Cacti are popular plants known for their prickly spines and succulent leaves.
They’re also relatively easy to grow, but there are a lot of questions people ask, like “How to take care of cactus?” Or “How to make cactus grow faster?”
Well, we are here to answer all of your questions regarding cacti.
People usually opt for cacti as they are aesthetically appealing and less demanding. You don’t have to water them regularly because of their drought-resistant property.
However, they have some needs like other plants to grow properly. Cacti can grow quickly in the right conditions.
It will depend on the type of cactus you have and how old it is.
For example, a saguaro cactus can grow up to 3 feet in just one year, whereas a barrel cactus may only grow around an inch in the same period.
You can make your cacti grow quicker by providing them with the things mentioned in this article below. So, let’s find out how to make cactus grow faster.
- How to Make Cactus Grow Faster? | Cacti Are Slow Growers!
- Environmental Factors of Cacti Slow Growth
- How to Make Cactus Grow Faster?
How to Make Cactus Grow Faster? | Cacti Are Slow Growers!
Do you know that cacti are slow-growing plants that take a long time to grow? They grow at a rate of one inch per year.
The reason for the slow growth of cacti is their low water intake and lack of nutrients. These plants have adapted to the growing conditions and can thrive in desert climates with little water.
Proper durability, low maintenance, and uniqueness make cacti essential to every garden. On the other hand, the slow growth rate might make you wonder how to make cactus grow faster.
The following are the various reasons for cacti’s slow growth, which we should know to help increase their growth rate.
If you want to jump directly to the topic, feel free to navigate via the content table presented above.
Unlike many other plants, cacti are naturally adapted to handle unfavorable living conditions such as lack of nutrients, extreme heat, heavy winds, and rainfall.
As a result, these house and desert plants prefer survival over rapid growth.
As desert plants, cacti need these adaptations, or they would never reproduce.
Cacti are among the most well-known desert plants. They are also among the most bizarre in appearance, with spiny, leafless stems and spherical or cylindrical shapes.
Cacti have no leaves because they evolved to live in a hot and dry environment.
A plant’s leaves usually work to cool down the body temperature by releasing water vapors from its stomata (tiny openings on the surface of its leaves). But since cacti live in an arid environment, they must conserve water.
No leaves mean no stomata, which in turn means no excessive water loss.
Leaves are also the plants’ energy houses and play a crucial part in photosynthesis, initiating the plant’s growth. No leaves mean no chlorophyll, and no chlorophyll means the least ability to conduct photosynthesis.
As the cacti are deprived of leaves, their growth process is delayed compared to other plants with leaves that grow rapidly.
A thing to be mentioned here is the cactus plant has areoles and spines in place of leaves as its energy production unit. The spines are designed with precisely angled ridges that provide shade to the whole plant body.
Stomata is a small opening in the epidermis of leaves.
It is surrounded by two guard cells that inflate and deflate to allow gas exchange.
We all know that plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis which helps them to grow fast.
As cacti don’t have many stomata, they don’t allow much gas exchange, decreasing the rate of photosynthesis.
Stomata also help with evaporation by losing the plant’s water.
Cacti have fewer stomata because they live in arid environments where preventing water loss is critical. Such a catch, right? Desert cacti cannot afford water loss, so they cut down on stomata.
It makes cacti withstand harsh and dry climates, but you cannot expect them to grow rapidly with such a peculiarity. What do you think—is survival more important for cacti or rapid growth? Please drop your answers in the comment sections below.
Besides those two main points, the cacti growth rate varies from type to type.
The observation says that some cacti grow 1–3cm per year while others around 15cm round the year. Most types have an extremely slow growth rate and may take a decade to grow a few inches.
Environmental Factors of Cacti Slow Growth
The adaptations that make cacti so interesting also cause them to be slow growers, bummer, isn’t it?
So, this was the natural structure of cacti that made them slow growers, but there are a few other factors too.
If you want to know what they are, then read on.
One of the most common mistakes beginners make is watering their cacti like other houseplants.
They follow the same watering schedule for the cacti as other plants in their garden. Unfortunately, cacti cannot withhold excessive water, and their constantly moist roots lead to root rot.
You have to keep in mind that cacti are native to deserts, and they are habitual to drought conditions.
If you cannot create their natural home environment, don’t expect them to say healthy and grow faster.
Therefore, it is always better to first study the native plant area so that you can provide your plant with parallel habitat.
Not enough sunlight
Another big factor that your cactus is not growing is limited sunlight.
Although the sun is the life demand of all plants, succulents such as cacti rely on ample sunlight. Imagine how a cactus stands amidst deserts in the scorching sun.
So, we recommend making this plant a part of your beautiful garden only if it has direct access to enormous sunlight.
Some people even place cacti indoors, which make their surroundings look beautiful, but the plant won’t grow.
