How Much Water Does Your Cactus Need?
The Seven Best Tips For Watering Cacti!

Cacti are famous for being one of the only plants that can survive in deserts despite their harsh temperatures and lack of moisture. While this reputation of resilience is often a selling point for many first-time plant owners, it can also be their downfall as some tend to underestimate how much care cacti actually require. As such, we have compiled a list of seven tips to help you on your cacti owning journey.

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Jimena Bolívar

April 25, 2021

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The first thing to understand about cacti is that their unique ability to withstand the desert climate is not a coincidence.

These impressive succulents have adapted to be able to survive the way they do.

Some of these adaptations include having spines instead of leaves, hibernating and shallow root systems.

Visit the link below to learn more about how cacti survive in the desert.

How Does a Cactus Survive in the Desert? Six Reasons Why Cacti Are So Great At Surviving!

With their reputation of being hot and arid, the desert is most likely the last place you would expect to find vegetation. Despite this, cacti have thrived and continue to thrive in deserts despite their unforgiving climates. Today, we will be discussing all of the ways cacti have evolved to beat the odds and become the ultimate survivalists.

As such, your best bet when caring for your cactus is to recreate the conditions they are used to as closely as possible.

Picture of a Cacti in the Desert

Do Not Underwater.

Like other plants, cacti use water to photosynthesize.

Did You Know?

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into food.

Because moisture is not readily available in the desert, cacti have developed the ability to store large amounts of water in case of a not-so-rainy day.

However, despite being the ultimate desert survivalists, cacti cannot survive without water forever.

Signs your cactus is feeling a little thirsty include a shriveled and, in more severe cases, calloused appearance and discolouration, that is, your cactus may become faded or brown.

Do Not Overwater.

Being desert natives, you would think your cactus would appreciate being watered generously often.

However, overwatering a cactus is one of the worst things you can do.

Why? Because prolonged exposure to moisture will cause the roots of your cactus, and eventually its stem, to rot.

Did You Know?

The Sahara Desert gets between zero and three inches of rain per year.

When watering your cactus, a great rule to follow is waiting until the soil it has been planted in has dried out completely.

Picture of the Soil in the Desert

If your cactus begins to rot, darkens dramatically in colour or feels squishy, chances are, you are overwatering it.


Creating a watering schedule is a great way to avoid under or overwatering your cactus.

Check out the link below to learn how to create your very own watering schedule.

Do My Succulents Need Water? The Top Ten Tips for Watering Succulents!

Succulents are known for not having to be watered as often as other indoor plants but they still need water to survive. Today we will be discussing how and when to water your succulents.

Use Well Draining Soil.

This may not be the advice you think of when researching how to water your cactus.

However, this is a very important tip because of the moisture problem mentioned previously.

Put simply, well-draining soil is soil that allows water to flow through it freely.

There are a variety of commercially available cactus soil, however you can make your own by combining regular soil, sand and pebbles.

Use a Pot with Drainage.

Once more, drainage is very important for cacti and the simplicity of this tip may shock you.

When deciding which pot to plant your cactus in, make sure to choose a container that is designed to prevent excess water from pooling.

Check out our favourite pots below that allow for drainage without sacrificing style!

Succulent Planters

The design of these planters makes them perfect for succulents!

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Pay Attention To Your Climate.

Chances are you don’t live in the desert and so the climate your cactus experiences won’t nearly be as harsh as the conditions they have adapted to thrive in.

However, it is important to know that if you live in a warmer climate with low humidity, you will probably have to water your cactus more than someone who lives in a colder area with more moisture.

Additionally, outdoor cacti need to be watered more frequently than those inside due to their constant expose to direct sunlight.

Pay Attention To the Seasons.

Cacti hibernate.

Therefore, your cactus will require different amounts of water depending on whether it is in a period of active growth or dormancy.

Fun Fact!

The prickly pear cactus, mammillaria and echinocactus are all examples of cacti that slow their growth during the colder, winter months.

Pay Attention to the Size of your Cactus.

You would think that larger cacti require more water.

However, during their growth phase, young cacti require more water than their full-grown counterparts to create the food they need.

Picture of a Growing Cactus


While there is no doubt that cacti are the ultimate survivalists, it is important to understand your cactus’ needs to give them the best possible care.

Thanks for reading!

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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