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

People throughout the world adore cacti for their resilience. Read ahead to learn how you can make your cacti-owning journey more pleasant.

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Kelly Adams

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 having shallow root systems. When caring for your cactus, your best bet is to recreate the conditions they are used to as closely as possible.

Only water your cactus when the top surface of the soil has completely dried. During the driest time of the year, you may have to water them once a week. However, the frequency depends on the climate of your area. Generally, you can expect to water them every ten to fourteen days at most.

Picture of a Cacti in the Desert

How Often Do I Water My Cactus?

You can expect to water your cacti every week in the driest portion of the year. However, typically you can water them every ten to fourteen days. It is crucial to water them only when the top layer of the soil has dried as too much water isn’t good for the aridity-loving cactus.

Tips to Water Your Cactus

Cacti are famous for being one of the only plants that can survive in deserts despite their harsh temperatures and low moisture levels. 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

Here are some tips to help you water your cactus the smart way:

1. 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 discoloration; that is, your cactus may become faded or brown.

2. 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 color, 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. Lets learn more.

3. Use Well Draining Soil.

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

However, this is an essential 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.

If you’re confused, I recommend you buy this soil mix for your cactus:

4. 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 favorite pots below that allow for drainage without sacrificing style! You should seriously consider getting the one on this link.

Succulent Planters

The design of these planters makes them perfect for succulents!

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5. 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 essential 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 exposure to direct sunlight.

6. 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.

7. 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


Your cactus needs water every week during the driest season. Otherwise, you will have to water it every ten to fourteen days for the rest of the year. There are many other things that you can do to ensure a healthy cactus; so consider ensuring proper drainage in the pot.

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

If you’re new to all of this and wish to learn more, I think I know what you should do. I recommend that you read this comprehensive guide that will tell you about different types of cacti.

How Many Types of Cactus Are There? The Best Ones You Can Get!

Cacti are brilliant plants that can thrive without using too much water. Read ahead to learn about the different types of cacti!

Kelly Adams Picture

By Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly 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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Kelly Adams Picture

Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly 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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