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Home > Types of Plants > Cacti and other succulents > Watering
Watering of Cacti and other succulents
Watering of Cacti While growing, cacti and succulents cannot go for prolonged periods without water. In the main it comes down to common sense. During the summer when it is very hot, water once a week, giving the soil a good soaking. When the weather is cooler, increase the interval between each watering. The potting mixture should dry out between waterings. During winter, cacti and many succulents rest, so they require little or no water, but this depends a little on temperature and light levels. If you grow plants indoors on the window sill of a heated room, they will require some water during the winter.

Never leave cacti and succulents standing in water for prolonged periods. This is the most certain way to kill your plants.

Water Quality: In many parts of the world, the tap water contains alkaline and other salts, and additives such as chlorine, and should be avoided. Spraying plants with tap water containing salts will leave unsightly white deposits on the plants, and spines around the base of cacti may become encrusted with minerals. By boiling water, some of the alkaline minerals may be removed but some soluble components will remain.

Clean rain water is preferable to tap water, and a little fertiliser (Cactigrow or balanced Chempack) should be added to each watering throughout the growing period. Rainwater barrels can be fed from house or green-house roofs.

To stop mosquitos and other insect larvae from breeding in your rain water barrel put a few drops of olive oil or other vegetable oil on to the top of the water. The oil spreads out and forms a film on the top of the water that stops the mosquito larvae from breathing air through the water surface. Renew the oil every week through the summer. Light mineral oils also work, but are less desirable contaminants.
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