If you are struggling to take care of your cactus plants then it is important to understand that they might need fertilizer.
Cacti or Cactuses are found in deserts and can survive in arid and semi-arid conditions. They can have a bunny ears-like structure and are flowering plants like some of them have pink flowers.
In most cases, these areas are not rich in nutrients, however, it does not mean that the cactus in your home does not need fertilizers.
Cactus opuntia is known to grow in areas where there are limited nutrients and water and needs a little amount of fertilizer to keep to healthier, stronger, and better bloomers.
However, the cactus is very much selective when it comes to fertilization.
They need specific characteristics that make up a good choice of fertilizer for cacti.
This article sums up the importance of organic fertilizers and their application. Moreover, it will sum up the application frequency of organic fertilizers and the soil compatibility.
Importance of Fertilizers for Cactus Plants
Cactus can survive without fertilizers however, using them is just a way of making them healthier and more colorful.
But, it is important to be careful with indoor cactus and fertilize them once a year thus they produce cactus flowers.
Moreover, once you feed them, make sure to take them out under a shade in a bright place.
If you do not have enough space, you can use grow lights as an alternative, especially when you use fertilizer.
Alternative lighting to make it sufficient for your cactus plants is grow lights. They can help increase the chances of your plant’s vibrancy.
There are different types of grow lights:
- Fluorescent grow light
- LED grow lights
- Positioning grow lights
Cactus plants can thrive with the right temperatures, air, water, and soil.
A good fertilizer makes sure that your plant blooms and flower better and is able to deal with other environmental stresses.
Learn more about the best indoor plants you can have in Dubai.
Right Time to Feed Your Cactus Plants
Due to their natural habitat, you might be thinking that cactus plants do not need fertilizers, however, they have some needs as other leafy plants.
The first thing you need to understand is that cactus plants do not need excess water or fertilizers to survive.
Knowing the appropriate time to feed them is essential for their growth because you do not want to have stunning growth.
However, fertilizing them once a year is fine, however, you can also fertilize them 2 to 3 times a year.
It is important to fertilize them during spring, fall and summer. While some cacti may grow in winter, make sure to fertilize them during this period.
During their active periods of growth, cactus plants need fertilizers, however, an excess amount of it can weaken them.
Thus, it is important to avoid over-feeding your cactus plant to make sure they have healthy growth.
Importance of NPK fertilizers for Cactus Plants
For the healthier growth of cactus plants, they need a balanced blend of NPK, or nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Nitrogen helps to grow the plant healthier, and more robust. This means brighter colors, large and fuller leaves as well asl prolonged plant life.
On the other hand, potassium works best for the flowering cactus plant as it encourages better blooms and improves food production.
Lastly, phosphorus helps the cactus plants fight diseases and remain healthy throughout their lifetime.
Moreover, cactus plants are not affected by diseases while it is in its natural habitat.
However, the ones you pot in your home are suspectable to diseases and pests.
Learn more about pest management here.
Why do Cactus Plants Prefer Organic Fertilizers?
Moreover, another advantage of using them is that the nutrients from organic fertilizers stay longer in the soil.
It gives enough time for the fertilizer to work symbiotically with the soil to better feed the plant.
Organic fertilizers also offer your cacti beneficial compounds that your plant needs naturally.
Moreover, the slow absorption of organic fertilizer by cacti means that the plants will take in the right amount of nutrients at a time and this prevents it from over-whelming which is common in the case of chemical fertilizers.
We at Al Ard Alkhadra make sure to provide 100% organic fertilizers for your cactus plants.
Importance of Humic Acid, Probiotics, and Mycorrhizae in Cactus Fertilizers
Your cactus plants need simple organic compounds for their daily nutrition.
With this respect, humic acid comes in handy to act as chelators that break down different minerals into simple organic compounds.
This makes sure that there is the availability of organic compounds for the nutritional needs of your cactus and it also ensures that unwanted toxins are neutralized in the soil.
On the other hand, Probiotics and Mycorrhizae help to ensure that the soil remains alive.
