Category Archives: Houseplants

How to Grow Cactus Indoor or Outdoor Gardening

Cactus is a plant usually found in hot climates and desert areas, with the right growing conditions, the plant can live to be as much as 150-200 years old. There are over 2,000 species of cacti, with various shapes and forms. Cactus is also said as decorative plant.

The spines of the cacti are actually its leaves. The size of the spines can vary from species to species and they can be as long as 15 cm. As the leaves are small, they prevent loss of water. Another function of the sharp, pointed spines is to keep birds and animals from sucking out the water from the plant.

How to Grow Cactus Indoor or Outdoor Gardening

The tallest cactus plant is Pachycereus pringlei with a height of about 66 feet. It can weigh up to 5400 kilograms, which is mainly the weight of the stored water. The shortest is Blossfeldia liliputiana with a height of just a few centimeters.

Growing Cactus is not a big deal, as a small kid can also grow. Cactus is a tropical plant so they don’t require much attention but yes a little care can grow them amazingly. Cactus can be grown from its seeds or it from its saplings.

Growing from saplings: Remove a healthy saplings from the mother cactus and plant them in a container containing potting mix made especially for tropical plants. Water them and keep them under the direct sunlight. Within a week or more than a week they spread root and you can see one more sap growing above the planted one.

Growing Cactus from seed: Purchase seeds from your nearest nursery. Prepare the soil in a container, using high quality of potting mix of pumice or granite content with high drainage system or get a potting soil which is formulated especially for growing cactus with gravel and sand. This potting soil can be used for growing indoor cactus as well. Spread the seeds on the potting mix and cover the soil slightly. Do not plant the seeds deep inside the soil as they won’t be able to grow.

Once you covered the seeds, moist the soil with water. Remember cactus is a tropical plant so watering too much will end up killing the plant. Just moist the soil and place the container where they can get direct sunlight throughout the day. To retain the moisture in the container you can cover it with a transparent plastic lid or cover with a transparent plastic sheet.

Germination will take several weeks or it can be several months depending on the cactus species you have planted. Once the germination takes place make sure you water them every day with little amount of water. Cactus is a slow growing plant so it will take a lot of time to grow. Remove the cover when the plant emerge its leaves.

Always remember it is not a good idea to transplant your cactus, so before you plant seed make sure you have a large container for the cactus to grow. Even if you want to transplant the plant, then you should allow them to recover from the shock.

Watering Cactus: Cactus don’t need much water. Most of the cactus varieties require little water. So water the cactus every day with little amount of water or thrice in a week. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out or water logged. Too much of water will let into root rot and kill the cactus.

Cactus doesn’t require much attention though it need less amount of fertilizer. Use dilute solution of liquid fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorus and feed your cactus once in a month.

Growing cactus Indoor: Cactus can be grown indoor if you can locate them where they can get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight every day. Indoor cactus require less amount of water comparatively to outdoor cactus. If you are not able to locate a sunny area, then place them under indoor growing lights.

Caring Cactus: Do not leave your cactus near windowsills in a cold climate as it will stunt the growth of your cactus and kill your plant. While handling cactus always wear thick hand gloves. Cactus make easily affected by mealy bugs. Know how to get rid of mealy bugs organically.

Cactus flowers: Cacti flowers usually bloom when it rains. The flowers of the cacti range from white, red, pink, yellow or violet. Some cactus flowers stand for several days, others die in just one day. Some cactus flowers bloom only at sunset, others only in the daylight. The century plant only blooms once in its lifetime, which is about 20-30 years. The flower stalk of this slow growing cactus plant can grow up to 40 feet. After it finishes flowering, the entire plant dies.

Uses of the Cactus: Besides being a decorative plant, cactus can have fruit which can be eaten and also made into syrup. The wood of some cacti species is used in making roofs and walls. The roots of a Mexican cactus were used for its medicinal properties. The spines of cacti if sterilized on hot coals may be used for bandages.

Venus Fly Trap Growing Guide

Venus fly trap is a carnivorous and very hardy perennial plants. They grow best in spring and in summer seasons. Venus fly trap is an easy growing plant, they can be grown indoors as well as outdoor. VFT doesn’t need much attention they grow well even if they are left alone outdoors.

Propagation of VFT

VFT are easy to germinate from seeds and it takes nearly 4 to 6 weeks to germinate. Purchase seeds and put them into the growing medium make sure not to plant them deeply into the soil. Keep the soil moist and ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely. For germination you should keep the temperature above 78 degree F up to 90 degree F. Once the seed germinate and set first two to three leaves, transplant them outdoors or in a container.

Venus Fly Trap Growing Guide

Planting VFT Indoors

Choose a right containers for planting VFT indoors. Container should be 4 inches to 5 inches in depth so that VFT roots get enough space to spread, grow healthier and better. Get insulated containers which will keep the temperature stable in hotter and colder seasons. It will also protect the soil from freezing in colder seasons.

Soil for VFT

Ensure you use only nutrient poor soil to grow Venus Flytraps. Use simply pure unenriched peat moss or long fiber sphagnum moss. Nutrient rich soils and fertilizer will burn the roots of VFT and the plant will die. You can also make soil using 5 parts of peat moss with 3 parts silica sand and 2 parts of perlite. Silica sand is also known as white sand, silica or quartz which helps with aeration and also forming healthy root system of the plant. Do not use regular potting soil to grow VFT or you will end up killing your plant.

Watering Venus Flytraps

Use only distilled, RO (reverse osmosis water) or rain water. Do not use any other water as the contaminates present in the water will kill the VFT or any other carnivorous plants. Always remember they should be watered only with distilled or rain water.

Feeding VFT

Let your plant catch their own food for themselves, keep them outside so that it will catch on its own. If it is not possible to keep outside then feed only small insects such as ants and bugs. Once the VFT trap an insects they will close their trap and it will take a lot of time to open its trap. Do not try to open the trap or you will damage the plant and make sure you do not feed them meatball.

Caring VFT on Dormant

Venus Flytraps are perennials so they go dormant in winter and grow back in spring. During dormant VFT looks weak as if they are died. Many more growers throw out the plant mistakenly thinking the plant has died. Dormant period last for three to five months in the winter season and the VFT shed their leaves, become weak, black and they stop growing.

During dormancy reduce watering VFT plants but make sure you do not dry out the soil completely. It’s better to water them only 2 -3 times per month. Keep the plants where they can receive low light such as in garages. Do not worry about the plants growing outdoors. They will die in winter and grow back in spring.

Caring VFT

Make sure the plant should be watered to make the soil wet. Do not allow the soil to get it completely dry out and not soggy or waterlogged. It is best to water the plant and allow the medium to dry until next watering. Keep the humidity level stable by placing a tray under the container this will help the plant to keep cool over summer and winter seasons.

Venus Fly Traps should receive at least 12 hours of light with a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight. The more light the plant receives the healthier it grows. If you are growing indoors make sure to place the plant near windowsill where they can get at least 4 hours of direct light. If sunlight is not possible for you then you can arrange artificial lights. VFT grows best under fluorescent lights and ensure that the plant get enough light to survive. Keep the plant under fluorescent grow lights as much as close at least within 8 inches of distance between the plant and the grow lights.

Repot your Venus fly trap yearly once and the method is very simple. Remove you plant from current pot and remove the soil from the roots and plant the VFT in a new container with nutrient poor soil. Do not plant the VFT deeply into the soil and ensure that you have completely covered the rhizome into the soil. Water the plant until the soil gets wet this will comfort the plant from root shock and to remove any air pockets from the soil.