The Q&A Archives: Care Of Desert Plants

Question: How do I care for succulents and cactus. I have a wide variety. I need watering, repotting and sun directions, particularly for the aloe vera plants as they seem to be dying.

Answer: There are hundreds if not thousands of succulents and cacti, and they can have different care requirements, depending on where they originate. As a general rule, they need extremely well-drained soil and don't like their roots to sit in wet soil. Don't overwater or they can rot. During winter dormancy, many can get by on monthly watering, increasing to every two weeks during active growth. They don't need to be repotted very often, only if rootbound (roots coming out of pot). Try to find a potting soil formulated for cacti, or add about 50 percent perlite, pumice or vermiculite to regular potting soil. Most will take sun or very bright light, but others need protection from intense afternoon sun. Aloe vera benefits from bright light but not direct sun in the afternoon. Don't overwater, or roots can rot. Hope this helps!

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