Can I Keep Eve’s Needle Cactus Outside?

Being a plant enthusiast is all about collecting a wide range of different plant species that complement one another and can be kept in decorative arrangements.

While most succulents and indoor flowering plants are quite easy to find, you need to be looking for an Eve’s Needle cactus if you truly want to impress other plant collectors with your unique variety.

Known and globally desired for its bright green fleshy trunk and vibrant red-orange flowers that seasonally bloom into inedible fruits, the Eve’s Needle plant is one of the rarest and most beautiful members of the Cactaceae family.

Apart from its undeniable physical appeal, the flowering cactus is also a global favorite for its remarkably high tolerance and resistance.

However, although Eve’s Needle cactus has the natural ability to thrive outdoors, you must revise its care routine to ensure the winter cold in the USA does not kill the plant.

Keep reading to learn about Eve’s Needle cactus and its unique needs when planted outdoors. 

The Eve’s Needle Cactus Plant

The Austrocylindropuntia Subulata, commonly known as the Eve’s Needle or Needle cactus, is a stunning house plant that is generally quite challenging to find.

Native to regions of Argentina, Bolivia, and the South American Peruvian Andes Mountains, the beautiful flowering cactus grows best in warmer weather conditions with moderate atmospheric humidity.

Despite being one of the slower-growing members of the Cactaceae family, the Eve’s Needle cactus can grow up to an impressive ten to thirteen feet in height during its decade-long lifespan.

While most cactuses are known for their thick leathery stems, Eve’s Needle cactus is a plant enthusiast’s absolute must-have for its undeniable physical beauty and captivating appeal.

Not only are the cactus’ fleshy limbs covered with clusters of long needle-like spikes, but its bright orange-red flowers also bloom into beautiful round apple-like fruits that further accentuate the plant’s overall attraction.

Moreover, apart from being an absolute stunner that will leave other plant enthusiasts in awe, the Eve’s Needle cactus is equally demanded its highly tolerant nature that allows it to endure varying living conditions indoors and outdoors.

However, although your fruit-bearing cactus can easily outgrow other garden plants when grown outdoors, you must be aware of how its caring routine must change according to the external atmospheric conditions.

Can I Keep Eve’s Needle Cactus Outside?

As explained above, Eve’s Needle cactus is as tolerant and resistant as other popular cactus species. Known for thriving on deprivation, a growing Eve’s Needle cactus will be able to retain both its beauty and endurance when kept in unideal living conditions for limited periods.

Like other members of the Cactaceae family, Eve’s Needle cactus also has thorns instead of leaves that help reduce its exposure to the external environment.

When the outdoor weather gets too hot or if the flowering cactus is left under the direct sun, its lack of leaves limits its water loss to transpiration. As a result, the spiky plant is able to retain its hydration, which helps it maintain its rate of photosynthesis and beautiful plump appearance.

Moreover, while most outdoor plant species are at risk of getting destroyed by feeding or curious animals, this is not a concern for an Eve’s Needle cactus.

Since the cactus is covered in long needle-like spikes, it is automatically well-protected against both domestic and wild cats, dogs, rodents, and birds.

Furthermore, since the Eve’s Needle cactus has multiple thick trunk-like stems that conserve water, the thorny desert plant can comfortably endure extended periods of limited watering and little to no rainfall.

Because of these natural adaptations, Eve’s Needle cactus will grow several feet, and keep blossoming new red flowers even when the outside weather seems too hot and dry.

Hence, if you want to plant your Eve’s Needle cactus outdoors, go ahead!

Not only will the vibrant flowering cactus enhance your house’ exterior outlook, but the plant will also have a better chance of growing significantly taller than if potted indoors.

Top Factors that Affect an Outdoor Eve’s Needle Cactus

While a wild Eve’s Needle cactus may grow ten to thirteen feet tall, an indoor potted Needle cactus will get no taller than three feet during its lifetime.

This is one of the main reasons why people prefer to plant their thorny flowering cactus outdoors instead of limiting its growth potential to an indoor potting container.

