Cactus Care

Water and Humidity Requirements of Cactus Plants

Although cacti are known for surviving in the dry, desert heat, they also need water to flourish. However, not all cacti and succulents need the same amount of water.

It is important to research the amount of water and humidity your cactus or succulent will need in order for it to have a long, healthy life.


Do a thorough job when watering cacti and other succulents. Think of a cloudburst in the desert. Then let them go a long time until the next drink.

In the winter, many cacti become dormant and watering should be restricted. African succulents often go into dormancy in the summertime; when they are in this state, hold back on the water. Water combined with cold or dormancy spells disaster.

When the plants are actively growing, water them quite frequently and keep them moderately moist. Water and warmth while the plants are growing spells growth.

Cacti and other succulents can tolerate the dry air very well, even though the air in most houses and apartments in winter is drier than that in the deserts.

When we refer to types of watering, we generally refer to "drench and let dry," "moist," and "wet." Here's what those definitions mean:

Drench and Let Dry. Soak the plant thoroughly by submerging the pot in a bucket or sink filled with tepid water. Wait until all the bubbles have stopped coming out. The plant can then dry until its next soaking, which should take place when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. Most of the plants that prefer drenching and drying have thick roots.

Moist. Keep the soil evenly moist but never soggy or too dry.

Wet. Keep the soil wet at all times.

Although cacti are known for surviving in the dry, desert heat, there are a variety of cacti that can survive outside all year long in Canada and Alaska. In the next section, learn about the temperature requirements of cacti and succulents.

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