Most cacti and succulents can be placed on a sunny or bright window all year round. During the winter it is beneficial for plants to have cool night temperatures of 8-10°C as a minimum, for a period of rest. Central heating is not usually a problem for these plants over the winter; just remember they need sufficient water to prevent them from shrivelling.
The compost must be open and free draining, to help prevent waterlogging and recreate natural habitat. Cacti and succulents compost is readily available from garden centres. Re-pot pot-bound plants in spring, into a pot only slightly larger in diameter. Holding spiny specimens can be tricky when re-potting so use thick strips of folded newspaper as tongs or an oven glove.
Watering, feeding and ventilation:
Spring and summer
- From April onwards water cacti and succulents freely, allowing excess water to drain away
- The compost should be allowed to dry out slightly between waterings, rather than keeping it constantly moist
- Feed established plants once a month during the growing season (April-September) using either a liquid houseplant feed or specialist liquid cacti feed
- Cacti and succulents need fresh air and particularly need good ventilation during the summer months
Autumn and winter
- From about September onwards reduce watering to a minimum, to encourage a period of rest
- Allow the compost to virtually dry out before watering
- Some desert dwellers can be left un-watered from early November to the end of February especially if they are away from overly heated rooms
Ideally use tepid rainwater for watering. The minerals in tap water builds up in the soil and can cause deposits on the leaves of succulents.