Most people buy their cactus plants from a small size because growing one from seed takes quite a long time. Even once it has sprouted, when growing a cactus, you will need a bit of patience.
A cactus typically takes 6-12 months to become the size of a large marble and you need to wait 2-3 years until it’s even a few centimeters taller. After that first year, you can expect your cactus to grow about 1-3 centimeters every 12 months.
Cacti have become a favorite plant in homes and gardens around the world for their funky aesthetic and easy maintenance. However, if you want to grow your own cactus you need to give it time to become a big beautiful cactus. If you want to learn more about how to successfully plant your cactus, either from a seed or cutting, keep reading! We have some pro tips and helpful advice on exactly what your cactus needs to grow.
How to Grow a Cactus from a Seed
If you want to take the time to grow your very own cactus from a seed, it is possible! There are very specific instructions to follow when planting your cactus seed, but here are the basics to get you started:
- Start with a small planting pot filled with gritty moist soil.
- Disperse the cactus seeds on the top, making sure now to sow them too deep or too densely.
- Layer fine grit over the seeds.
- Cover with a clear bag and place in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.
- After several weeks or even months, you will see your cacti seeds sprout!
- Take off the bag, but keep the soil moist by spraying it with water on a regular basis.
- Several months later, after your cactus looks like medium-sized marbles, you can transplant them into a fresh pot of composted soil.
- Let it keep growing!
While it’s difficult to give an exact timeline on this process because every variation of cacti is different, as is every growing condition, you should expect to transport your cactus to its new home after no less than 6 months.
Remember that after the cactus has been successfully transplanted, it will need much less water to survive and grow, just as you would assure for the cacti family! But it’s important to note that they need heat and moisture to germinate and begin their life’s journey.
How to Grow a Cactus from a Cutting
If you want to skip several months of waiting for your cactus seed to germinate, sprout, and even the years it will take to gain only a few extra centimeters, you can simply root and propagate a cactus cutting.
Propagating a cactus is much easier than growing it from seed because it does not need to be germinated in heat. In fact, if you grow your cactus from a cutting, you can simply treat it like you would a fully grown cactus, which you can learn more about in the next section.
Even though it is an easier and much faster process, you still will not see much visible growth in your cactus for at least a few years. Remember, most cacti species only grow about 1-3 centimeters per year, so growing is certainly a lesson in patience.
How to Take Care of a Growing Cactus: Pro Tips
Once you have successfully started growing your cactus, there are a few important rules to follow to help your cactus grow healthy and tall.
- To start, you should understand that your cactus loves the sunlight. It’s a good idea to place them either in a sunny spot in your home or out in the garden. If your cactus is going to live outside, you need to make sure you move it inside when temperatures start to go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When it comes to watering, it is true that cacti don’t need much, but don’t forget about them completely! You should check the soil of your cactus every 2-3 weeks, if the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry, your cactus is thirsty. But make sure not to overwater your cactus as this can lead to mold and rot; wait until the soil is dry before watering.
- Use the right soil and plant your cactus in a drainable pot. Sandy and rocky soils are the best options for properly draining your cactus, just like where they would be found in nature.
If you can follow these simple steps, your cactus will certainly grow tall (eventually!) Just give it time and a little love and you can enjoy having cacti that produce beautiful flowers in about 3-4 years from the time of sprouting.
What Will Stunt Cactus Growth?
Of course, following the above instructions is a step in the right direction, but there are a few things to be cautious of when trying to make sure your cactus doesn’t grow even slower than normal.
- Do not overwater your cactus.
- Make sure the pot is big enough, you should continually move your cactus into a larger and larger home as it grows.
- When you do move your cactus, give it time to recuperate from the trauma in the shade for a few days, then move it back into the sunlight.
It may sound like cacti are hard to care for to ensure they grow at all, but the truth is it’s a lot easier than it sounds. The most important thing when caring for your cactus is to keep telling yourself: it takes time!
Cacti are a survival species. When they grow in nature, they do not take more than they need in case it takes a while for more rain and nutrients to arrive in the soil. Because of this evolutionary characteristic, cacti don’t waste precious nutrients on growing too quickly!
What’s the bottom line? Be patient with your cactus! After germinating and sprouting into the size of a marble, you should expect to see about 3 centimeters of growth per year, depending on your variation of cactus.