“Care for Cactus as cactus cares for your well-being.”
We all know how appearance can be deceiving for some, but, with thorny exterior and contrasting interior, cacti are the classical example of “never judge a book by its cover.”
These knights in prickly armor—with psychoactive agents coursing through their stem—are known in native american and Chinese culture as the plants, which induces calmness and ward off conflicts from the house. While the spikes on their stems fight back the negative energy protecting their owner from misfortunes. (Check out what Money plants are famous for)
Native Americans, historically, believed cactus, or cacti in plural, could allow them to reach the spiritual world, and thus, to travel the world in between, they would care for cactus and often extract its juice to drink.
The old practice diminished with time, but the value of cactus remained in the accounts, if not as a spiritual guide, then as a guardian plant.
Legend has it…
Legend has it; a boy once fell in love with the tribe’s chief daughter but knew they could never be together as long as their status difference stands between them. When the girl’s father promised her hand to another man, they ran away to start a new life elsewhere together.
But the chief was furious with his daughter’s action. And so, he collected his best men and sent them out to find the young lovers.
Day and night, the couple ran for their lives but couldn’t seem to escape the hunter’s chase.
Finally tired and scared, they pleaded the Goddess of land to hide them from the chief’s huntsmen. The Goddess, bearing a soft heart, listened to their plea and created an opening in the mountain to hide the lovers.
The chief’s men searched far and wide but failed to discover their location. Vowing to catch the couple, the men stayed near the mountain all night long.
The young lovers, hidden inside the mountain, waited for the men to leave, but when the men didn’t leave, they, protecting each other, turned into cactus.
The story, albeit a myth, portrays the cactus as a symbol of love and Protection, and Fen Shui—a traditional Chinese concept— seems to agree with it.
According to fen Shui, cactus is symbolized by fire energy. Their presence combats the invasion of outward negative force, thus, blocking the Sha chi—bad luck– from entering the house.
Cacti’s association with the spiritual energy gained them a lot of fame in the past, and it’s only after early 1800; they were brought in Europe and cherished as ornamental plants.
Cacti care requires a small effort. They are also pretty low maintenance plants making makes them a perfect choice for workaholics.
Where to Buy Cactus?
Cactus has almost 1700 species, including desert cactus and tropical one, but only a few of cactus types are commonly bought as indoor plants—probably due to their size and habitat.
For instance, Blossfeldia liliputana is the best choice for workplace ornaments or as a gift because of its small size—hardly a finger length. Prickly pear is one of the common cacti you will find at homes. Saguaro cactus care about little nourishment and can outlast even your own life. Christmas cactus blooms when rests of the plants sleep, and Mexican rose is famous for its beautiful rose pattern shape.
In any case, dessert plants are suitable for warmer climates, and tropical cactus for rainy places.
Most of the cacti are native to the Americas, but they are quite common around the world and would be available in any nearest nursery.
You can also purchase it online at Amazon if your nearest location has limited stock.
How to Care for Cactus
Almost all of the Cactus types needs little care, but still, require basic essentials necessary to thrive. Here, we have listed down what care cactus requires in terms of water, soil, light, and cultivation.
1. Soil & Fertilizer: A mix of pumice,grit, and soil will be enough to care for cactus nutrition
Cactus requires good drainage soil to thrive.
A mixture of pumice and grit in your regular soil would work well to provide air and good drainage. However, the portion of soil should be less, as the soil tends to absorb moisture risking the cactus roots to rot.
As for fertilizers, desert cactus and tropical one both requires low nutrition any indoor gardening fertilizer—liquid or grainy- is fine to use, provided it’s diluted to half or other third of its strength.
“If the cactus is infected with spider mites or mealy bugs, spray the plant with organic antiseptic components, such as Neem oil or vinegar solution, until the infection is gone.”
2. Water: To care for cactus, water the plant once a week in summer, and once a month in winter.
Most of the Cactus species thrive in summer and are dormant in winter. They, being succulent in nature, have the ability to store water for rainy days, thus, they can survive without water in the dormant season.
Once a week in the growing season, and once a month in winter would be enough to care for a desert cactus. For tropical or winter growing cacti, you might need to water it once a week in the fall as well, depending upon their blooming period.
When in doubt, let the cactus soil dry out completely before the next watering.
“If your cactus plant is displaying signs of discoloring, spots, or dropped leaves, you might be over-watering the cactus.”
3. Light: Cactus needs a few hours of daily sunlight to thrive.
Every plant needs sunlight, regardless of their habitat, and same applies to the cactus.
The desert cactus would need more light than tropical ones, but in general, a few hours of sunlight would keep the cactus nourish.
To know whether cactus is getting enough light, check their growth and texture. If the cactus is not getting the required light quota, it would either grow leaning towards the sun direction in a silent plea, or it would become dull and dark.
In the case of over-lighting, the cactus would begin to lose its color.
Legend has it, if cactus is placed inside the room, instead of near a window or a door, it would turn on their owners and radiate negative energy towards them.
While, there isn’t any evidence of the misfortune befalling to cactus lovers, placing it on windows seems a logical explanation because, despite being an excellent indoor plant, cactus needs care and a lot more light to thrive.
4. Propagation: Cactus can easily grow from cutting provided an early care is taken to dry the cutting first.
Cactus can reproduce from its seed but cutting is the common method of propagation.
Just cut a piece of stem, leave it for few days to dry, and once the callus is formed over the cut, transfer it to the new pot.
Cactus grows slowly, thus, it might take a couple of months before the budding cactus would reach maturity.
When planning for propagation, do keep their growing season in mind though. If they are cultivated in off-season, they might die or progress slowly. For instance, tropical cactus such as Christmas cactus growing season is late spring, thus propagating it at that time would escalate the growth.
A lot of People are attracted to green beauty but not everyone has a green thumb to know to how to care for cactus.
Cactus, with their hardy appearance and survival instincts, would be excellent indoor plants for the one with the love of all green but a busy schedule.
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