Grow cacti

Many cacti can be grown in the house providing a few simple rules are followed.


Cacti need plenty of light. A south-facing windowsill is ideal, or a conservatory if you have one.


Try to give them as much fresh air as possible especially during the summer.

Well-drained soil

Most cacti are adapted to live in dry areas so sitting in a pot of soggy soil will kill them. Always repot newly bought plants from garden centres into a mix of compost (John Innes No 2 is ideal) and fairly coarse grit. Squeeze some of the moist compost in your hand. It should fall apart when you open your hand again. If it seems to stick together add some more grit.

All pots used must have drainage holes and you need to put a layer of grit in the bottom of the pot as well to help drainage.


Water your plants regularly during the summer months beginning in spring when it starts to get warm (usually March or early April).

During warm, sunny weather you might water once a week – but make sure the soil has dried out completely before you water again.

Don’t water when the weather is wet and cold. Remember the best rule for watering cacti is
“If in doubt, don’t”.

Cacti rest during the winter so do NOT water them then. Depending on the weather stop watering some time in September.

If possible leave them in a slightly cooler room during this time.

Epiphytic cacti

Epiphytic cacti (eg Christmas cacti) are rather different. They can be treated much more like other house plants. Plant them in a rich compost (with some extra drainage material) and water them all year.

Cacti can be bought from most garden centres and some other shops as well. But take a look at some Things to avoid.

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