How often to water a cactus — gardening pros spill hydration tips

If you're a plant parent wondering how often to water a cactus, we have H20 tips and other care pointers to share

Three pots of cacti in grey or terracotta color pots on a rattan surface
(Image credit: Getty Images/Oscar Wong)

If you're wondering how often to water a cactus, rest assured this isn't going to be the thirstiest in your plant collection.

This prickly pal is used to thriving in the desert, plus it stores water in its stems, so it does not require frequent sips of H20. It's a rather self-sufficient succulent, but you still want to make sure you know how best to meet its watering needs. 

We spoke to an expert about how to care for this specific indoor plant, and when you should reach for the watering can. 

Here's how often to water a cactus, according to a pro

A garden ladder with different types of plants

(Image credit: Getty Images/victoriabee)

When gardening in an apartment and debating how often to water a cactus, we'll tell you this: don't overdo it. 

"Cacti thrive on a watering schedule that's less frequent than most plants, typically once every two to three weeks during their active growth periods in spring and summer, and even less during their dormant periods in fall and winter," says Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal

Caring for houseplants means being adaptable, and in a cactus' case, you'll want to avoid moisture, as it's not really a big fan. 

"The key is to let the soil fully dry out between waterings to avoid root rot, a common issue caused by overwatering," Gene adds. 

Speaking of soil, you'll want to consider using the best soil for succulents, as a cactus requires a particular type of environment to grow well. 

Cacti soil typically includes ingredients such as coarse sand, perlite, and crushed granite, to name a few. The Sill's Organic Cacti Mix is a well-draining selection that is used for indoor cacti. Additionally, Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm Citrus Potting Soil available at Target, caters to the plant's specific needs. 

More cactus care tips

It's not just about how often to water a cactus — it's about where to place it, what to keep it in, and how to check for signs it needs a little TLC, such as yellow leaves, indicating it's been overwatered. 

Make sure your indoor cacti are placed in bright, indirect light and warm temperatures. "Remember, the right balance of light, water, and temperature is crucial for maintaining a healthy cactus," Gene adds. 

Yes, it's been coined as an easy houseplant, but why not set up your green baby for success with just the right tools? After all, plant parents want the best for their flora. 

Gene Caballero
Gene Caballero

Gene Caballero is co-founder of Green Pal, a platform connecting customers to lawn care experts in their area throughout the United States. With such diverse areas to cover, Gene is well-versed in specific greenery needs for various environments. 

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Now that we've nailed down specifics about how often to water a cactus, let's tackle the general topic of how often to water succulents. Our gardening experts have the tips and tricks to keep them green and healthy.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.