Anyone that knows me will know all too well that I love cacti. They are one of my favourite plants and I am on a mission to help people realise just how good they are as a house plant.
I started collecting cacti when I was about five years old. It is a passion that has carried on right to this day. They really captured my imagination. I love all their spikes and just how unusual they look. I used to imagine how any animal could even think of trying to eat them and how desperate they would need to be to even try!
The original plant that started my collection is still alive and well in my house. At its height my collection grew to include about 200 others. I really caught the bug for cacti at ten when I brought one of my prize specimens to a cactus show in Dublin and won first prize and a silver spoon from the Royal Horticultural Society. I remember trying to get my large spiky cactus onto a train in Waterford and on a Dublin Bus coach to Rathgar without causing a prickly situation with any passengers trying to squeeze by!
Not just spikes, flowers too!
My favourite ones are really the flowering, small and easy to grow plants such as
Every cactus is a succulent but not all succulents are cacti
Succulents are plants that hold water in their leaves. They usually prefer warm temperatures and that, and the fact they don’t need too much
Cacti like to be watered from mid-March to the end of September and not at all for the rest of the year. When you do water them you need to really drench them and then leave them to dry out completely before the next watering. I find that once every fortnight usually suffices. I also give them a feed with tomato food once a month in spring and summer. This will keep them in good flowering condition.
Repotting your cactus
It is important to monitor your cacti and they should be re-potted once a year into a slightly larger container with good drainage holes. I find terracotta pots not only work very well but look great too. Free-draining compost that is roughly
As you would imagine they need a good bright position to grow in.
Cacti are a fuss-free plant that more people should grow in their homes. And as long as you treat them right, just like you would treat your mother-in-law, you will not run into any prickly situations.