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It can take several years for your cactus to show substantial growth because it is known to be a slow grower. Some of the succulent species, especially cactuses, can take approximately ten years to grow. But do you wish to know how to make cactus grow faster?
Cactus require low maintenance and, there are several ways to make your succulent germinate quite faster. So don’t worry about that, because this article aims to show you how to accelerate their growth.
How Long It Takes your Cactus to Grow?
Cactus have different growth stages because you need to propagate them from seedlings just like other plants. It can take several months for the process of germination to occur. Cactus can develop spines in about a month, although not all the species have spines.
If you don’t notice the spines after about a month, you have to be patient and wait. To help speed up this process, cover them overnight, and you can uncover them in the daytime to allow them to breathe. It is also important to water them once you realize the soil is dry.
If the plant starts to sprout, you should transfer it to a pot where it can stay for about 12 months. The rate of growth varies depending on the cactus species. A mature cactus grows up to 1-inch every year.
How Fast Do Cactus Grow?
As mentioned earlier, cactuses are slow growers. Nevertheless, they have different growth rate; some are very slow while other relatively faster. But all these depend on the type of species that you are growing.
Some cactuses do better by acquiring a few centimeters every 3 to 4 years. For instance, Carnegiea gigantean can grow up to about 16cm in a year. However, this is a rare thing to happen because most species always experience a slow growth rate.
Anyway, have you ever asked yourself why they grow very slowly? And how can you solve this problem? First, you need to understand that cactus can survive in harsh climates, especially hot areas with minimal rainfall; thus, it cannot be anxious with faster growth.
Moreover, its growing abilities can be hindered by a lack of leaves and branches. Thus, it lacks enough chlorophyll, which is a chemical that converts sunlight to energy. Therefore, due to the lack of leaves contributing to energy production, it tends to grow slowly.
Nevertheless, the environment around your home is not harsh and also unpredictable. Therefore, you can manipulate your surrounding environment by providing necessary care that is ideal for your cactus plant. However, some conditions can hinder its growth. So it’s best to identify these aspects and make necessary adjustments.
How to Make Cactus Grow Faster?
Regardless of the natural habit of growing slow, there are various things that you can do to accelerate the process. But that depends on the species you are growing and the conditions you set for it. The following tips can help you stimulate growth and enhance the health of your cactus.
Tip #1: Enough Sunlight
You need to give your cactus plant enough sunlight if you want it to grow during the summer season. This is because it has a tendency of going dormant when you subject it to extreme heat. Most of the desert cacti need excess bright sunlight.
Nevertheless, most tropical succulent plants prefer to grow under bright distilled sunlight for about four hours. Therefore, it is your obligation to find a bright, convenient spot, particularly south or east-facing window. The mid-day sunlight can burn your plant, so it is advisable to enclose it in a glass container to filter the light.
Normalize rotating the spot of your cactus once a week to prevent scorching. You are probably wondering how your plant can be scorched. But you can notice this if it starts to turn white and become extremely weak, and eventually die.
You should keep in mind that the cactus is used to excess sunlight and high temperatures when in its natural surroundings. But when propagated indoors, it tends to be dormant, especially during winter. So, you must introduce it to sunlight to speed up the process of growth.
In general, cacti need enough bright and indirect sunlight. Do not place your plant on a shelf because it can wither. Therefore, South-west or east-facing windows is an ideal spot for your plant.
Tip #2: Sufficient Air Circulation
Cactus cannot flourish without proper circulation of air because this is a substantial condition. The plant hates still air and a high amount of moisture, making it weak and unhealthy if you subject it to these conditions. The plant also hates unexpected temperature variations, so don’t place it close to an air conditioner or radiator.
If you are growing it indoors, place it in a bright, convenient spot such as windows or a balcony to avoid high humidity. During summer, leave it outdoors to allow it to absorb the fresh air. This is how to make cactus grow faster and healthy.
Tip #3: Potting Mix and Soil
When your cactus starts to germinate, it tends to perform quite better in a small container. Nevertheless, if you keep it there for too long, then it can inhibit its growth. Therefore, as it grows, it requires more adequate nutrients, so transplanting is also an ideal thing to do.
Don’t acquire a big pot for your plant because you can be tempted to overwater it, thus forcing it to rot and die. Therefore, purchase the recommended size to avoid stressing the plant and regular repotting. Also, do not use a plastic pot; it does allow the soil to dry completely.
Instead, you can use terracotta pots because they allow constant air circulation and enable the soil to dry well. You should be careful with the kind of soil you are using in your pot. It is imperative to prepare your soil, but consider the natural habitation of your plant.
If your cactus species prefers the desert condition, you need to mix grit and sand. Moreover, if it grows well in tropical regions, you need to prepare a different mix. Therefore, always strive to match the soil parameters with the natural surroundings of your cactus.
Tip #4: Proper Watering
You know that cactus don’t require water more often. However, it does not mean that you shouldn’t water it too. Remember that overwatering can hamper its growth, while under-watering can cause withering.
The best thing to do is perform a water trick on your cactus occasionally, probably 2-3 times a month during the growing season. So it is prudent to water your plant before sunrise and cover it using an elastic protection.
When the sun becomes hot, the humidity increases in the cover, thus imitating hot and wet summer conditions. Maintain this for about one hour and open the cover slowly to prevent temperature fluctuations.
The common rule of watering your cactus is to ensure that the tip is dry and ensure it does not get excess water. Therefore, you need to water it once or twice every two weeks, depending on the speed at which the soil becomes dry. Thus your pot should be well-drained with enough drainage holes and the soil well aerated.
Tip #5: Maintain Optimum Temperature
If you are propagating your cactus indoors, you should maintain optimal temperature that ranges between 66 to 85 degrees (F) for it to flourish. And you should strive to maintain these temperatures consistently. During winter, your succulent plant can tolerate low temperatures of between 43 to 58 degrees (F), below that it becomes unfavorable for it.
If you understand temperature ranges, then you might know how to make cactus grow faster. So don’t dare subject it to low temperatures. Nevertheless, some species can tolerate extremely low temperatures than the range recommended, such as hedgehog cactus.
If you maintain the optimum temperature variation, you can stimulate your plant’s growth and make it grow quite rapidly.
Tip #6: Feed it Fertilizer
You need to feed your cactus high-quality and water-soluble fertilizers if you want it to grow faster and enhance flowering. First, ensure it contains a high amount of potassium and low nitrogen quantity. Then, mix it with water and feed it to your cactus according to the directions provided.
Another best type of fertilizer for your plant is slow-release, which can feed it for about 5 to 7 months. If you can’t afford the fertilizer, you can add egg-shells at the bottom of the pot, which acts as a fertilizer.
It produces necessary nutrients for your plant by imitating the natural fertilizer in the natural habitat. Nevertheless, you must be very careful during the fertilization process. Ensure that you don’t fertilize a dormant cactus.
Now that you have gained some incredible ideas on how to make cactus grow faster. These pointers can enable your plant to be happy and healthy, which in turn encourages faster growth. You should remember that the cactus is a slow grower due to its desert-like natural environment, few stomata, and lack of branches and leaves.
The nature of the cactus’ slow growth can test your virtue of patience. The good thing is that it requires minimal maintenance. Therefore, the tips highlighted above can help you accelerate its growth rate and make it strong and healthy.