How Often Should You Water a Cactus?


Greetings to all cactus enthusiasts! Are you wondering how often you should water your beloved cactus to keep it healthy and thriving? Well, wonder no more! In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about watering your cactus. Whether you are a first-time plant parent or a seasoned cacti lover, this article will give you insights on the best watering practices for your cactus.

Before we dive into the topic, it is essential to know that cacti are unique plants that require special care. Unlike other plants, they don’t require frequent watering due to their water storage capabilities.

In this article, we will cover everything from the best watering frequency to the different factors that influence how often you should water your cactus. So, let’s get started!

How Often Should You Water a Cactus?

Watering a cactus is a crucial aspect of its care routine. However, the watering frequency often varies depending on several factors such as:

Type of Cactus

The type of cactus you own plays a significant role in determining how often you should water it. Some cacti species can store more water than others, meaning that they require less frequent watering. For instance, the barrel cactus, which stores a lot of water in its stem, can survive longer periods without watering, while the Christmas cactus needs more frequent watering.

Humidity and Temperature

The humidity and temperature levels in your surrounding environment can affect how much water your cactus needs. High humidity and low temperatures can reduce the amount of water your cactus requires, whereas hot and dry conditions will increase its water needs.

Pot Size and Soil Type

The size of your cactus’s pot and the type of soil you use can also influence its water needs. A larger pot will require more water to reach all areas of the soil, while sandy soil will dry out faster than clay soil, leading to more frequent watering.

Growth Stage

The growth stage of your cactus can also affect how often you water it. Newly planted, young, and actively growing cacti require more frequent watering, while mature and dormant cacti need less water.

Watering Frequency Chart

Here is a table of the watering frequency guidelines for the most common cacti species:

Cactus Type Watering Frequency
Barrel Cactus Every 3-4 weeks
Prickly Pear Cactus Every 2-3 weeks
Christmas Cactus Every 1-2 weeks
Saguaro Cactus Every 6-8 weeks
Golden Barrel Cactus Every 2-3 weeks

Advantages and Disadvantages of Overwatering and Underwatering

Both overwatering and underwatering your cactus can lead to serious health issues. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both practices:


Overwatering your cactus can cause root rot, which is a fungal disease that occurs when the roots are too wet. This can lead to yellowing, wilting, and the eventual death of your cactus. Some of the advantages of overwatering include:

  • Increased growth
  • Increased flowering

However, these advantages are short-lived and outweighed by the risks of overwatering.


Underwatering your cactus can lead to dehydration, which can cause wilting, discoloration, and other health issues. Some of the advantages of underwatering include:

  • Reduced risk of root rot
  • Increased drought tolerance

However, the disadvantages of underwatering are more severe and can cause irreversible damage to your cactus.


1. How do I know when my cactus needs water?

Answer: You can check if your cactus needs water by sticking your finger in the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water your cactus.

2. Can I water my cactus with tap water?

Answer: Yes, you can use tap water to water your cactus, but make sure you let it sit for at least 24 hours to allow any chlorine or fluoride to evaporate.

3. Can I use a spray bottle to water my cactus?

Answer: Yes, you can use a spray bottle to water your cactus, but make sure to spray directly at the base of the plant and not the top to avoid rotting the stem.

4. Can I water my cactus from the bottom?

Answer: No, it’s not recommended to water your cactus from the bottom as it can lead to root rot.

5. What is the best time of day to water my cactus?

Answer: The best time to water your cactus is in the morning when the temperatures are cooler. Avoid watering your cactus during the hottest part of the day as the water can evaporate quickly.

6. Can I mist my cactus?

Answer: No, misting your cactus isn’t recommended as the water droplets can cause spots and lead to fungal infections.

7. Do cacti need more water during the summer?

Answer: Yes, cacti require more water during the summer months due to the higher temperatures and increased evaporation rate.

8. Can I use fertilizer when watering my cactus?

Answer: Yes, you can use a cactus-specific fertilizer when watering your cactus, but make sure to follow the instructions carefully.

9. How long should I wait before watering my newly planted cactus?

Answer: It’s recommended to wait at least two weeks before watering your newly planted cactus to allow the roots to settle and avoid the risk of root rot.

10. Can I underwater my cactus?

Answer: Yes, you can underwater your cactus, but make sure not to let it dry out completely as this can cause irreparable damage.

11. What are the signs of an overwatered cactus?

Answer: The signs of an overwatered cactus include yellowing, softening, and wilting.

12. How can I save an overwatered cactus?

Answer: To save an overwatered cactus, you need to remove it from the soil, trim the rotted roots, and let it dry out for a few days before replanting it in a new pot with fresh soil.

13. Can cacti survive without water?

Answer: Yes, cacti can survive long periods without water due to their water storage capabilities. However, prolonged droughts can weaken the cactus and make it more susceptible to diseases and pests.


Now that you have learned everything about how often you should water your cactus, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Remember to consider the type of cactus, humidity and temperature levels, pot size and soil type, growth stage, and watering frequency chart when watering your cactus.

Always prioritize your cactus’s health over its aesthetics. Overwatering and underwatering can cause serious health issues, so make sure to strike a balance and monitor your cactus’s condition regularly.

Remember, a well-watered cactus is a happy cactus!

Closing Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace professional advice. Always consult a plant expert or horticulturist before making any significant changes to your cactus’s care routine.

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