With time, it helps to improve the nutrient content of the soil and its ability to keep your plant growth for much longer.
This relation with the soil helps to keep it improving over time and considering that cactus plants live longer, this comes in handy.
It is important to note that you should not use fertilizer for lawn care as they contain the same composition that has higher nitrogen content.
This can be harmful to your cactus.
Is Chemical Fertilizers Good for your Cactus?
Using chemical or inorganic fertilizers can be tricky when choosing them for your cactus plants.
Chemical fertilizers consist of fast-acting, unnatural elements, and procedures.
This enables them to feed the plant directly with high supplements for rapid nutrition.
While this can be beneficial for other plants, it is not the same for cactus.
Cactus is not accustomed to rapid intake of nutrients as this plant lives in arid areas with limited nutrients.
Therefore, inorganic fertilizers can lead to your plant getting overwhelmed and shocked.
It is important to dilute the inorganic fertilizer if you intend to use it for your cactus plants.
The dilution ratio may differ depending on the type of soil, size, and type of cactus in question.
You may need the services of an experienced arborist to complete this feat.
Factors to Consider when Using Organic Fertilizer
Cactus and succulent plants need special types of organic fertilizers and soil to remain healthy and flourishing.
However, this specification may also differ from species to species and for better fertilization, it is important to keep in mind the following factors in relation to soil and type of fertilizer:
To make the application of organic fertilization successful, it is important to make sure the soil is well-draining.
When potting your cactus, make sure that the potting mix contains lighter material like gravel, sand, and other small but hard matter.
These are suitable for cacti because they are not tightly packed and thus allow room for both water and fertilization to filter.
This helps the water to filter through and feed the plant in the right portions and in case of excess water, the soil can easily drain off to avoid cases of root rot.
Cactus plants need a well-balanced combination of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
It is crucial to ensure the fertilizer to go for adherence to the right ratios.
Nitrogen is the most important element among these, and getting fertilizer and soil with just the right amounts of nitrogen is beneficial for cactus growth.
Neutral pH of Soil
The pH of the soil is another important factor that helps to determine the right fertilizer for your cactus.
Make sure that your potting mix has a neutral pH and to be within the range of 6 to 8 pH scale.
Cactus is one of the most resilient plants that can withstand the harshest of weather.
This makes them low maintenance even when you choose to grow them at home. This is especially so in terms of watering and fertilization.
Cactus plants do not need a specific blend of fertilizer but will thrive best on organic fertilizer made with low NPK.
While you can still use chemical fertilizer on cactus, it is not recommended if you do not understand the right proportions of using NPK.
Organic Fertilizer vs. Inorganic Fertilizers
Before settling for a particular fertilizer, you need to know the different types available. The categories are
- organic fertilizers,
- inorganic fertilizers
Both types are used to provide nutrients to the cactus.
Organic or natural fertilizers work gradually to provide a healthy environment for the growth of your cactus plant.
They contain plant and animal-based products as their work is to provide nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
They work slowly to enrich the soil instead of quick action.
On the other hand, inorganic fertilizers provide more rapid/quick nutrition for them as they feed the cactus with high concentrations of NPK directly to your cactus.
What you choose to use depends on the needs of your cacti, the environmental impact, and the costs.
However, inorganic fertilizers may leave product buildup on your cacti over time, and they don’t enrich the soil.
Cacti are succulent plants and are of different types like Christmas cactus, saguaro cactus, prickly pears, barrel cactus, etc. These are native to the Americas especially south America.
Cactus species have sharp spines and have a deep root system. They are also found in the Sonoran Desert, grow as epiphyte grows, and can also be used as traditional medicinal plants.
Using organic fertilizers is equally beneficial than inorganic ones as it enables your cactus to grow faster, especially if you choose the fast-release ones. However, inorganic fertilizing though may have a few disadvantages such as becoming high risk, especially in case they find their way to nearby water bodies.
Learning how and when to fertilize your cactus is as essential as having a watering schedule and choosing the right potting mix. All these factors work in providing the right environment for the proper growth of your succulents.