However, even though an Eve’s Needle cactus’s natural design strengthens it enough to thrive outdoors, it is important to know that certain weather conditions may cause the plant to die.

Some of the factors that can affect an outdoor Eve’s Needle cactus’ survivability are as follows:

Overwatering

In general, the primary rule to keep in mind whenever you bring home any cactus species is to water it as frequently as possible without killing it.

Unlike most other plants and succulents that have left to transpire and diffuse water, a cactus is able to control the movement of its water by not having any leaves at all.

Hence, whatever water you provide your Eve’s Needle cactus, the desert plant can store and conserve it for periods of water scarcity. This allows the plant to survive drought-like conditions and keep its internal temperature low under direct sun.

Moreover, another distinct quality of cactuses like Eve’s Needle is its special roots. While most plant roots have a limited water absorption capacity, Eve’s Needle cactus’ roots can absorb as much water as possible.

This helps the desert plant collect and conserve water, allowing it to retain its beauty and health.

However, if the Eve’s Needle cactus is planted in the same soil as other water-dependent plants, there is a high chance that you might accidentally overwater your flowering cactus.

Moreover, while it is relatively easy to control the moisture level of an indoor potted Eve’s Needle cactus, you will have very little control over how much water reaches your cactus’ roots if it rains outside.

If the Eve’s Needle cactus absorbs and stores more water than it naturally should, its stem may rot from a fungal infection. This will negatively impact the plant’s health and will kill it prematurely.

Insufficient Sunlight

Plant species like Eve’s Needle cactus need ample sunlight to survive. The light helps catalyze the plant’s photosynthesis process, which helps it produce its plant food and green pigment.

If a young and short Eve’s Needle cactus is planted next to a taller or bushier plant species, it will be deprived of its sunlight requirements.

Direct Sunlight

While desert plants like Eve’s Needle cactus are well-adapted to thriving under the direct sun’s heat, it is important to monitor how the external heat affects the level of moisture in the cactus’ soil.

Although the Eve’s Needle cactus does well with very little water, it needs some moisture to store and survive.

When the flowering cactus is planted outdoors under direct sunlight, the chances are that water may evaporate out of the cactus’ soil before it reaches the plant’s roots.

If this continues for several months, the Eve’s Needle cactus will eventually dehydrate and die after using up all of its stored water reserves.

Insufficient Nutrition and Fertilization

Although tolerant plants like the Eve’s Needle cactus can be grown next to many other plant species, you must monitor and vary the amount of nutrition and fertilization according to the number and types of plant species growing in the same soil.

For instance, if an Eve’s Needle cactus is planted next to a fast-growing plant species that consume whatever amount of nutrition or fertilizer it can find, it may deprive the fruit-bearing cactus of its natural requirements.

As a result, the Eve’s Needle cactus’ growth rate will further slow down, and the plant may suffer from stunted growth.

Freezing Temperatures

Finally, while the Eve’s Needle cactus does beautifully in warm to hot weather, it is severely challenged when grown outdoors during the harsh winter.

When you water the cacti during the cold winter months, it is possible that the water may freeze inside the cactus’ soil before reaching the plant’s roots.

As a result, not only will the Eve’s Needle cactus be deprived of its watering needs, but the chances of a fungal infection occurring in the moist soil are also high. This condition is called root rot.

The fungus can eat away the Eve’s Needle cactus’ roots if this happens. This will permanently affect the desert plant’s ability to absorb water and will thus significantly reduce its lifespan.

Hence, if the external temperature is expected to drop, you should shift your Eve’s Needle cactus into a suitable-sized container to move it indoors until the weather gets warm again. 

Austrocylindropuntia Subulata, Pink Eves Pin Needle Cactus, Opuntia Cactus, Opuntia Subulata cylindrica, Austrocylindropuntia subulata

Final Thoughts – Invest in an Eve’s Needle Cactus Now!

Although the Eve’s Needle cactus has the natural tolerance to endure outside temperatures, it is best to bring it indoors when the external temperature drops.  Moreover, water your flowering desert plant slightly more during the extremely hot weather, and fertilize it more frequently when growing next to a fast-growing plant species.

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