The Q&A Archives: Cactus Indoors

Question: I bought 4 cactus plants for a planter that sits between my picture window and front door. All but 2 have died. I planted them according to the directions and give them 1 tablespoon of water about once a month. The leaves begin to turn brown and die one by one until the entire plant is dead. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: Cactus likes bright light, heat and drought. If your cactus are dying, they may not be getting the amount of sunlight they require. You can help things along, especially in the winter months, by supplementing the natural light with artificial light in the form of fluorescent light or a gro-light. Try to keep the plants as warm as possible; keep them out of cold drafts, and water them thoroughly, letting the soil dry out between waterings. If the cactus leaves are turning brown, it indicates they're not getting enough water. Try soaking the entire pot in a pan or bowl of tepid water until no bubbles emerge, then letting it drain. Don't water again until the soil is completely dry, then immerse again and allow to drain. Most cactus rest during the winter months, wont' require much water, and will survive cooler temperatures (55F -65F). They'll need much more warmth and light in the spring, summer, and autumn months. Hope the above helps revive your two remaining cacti!

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