It would be best to place your cactus in sunlight for at least a few hours.
Related article: Why Is My Cactus Turning White? Reasons & 4 Easy Solutions
Are you worried because your cactus is not growing, and you want solutions in that regard? We have a list of amazing solutions mentioned below but wait, can’t it be the dormant period of your cactus?
The dormant period is when the plant is in rest mode and storing its energy for the upcoming growing season.
So, there is nothing to worry about during the dormant period; it is just a phase for your plant’s betterment.
Cacti go dormant twice a year: in winter and summer. The duration of both these dormancy periods can be 30–40 days.
Zero growth of cactus twice a year in extreme winter and scorching heat is normal, but if the period increases but your plant is not showing any growth, now that is the problem.
How to Make Cactus Grow Faster?
In this heading, you’ll learn what to expect regarding the speed at which your cactus will grow and how to make the cactus grow faster.
There are many ways to make cacti grow faster.
- To ensure the plant gets enough water, you should water it at least once a week.
- It will allow the roots to soak up more nutrients and grow stronger.
- It would help if you also fertilized your cactus with a weak solution every two weeks to give it the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and strong.
It was an overview, and now we are taking a deep dive on how to make cactus grow faster, so stay with us!
1. Fast Growing Cactus Species
Choose the suitable cactus for your needs!
It may be worth getting a species of cacti that grows faster than others if you enjoy watching your plants grow.
The garden experts found that Totem Pole Cactus, Trichocereus, Pilosocereus, and Cereus are the cacti species that grow faster.
2. Propagate Cactus
We mentioned above that few species of cacti grow sluggishly.
What can be most tiresome is waiting for the cactus to grow from seeds which can take 2–3 years to grow a few centimeters.
So, we highly recommend propagating cactus instead of growing it from the seeds. Now, what’s propagation? It is the process of producing new plants from the plants you already have.
The most exciting part is you can even play with your cacti to produce new shapes and forms.
You can quickly propagate cacti from the existing cactus plant by taking its stem and allowing it to root out.
A part of the plant is rooted into the soil and grows as an independent plant. With this quick and easy method, you can fill up a corner of your garden with cacti.
3. Prevent Water Logging
Water your cacti on a proper schedule, ideally once after two weeks.
Ensure the soil is completely dry when you water; you can check the soil moisture with a water gauge. The cacti container must have drainage holes at the bottom to let the water pass through.
4. Proper Fertilizing
Cacti don’t need much fertilizer; adding essential nutrients on a monthly basis would suffice.
However, fertilizing should be done only in the active season of the plant; dormant season fertilizing would go wasted.
5. Root Pruning
Regular pruning is essential for every plant’s health, but a slow growth rate of cacti makes it undemanding for pruning.
However, it needs a root prune, especially if you feel that its soil is waterlogged.
For this, you will carefully remove the whole plant from its pot (along with the soil) and then repot it in a bigger container. Choose a pot that is big enough—ideally, you should go with 2 inches bigger—for your cactus to grow in.
But before repotting, cut the rotten roots and re-root them in sterile succulent soil. Treating the wounds with hydrogen peroxide aqueous solution is also recommended.
6. Transplant Carefully
Repotting or transplanting your plant is a matter of great care.
Your plant may get a shock in the process commonly known as “transplant shock.”
The transplanting cactus is essential to give its roots enough room to grow freely but do it carefully to prevent your plant from any potential damage.
Transplant shock stops the growth of your plant so next time, be very cautious while doing the process.
7. A Good Quality Soil
Use good quality soil for your cactus, i.e., a minimum of organic matter plus plenty of drainage material (perlite, etc.).
It would favor your cactus if the soil is sandy, but the growth rate is slower in such soil.
Ensure the soil doesn’t lack nutrients and fertilize the cactus once a year. A slow-release fertilizer is best for succulents.
If you want to know how to make the best potting mix for indoor plants according to their nature, browse through this article.
8. Plenty of Sunlight
If your cactus is in a location where the sunlight is not reaching, you must change its place immediately before it dies.
This plant needs at least 4–5 hours of direct sun and rest shade hours.
If you follow this schedule, your cacti will grow smoothly and quickly. Some species may burn in plenty of sunlight so read the guide properly before taking the plant home.
9. Improve Air Circulation
Like all plants, cacti need proper air circulation to prevent fungal disease or infestation. Ensure your cactus plant is not placed in an area with stagnant air to initiate its growth.
Cacti are a very popular houseplant.
They are easy to care for and can be grown in many climates. They are famous for growing slowly, so don’t expect them to grow vigorously as other houseplants.
Cacti owners should display a lot of patience to wait for their plant babies to grow, but they still ask how to make cactus grow faster.
Don’t worry; we’ve got everything covered for you in this article. Don’t hesitate to interact with our comment section below and drop your queries. Our gardener experts will help you with all your efforts.