Can a Cactus Get Too Dry?

The Cactus is a popular house plant for many reasons. It has a unique and attractive appearance, takes little space, and requires less maintenance than many other house plants. You may find a cactus in many households in the U.S. Despite its low-maintenance nature; cactus can face problems due to improper care.

Some cactus lovers show concerns regarding watering practices. Can a cactus get too dry? Let’s dig into the details to find out.

How Does Cactus Utilize Water?

Cactus have a unique cell function that sets them apart from other plants. When you water it, the plant stores water for longer to ensure survival. Designated cells in the plant help store the water for later use.

The water storage function allows the cactus to survive using its reserves. You may not water it every day to ensure its survival. However, keeping an eye on your house plant is crucial to avoid drying it up.

If not watered for extended periods, a cactus can lose the water content in the cells and begin to dry up completely. If you notice your plant drying up, you can water it to restore cell hydration.

Hot regions in America can lead to completely dry cacti plants if not watered properly. You may consult a plant expert to determine the best watering practices when getting one for your place.

How to Know If Your Cactus Is Drying?

A common concern for many house plant lovers is identifying dehydration issues in a cactus plant. Unlike other species, cacti plants can be challenging when analyzing water needs.

If you get a new cactus plant, you may be able to identify a few changes after several weeks due to improper care. For instance, if your cactus starts to look dull or exhausted, it may indicate cell dehydration.

It is worth noting that underwatering may not always be the reason behind dullness. Other factors can lead to similar conditions.

Distinguishing water problems from others can be tricky for some plant owners due to the need for more awareness. If your cactus dries up due to underwatering, you can spot a few signs to determine the truth.

Signs Your Cactus Needs More Water

To save you trouble, we have gathered some crucial indicators to help you identify watering issues in your cactus plant. Let’s explore each to know more.

Check Your Plant’s Feel

The easiest sign to spot dehydration in your cactus is by feeling its texture. You can use protective gloves to accomplish this task accurately.

When squeezing your cactus, you may notice one of the two factors. Your cactus may be hard or slightly soft. A firmer cactus body indicates proper hydration in cells.

If you find it hard, your plant is healthy and has sufficient water. Please note that fully-hydrated cactus does not account for other health problems, like allergies.

On the contrary, a softer feel of the plant indicates water loss. If you notice softness when gently squeezing the plant, you may water it and check it again in a few days.

Rule Out the Possibility of Puckering

Another easy sign to spot underwatering issues in your cactus is puckering. Cacti plants are fully hydrated and maintain a healthy posture with a rigid body.

The lack of water content can cause puckering in plants. Typically, puckering begins from the lower end and moves upwards gradually.

In such cases, watering your cactus thoroughly can help restore its healthy texture. Some plant experts allow cacti plants to wilt before watering them again to restore their health completely.

When planted and watered in well-drained soil, a cactus can recover from dehydration quickly. You can notice the refreshing change in a few days.

Notice the Plant Shape

A healthy cactus plant has an upright position and a firm body. When it receives lesser (than required) water, the plant may fold or change its physical appearance in some parts.

It is one of the common indicators of watering problems. A cactus plant needs sufficient water in cells to grow fully. Cutting water supply during its growth can lead to deformed shapes.

You may sometimes notice dry cactus skin, indicating a lack of moisture. Moreover, discolored cacti plants may need more water to regain their original color.

Wrinkly skin, dry texture, and deformed shapes collectively indicate underwatering issues. You may check the drainage soil and water your plant again for signs of betterment.

Evaluate Weather Conditions

The weather is one of the most important factors that may lead to varied watering practices. A cactus plant’s water requirements vary depending on the season.

For instance, you may water your cactus once every week during fall (when living in areas above 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Cacti plants require occasional water supplies in winter.

Since cacti can be dormant in winter, you may water them weekly in spring to help them recover from dormancy. Plants coming out of dormancy typically require more than the usual water supply.

In summer, you can increase the water supply from once to thrice (or more) a week to prevent cell dehydration. You may also check the soil to determine watering needs.

Check Potting Mix Problems

Sometimes, an underwatered potting mix can cause dryness in cacti plants. Many plant owners overlook this factor and entirely focus on the plant’s shape and texture.

A healthy potting mix should be moderately damp. Too much water or dry soil can cause problems for your cactus.

To check your plant’s potting mix, use a stick to gently push through the potting mix and take it out after a few seconds. If the stick looks damp, your potting mix needs no change.

Conversely, a dry potting mix indicates a lack of water. You can increase the water supply and monitor the plant for a few days to notice changes.

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Can a Cactus Get Too Dry? – The Bottomline

Many locals in the U.S. love getting cacti plants for homes and workplaces due to their unique look and feel. While this plant has everything to adore, you may seek proper care guidance from a plant expert in your area to avoid underwatering issues. Feel free to explore plant care guide resources for more tips.

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