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How To Tell How Old A Cactus Is – 4 Important Tips!

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How to tell how old a cactus is becoming a significant question, which many people want to know. Now, this is the right article with complete information.

Typically, the cactus is a succulent plant that stores water in the stem. Instead of leaves, it grows thorns, the hard or soft, straight or curved end. The thorns grow in bunches. Some species also have leaves.

The cactus’s surface is covered with wax-like skin, which is almost impervious to water and gases. Likewise, the pubescence on some types of cacti is a kind of sponge for absorbing water. 

The spines of the cactus perform the same role, which is to collect moisture from the air. Most cacti have spherical or columnar stems. 

In prickly pears, the stems are flat, consisting of segments that can be oval or cylindrical. The flowers appear in their areoles, which are the axillary buds. 

Areoles also produce hairs and spines. Likewise, tome cacti can have about 100 thorns on one areola. This plant can bloom for a short time. 

Two old cactus plant on cactus garden How To Tell How Old A Cactus Is
Two old cactus plant on cactus garden via Wikimedia

Cactus varieties

  1. Echinopsis

This is a spherical cactus that reproduces well by children produced by the mother plant. It is a blooming species.

  1. Cereus

It is a tall cactus with multi-colored spines; several lateral ones grow on the main trunk. The plant practically does not bloom but propagates by seeds or cuttings.

  1. Opuntia robusta

This is a flat cactus with long bristles that grows quickly and reaches large sizes. Cuttings propagate it.

  1. Mammillaria

It tolerates a lack of moisture, spherical, not ribbed. Also, it looms with pretty bells.

  1. Phyllocactus

Phyllocactus is a leafy plant, which does not have leaf plates, and the leaf resembles the trunk of a cactus. A cactus, when properly cared for at home, blooms in large flowers.

How To Tell How Old A Cactus Is

1. Consider the height

Observing the height of a cactus is one way to know how old it is. The cactus has many spiny arms, which protrude from the trunk, although the height is measured from the highest point of the cactus. It can take about ten years before this cactus is one inch tall.

2. Precipitation received

In addition to the height, the precipitation received is another thing to tell how old a cactus is.

For example, the Pachycereus pringlei species grows very slowly because it lives on the Sonora west coast and in drier parts of Sonara Desert, like Baja California, where it does not rain more than three inches per year.

As opposed to this, cacti from more humid environments grow fast and outgrow the place.

3. Number of areoles

Usually, the number of areoles shows how old the cactus is. An areola is a place where many flowers, a new branch, or thorns can grow.

Young thorns less than one-year-old are generally reddish. They grow in a column so that the top ones are younger than the bottom ones.

4. Number of thorny arms

In the cactus, the number of thorny arms extending from the main body can indicate how old the cactus is. For instance, the saguaro cactus starts to grow the arms when it is 70 years old. An adult saguaro is about 100 years old if the arms have fully grown.

saguaro cactus How To Tell How Old A Cactus Is
Saguaro Cactus via Pixabay

How to Grow Cactus

1. Seed preparation

If you are harvesting seeds from cactus seed pods, collect the pods.Remove the seed pods or fruit from the cactus before they dry. The boxes should not be full of moisture but should still be damp to the touch on the inside. 

The seeds themselves, which are in the capsule or the fruit, may differ in appearance from cactus to cactus. Some seeds will be distinctively black or with reddish dots visible from each other, while other seeds may be so tiny that they look like sand or dust.

2. Pot and soil selection

When choosing a pot and soil for planting, you need to study the selected variety’s root system carefully. If the root system is located at the beginning of the root, then a wide pot with a shallow depth should be taken.

If the root system goes deep into the ground, you should take a tall, narrow pot. Such a root system is usually found in forest succulents.

The soil should be porous; that is, water should not stagnate in it. It is best to use soil containing sand, pumice, or granite. Specialized soil for cactus is sold in specialized stores.

3. Sowing seeds

Sow the seeds in well-drained soil.Whether you have purchased seeds or are harvesting from an existing cactus, plant them in clean and shallow pots filled with right soil. Moisten the soil carefully before planting, but don’t allow stagnant water remain. 

Then, spread the seeds over the soil top. Finally, cover the seeds using a thin layer of sand or soil. Cactus seeds have only a small amount of energy stored and, if planted very deeply, won’t reach the surface before the energy runs out.

4. Watering

Rooted cacti have less vigorous watering requirements than most other indoor plants. Although they require water, they have a reputation for being hardy plants. Most desert cactus species require little water once they are fully rooted. 

While individual cactus species may differ in the amount of water they need, a good general rule of thumb is that the soil should be completely dry before watering. Depending on the temperature, this means waiting for a month or more between waterings.

5. Fertilizing

Fertilize young plants during the growing months. Although cacti grow slowly, their growth can be supplemented during the growing months of spring and summer with the application of light fertilization or plant nutrition. 

Cactus generally requires less fertilizer than other plants, so use a diluted liquid fertilizer solution once a month. Mix a small amount of liquid fertilizer with an equal.

>> Related Post: How to Kill Cactus – 100% Effective


Cacti are becoming more and more popular at home. The plant is unpretentious to care for and is resistant to drought, even if you forget to water it.

Due to its wide distribution and high popularity, the issue of its seed reproduction is quite relevant. Many growers mistakenly believe that breeding cactus