Most succulents, as we all know, are slow growers, but cactuses may be the slowest! In fact, it might take up to ten years for certain cactus species to grow an inch! So, if you’re at home and your cactus aren’t growing, don’t be alarmed; delayed growth is quite normal. The purpose of this post is to explain why the desert plant develops slowly and to show you how to speed up cactus growth.
Before learning how to make cactus grow quicker, it’s important to understand why cactus grow slowly in the first place, as well as how quickly they truly grow.
What is the rate of cactus growth?
Because there are so many distinct types of cactus, each will grow at a different rate. Each will, however, go through the same stages of development.
It might take up to two years for your cactus to sprout merely a few centimeters while they are in their early phases of growth. However, once it’s established, you may anticipate your cactus to grow 1-3cm every year.
Cactus plants can take anywhere from 10 to 15 years to achieve their full potential, and sometimes much longer.
Let’s have a look at the stages of cactus growth to get a better idea of how quickly they grow. Isn’t what you’re looking for? Then have a peek at our most recent blog about cactus blooming frequency.
It may take weeks or even months for you to detect any growth after you’ve put your tiny cactus seed in the soil. Some spines may start to develop, although not every cacti will have spines.
The germination process necessitates patience, and if no significant changes have occurred in the first month, you must simply wait! I promise it will happen at some time, and there is currently nothing you can do to speed up the growth of your cactus.
Stage of the seedling
The seedling stage follows. This is very exciting because it is the first time you will notice any changes. In the first few of years, your cactus will only grow a few centimeters from here. Cactuses will typically grow 1-3cm every year after that.
Why do cactus take such a long time to grow?
We’ll talk about how to make cactus grow quicker shortly, but first, let’s talk about WHY cacti grow slowly and understand the science behind it.
Slow growth is a means of survival for the cactus plant. The desert is its native home, where water and nutrients are sparse. Not to mention the fact that the earth is quite dry. Plants require water and nutrients to carry out photosynthesis. Because desert cacti receive so little of both, it is nearly impossible for them to grow rapidly.
The cactus’ primary priority is survival overgrowth due to the limited nutrients available. Rather of growing a lot of new growth, they choose to conserve water in order to withstand extended periods of drought.
a scarcity of leaves
You’ve probably observed that cactuses lack leaves. Although some have what we term “spines,” cactus leaves are non-existent. Water received by a plant’s roots is usually drained via the leaves.
In fact, if cactus had leaves and evaporated their water rather than retaining it, they would struggle to survive, let alone develop.
Cactus, on the other hand, lack leaves and hence do not absorb the sun’s rays as well as other plants. And, as we all know, a plant’s ability to create energy through photosynthesis depends on its ability to absorb the sun’s rays.
Chlorophyll levels are higher in plants with bigger leaves. This molecule is responsible for the green hue of plants and is also a necessary component of photosynthesis. Because cacti lack leaves, their chlorophyll levels are reduced, limiting their capacity to absorb sunlight and convert it into food.
Cactus are often covered in a cotton-like material to shield them from the harsh desert sun, making it even more difficult to soak in the rays. It’s no surprise that cactus is a slow-growing plant!
Stomata are fewer.
Stomata are microscopic holes or apertures in the tissue of a plant that allow for gas exchange. They’re most common in plant leaves, although they can also be found in stems. Cactus have fewer stomata than other plants, which contributes to its sluggish growth.
As a plant’s stomata open to take in carbon dioxide, some of the water in its leaves evaporates. Cactus could not survive in the desert if they lost a lot of water via their stomata, hence they have evolved to have fewer stomata than other plants.
Because they have fewer stomata, they can’t ingest as much carbon dioxide, thus limiting their capacity to complete photosynthesis.
All of the features that allow cactus to flourish in the desert are also causes for their sluggish growth, which is a pain!
We’ll walk you through our advice on how to make cactus grow quicker now that you understand why they’re sluggish growers.
How can I get my cactus to grow faster?
It’s time to get down to business and talk about how to make cactus grow quicker! If you’ve had your cactus for a while and haven’t seen much in the way of growth, it’s natural if you’re frustrated! Although there isn’t much you can do to speed up development, there are a few things you can do to assist your cactus thrive.
Here are some pointers on how to get your cactus to grow quicker.
Get the best cactus dirt.
For your cactus, you’ll want to choose well-draining soil that’s also high in nutrients. Use a potting soil made up of a mixture of porous inorganic material (sand, gravel, grit, granite) and a smaller amount of organic media. This allows for proper drainage.
Give your cactus plenty of light.
It’s crucial to remember that the cactus is native to the desert, therefore it’s critical that you provide it with plenty of sunshine. Finding the brightest area in your home (typically a south-facing window) and placing your plant there to soak in the sunlight is a good idea.
Make care to rotate your cactus once a week to ensure that the entire plant receives sunshine and to avoid sunburn! (Yes, most succulents and cacti may get sunburned, resulting in your cactus turning white.)
If you reside in an area where there isn’t much natural light, you’ll want to invest in a high-quality grow lamp. Grow lights are an excellent method to keep your cactus plants healthy all year long while also encouraging growth.
Maintain the proper temperature.
Cacti are desert plants that require hot conditions to grow. You should aim for a temperature of 45 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilize as needed.
Although cactuses don’t require feeding on a regular basis, when they do, you’ll want to use a high-quality fertilizer. Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food is a good choice. It’s an incredible bargain for only $7, and it’s a terrific product. It’s water soluble and simple to use. When your plant needs to be watered, combine 7 drops with a gallon of water.
All succulents and cacti can benefit from this fertilizer. The instructions say to use every time you water, but I don’t recommend it. Use just once, at the start of the growth season. If you don’t notice benefits after a few weeks, try again, but don’t do so on a regular basis, since this may cause more damage than good!
Water in a right manner
Although cactuses do not require frequent watering, this does not imply you should neglect your plant! It will still require some tender loving care. Underwatering causes shriveling, so be sure to water at the right periods. Overwatering, on the other hand, can stifle development, which is the last thing we want in this article about how to grow your cactus quicker.
When watering a cactus, it’s all about finding a happy medium. Watering your cactus too much or too little might lead to the inquiry, “Why has my cactus gone floppy?” – and no one wants that!
A cactus plant should be watered regularly during the spring and summer months. Make sure the potting soil gets a good soak and that any excess water drains away. Don’t overwater your plant since it can damage the roots, and make sure the soil is absolutely dry before rewatering.
Allow your cactus to relax throughout the colder months of fall and winter. Depending on the circumstances, water might last anywhere from two weeks to a month.
What cactus has the quickest growth rate?
The cardon grande cactus (Echinopsis terscheckii) is one of the fastest-growing cacti. One of the biggest of the Echinopsis species, this fast-growing, beautiful columnar cactus may reach heights of twenty-five feet or more.
Mature plants can produce branches or side arms with eight to fourteen deep ribs and ten-inch-wide yellow spines. In late April, it produces eight-inch-long white night blooms with dark red to green outer segments.
The cardon grande cactus is one of the fastest-growing cacti and is endemic to Argentina.