Growing Saguaro Cactus
How to Care for it and How to Bloom it Out of Season
The star cactus is a flowering cactus that has the reputation of being difficult. That's because its flowers bloom only during March to May. There is no guarantee that you can bloom it out of season. Nevertheless, you can try by using the tips that we provided below. But before we proceed, it is important to note that by now, there are very few Star Cacti in the wild. If you are fond of the plant, you certainly have more than enough reasons to grow them.
If you do not want to grow a star cactus from a seed, you can purchase a small plant, at least about 1 inch in diameter, from your favorite gardening store. Make sure that the plant is healthy and has no signs of stress. Plant the cactus in a permeable, alkaline soil. Most of us think that cacti grow on sand but the truth is its roots need soil in order to survive. The soil should be placed in a shallow potting dish. Make sure that its bottom has holes because these will serve as the drainage for water. This type of soil can be bought from gardening or home improvement stores.
Avoid using tap water because it contains chemicals that can be harmful to the cactus. Instead, mix it with vinegar. The right amount should be one quart of water mixed with nine drops of white vinegar. Put the solution in a container and shake it well. Put a small amount of the solution around the perimeter of the roots, instead of putting it directly on the plant. The soil should not be moistened excessively because cacti rot easily if they sit in water. It is ideal to use terra cotta pots because they absorb moisture better than glazed pots. It should keep the moisture level balanced.
Cacti love sunlight, so put your star cactus in a place where it can get enough sunshine. You can expose it to morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Or you can put your pots beside a southern-side window. Cacti are sturdy plants so they will stay alive even if there is less sunlight. However, lack of sunlight cannot promote new growth. Moreover, sunlight helps prevent diseases and fungi infestation.
If you want to grow flowers for your star cactus, you can trick it by making it believe that it is winter. That is by keeping the cactus in a shaded place and limiting the amount of sunlight. The temperature in that place should also be limited to 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the cactus twice every month. The cactus should remain under this condition for at least two months for it to believe that it is winter.
After two months, place the cactus beside the windowsill and water it when the soil is almost dry. This will promote growth. If you see that the flowers are already blooming, put a fertilizer that is specially designed for cacti. Continue nourishing the plant until the flower completely blooms.
Check out our selection of the best cacti, pots and containers, fertilizer and everything else you'll need for your cactus garden or if you just want a cactus for your desk or window seal. Check it out »