a week to 10 days so the roots can get accustomed.
Cacti grow best with bright sunlight, but not scorching heat, thick humidity or direct sunlight. Species depending should only have a few hours of direct sunlight per day. Anything else may burn the Cactus plant and could cause it to go into dormancy. So, place it on a windowsill, a porch, or a balcony.
If you live in a colder climate, having an LED light throughout the winter is advisable. Also, desert cacti aren’t the same as indoor Cactus when it comes out of dormancy. So, you have to gradually introduce the Cacti to light and warmth because the shock can kill them.
Proper Airflow: Temperature
High humidity and stagnant air are certain to put Cacti in an early grave. It’s important it has plenty of airflows that are warm and dry. Don’t place it near drafts, air conditioners, or radiators.
Outside air is best, but if temperatures drop below 55°F, you will have to bring the Cactus inside. The prime temperature ranges for Cacti are between 60°F and 90°F.
The amount and quality of water a Cactus receives will be its most important factor for faster growth. Use a TDS meter to measure the dissolved solids in your tap water, aiming for 150ppm.
If this isn’t possible, set the Cactus outside for a couple of hours before watering. You can also use rainwater, distilled, bottled, or reverse-osmosis water. Also, repotting will have to happen more frequently.
Whether direct watering or misting, do this either early in the morning or in the evening when temperatures come down. As a general rule, if night temperatures are cool, use warm water and when daytime temperatures will be above 90°F, avoid watering.
Cactus Plant Fertilizer
Fertilizer is good for Cacti and helps them along several stages of growth. But only fertilize in summer and don’t fertilize during dormancy.
Slow-release fertilizer, like bone meal or eggshells, will last for a longer period of time. These slowly release nutrients into the Cactus without inflicting shock while mimicking its natural environment. For liquid fertilizers, dissolve to about ¼ to ½ the normal strength.
Remember, a Cactus doesn’t want a lot of water or nutrient-rich soil. Giving it plenty of room, air, light, warmth, water, and fertilizer will help make it grow faster.