As interest in gardening spreads, cacti are gaining popularity for their unique and easygoing nature. But a big question remains: Which cacti can handle the cold? Cacti’s knack for surviving in various climates is impressive. So, let’s see how well these tough plants handle the cold and find out just how chilly it can get before they start struggling.
How Cold Can A Cactus Tolerate?
Think of cacti as desert travelers in winter coats – they can handle the cold to a certain extent. Most cacti are okay down to around 50°F (10°C). But some cacti are like cold warriors. The prickly pear cactus, for instance, can tough out temperatures as low as -20°F (-29°C) briefly, as long as it’s not wet. But, like us with our warm jackets, a cactus’s ability to handle the cold depends on factors like how healthy it is, how much water it has, and how long the cold snap lasts. So, while many cacti are fantastic with a little chill if it’s going to get seriously cold, it might be wise to give them a little extra cover or even bring them inside.
Which Cactus Can Survive The Cold Weather?
Some popular cold-tolerant cacti include:
- The Prickly Pear (Opuntia) is known for its resilience to frost and can withstand temperatures as low as -20°F (-29°C) for short periods when dry.
- The Ball Cactus (Parodia) is another cold-hardy option, able to endure temperatures down to 20°F (-6°C).
- The Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus) and the Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) also tolerate colder conditions than their desert counterparts.
These cacti have adapted to survive in different climates, showing that nature has its own ways of dealing with the cold.
How To Care For Cacti In Winter
Caring for cacti during the colder months means making intelligent changes to keep them happy. First, cut down on watering a lot. Cacti take a break in the winter, so too much water can harm their roots. Also, be sure they’re getting enough sunlight. If they’re outside, put them in places with lots of sun during the day. Inside, put them near windows that face the sun.
Keep an eye on the temperature, too. If you have cacti outside and it will freeze, bring them indoors for the night or put something over them to protect them. Indoors, avoid putting them by windows or doors that get chilly drafts. Also, please only give them a little plant food (fertilizer).
They’re not growing as fast in the winter, so they don’t need as much. If you see any dead parts, you can cut them off, but don’t go overboard. Lastly, watch out for too much humidity, especially indoors. Make sure your home is well-ventilated. And if there’s a chance of frost, cover up your outdoor cacti at night with blankets or unique covers, but take them off during the day so they can see the sun. Check them occasionally for pests, even though bugs are usually less active in the winter. When spring comes, water them more and return to your regular care routine as they wake up and start growing again.
For an overall post about cactus care, see here: How to Take Care Of A Cactus.
A Few Final Words
Cacti are actual survivors, facing conditions that would give most plants a shiver. As we are wrapping up our exploration, we’ve discovered a bunch of cacti that have found clever ways to handle the cold. From the tough Opuntia to the sturdy Sempervivum, these plants show us that being strong comes in many shapes. So, remember that nature is pretty tough, and with some know-how and care, these prickly pals can hang in there even when the weather turns chilly.
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Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City
Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!