How to Care For a Spring Cactus?

Spring cactus, also referred to by the name Easter cactus, is a beautiful tropical plant that originates from the lush green forests of Brazil.

What makes the Easter cactus popular among plant lovers is the unique shape of its blooms — which resemble stars. Spring cactuses are usually considered low-maintenance plants.

However, there are a few measures the plant owners need to take to ensure the plant stays happy. Keep reading for a spring cactus care guide to help keep your spring cactus happy and blooming.

How to Care For a Spring Cactus

Since the spring cactus belongs to the Cactaceae family, plant owners may believe they must follow similar protocols to care for these plants. However, the care requirements for this plant are quite different from that of desert cactuses.

For example, these plants like cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich soils and don’t prefer direct sunlight. You can make your spring cactus bloom all year round by simply considering the following factors:

Sunlight

Most cactus plants thrive in at least four hours of bright direct light daily. However, certain species, like the eastern cactus, may scorch if exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period.

Hence, although light is necessary for your cactus to grow, you must ensure that it receives only indirect bright light during the day.

Make sure to keep the plant away from west-facing windows and instead keep them near east-facing windows. You can also place your Easter cactus outdoors during the summer month. However, make sure to provide adequate shelter.

Water

The spring cactus does not require much water to thrive. Therefore, you must only water when the top layer of the soil looks dry. It is best to water the plant every two to three weeks.

If you are unsure if the plant requires water, you can also place your finger into the top layer of the soil (3 inches) to see if it is dry. If yes, you can water the plant. If not, wait for the soil to dry out before watering.

Since the growing season for the plant is from April to September, it may require more water than usual during these months.

However, you must avoid overwatering and give the plant time to dry out between waterings. When the soil dries out, ensure to offer the plant plenty of water until it begins draining out from the drainage hole.

Moreover, never allow the water to accumulate in the saucer since that can cause your spring cactus to drown. It is also advisable to reduce the watering from late autumn to the early winter. Doing so will help you encourage the plant to bloom.

Temperature

Since cactus plants grow in deserts, many beginners of the world of cactuses may believe these plants thrive in extreme heat. However, this is not the case since spring cactuses prefer low temperatures and will only bloom if kept in cool areas.

The plant thrives at temperatures ranging from 21°C to 26°C during the summer but prefers temperatures as low as 12°C to 15°C during the winter. These temperatures during the wintertime are optimal for your spring cactus to blossom.

Fertilization

Spring cactuses require nutrient-rich soil to thrive. Therefore, it’s essential to keep the plant nourished and to fertilize it every two months after it has finished flowering.

A monthly dose of balanced fertilization is also an excellent technique to prepare the plant for the flowering season. However, you must refrain from fertilizing throughout the winter when the plant is blooming.

Enhancing the soil’s nutrients with an organic fertilizer once a year can also assist you in keeping the plant growing at a steady rate.

When purchasing fertilizer for your spring cactus, make sure it is manufactured specifically for spring cactus. These fertilizers usually contain high levels of phosphorus compared to nitrogen.

Humidity

Spring cactus humidity requirements are easier to achieve than other species that demand high humidity levels. These cactus plants thrive in standard household humidity levels ranging from 40 and 60 percent.

However, these plants may become unhappy if you live somewhere in a dry environment. Thankfully, humidifiers or pebble trays are simple solutions to this problem. You can provide the necessary humidity levels for the plant to blossom by purchasing any of these products.

Soil

​Spring cactuses are epiphytes — plants that do not grow roots within the ground but instead, grow on other microorganisms’ surfaces. Such plants thrive on permeable soils with proper aeration and high organic matter content.

The best potting mix for your spring cactus is a mixture of peat moss, coco coir, orchid bark, and perlite. Furthermore, as previously discussed, frequent fertilization is vital since spring cactuses prefer nutrient-rich soil.

Although spring cacti may thrive in conventional pitting mixtures, providing them with a well-draining soil mix is preferable to ensure optimal development and health.

Pruning

Since cacti are not fast-growing plants, they require little to no pruning. The majority of individuals prune this plant to shape it. However, while trimming to shape the plant, make sure not to chop off too much because the plant may take months to grow.

Experts recommend pruning this plant immediately after it has finished flowering during the growing season to stimulate faster growth. When pruning your spring cactus, pay special attention to cutting off the upper leaf pad from the stems at the joints.

Additionally, always disinfect your garden scissors before pruning your cactus to avoid pest infestations and the spread of disease. 

Propagation

Individuals interested in propagating spring cactus plants can do so through cuttings or seeds.

Growing spring cactuses from seeds can be challenging, especially if you’re not a seasoned grower, since it may require you to go through the process of pollinating the plant, harvesting the seeds, and being highly patient.

Therefore, most people prefer propagating this plant through cuttings. The ideal time to propagate spring cactus is at least two months after the end of the blooming season.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can propagate your spring cactus through cuttings:

  • Carefully break a leaf off the mother plant while ensuring you do not damage the base
  • Once you have the cutting, take a small pot and fill it with a potting mix appropriate for potting spring cactuses
  • Now insert the bottom half of the cutting into the soil while leaving the top half out
  • Gently mist the cutting before covering the pot with a plastic bag
  • Wait a few weeks before watering the leaves after the roots start to emerge
  • Maintain a watering schedule of how you would water a fully-grown spring cactus

Repotting

Spring cactuses enjoy a cozy pot-bound lifestyle. Therefore, they do not require frequent repotting. Repotting them every two years to provide fresh soil is all you need to do to keep these plants happy.

You can also replant your spring cactus in the same pot as before if there is still room for the plant to grow. If you think the plant requires a larger pot, a two-inch wider pot will do.

Experts recommend spring cactus owners consider using lay pots to plant their spring cactus since these containers offer optimal aeration and drainage. The best time for repotting is right after the blooming season has ended.

Pests and Diseases

Spring cactuses are not highly susceptible to pests and diseases. However, they are subject to spider mites, maybe scale, and mealy bugs.

Always inspect your spring cactus for pests between waterings to avoid pest damage. If you spot any pest infestations, treat them with a pesticide.

Store-bought pesticides can do more harm than damage to your plant. Therefore, stick to natural pesticides like neem oil.

The plant may also suffer from a fungal disease called root rot. The best way to avoid this is to use aerated and well-draining soil mix and avoid overwatering. 

Important tip! Always keep a pest-infested plant separate from your other plants to avoid them from getting infected.

Spring Cactus (Surprise Colors) - 4" from California Tropicals

Final Verdict

Individuals asking ‘how to care for a spring cactus’ can do a fantastic job growing healthy and blooming cactus plants by following the spring cactus care guide outlined above.

Remember to provide the plant with nutrient-rich soil, water only when it is dry, avoid direct sunlight and offer indirect light, and keep the plant in cool temperatures to watch its star-shaped blooms blossom.

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