How Often Do You Water a Baby Cactus?
It all depends on the size of your cactus seedlings. While it's very easy to get them to germinate, the hardest thing is getting them through the next stage from a seedling into a mature cactus.
If you water too much, then you risk encountering problems like damping off and fungus diseases, which cactus seedlings are very prone to. But if you don't water enough, the fine, delicate little root hairs that are forming on the seedlings can dry up, causing you to lose the seedlings.
<1cm in Width: Keep Soil Moist at All Times
When your seedlings are very small, less than 1 centimeter in their width, you must make sure that the soil is always moist because they lack the water storage of larger, mature cacti. A big, mature cactus can go many, many months without water. A cactus seedling cannot.
So at this size, the soil must be moist at all times, but not wet—there's a difference between moist soil and wet soil!
>1cm in Width: Water Once a Month
However, once they get past that very small stage, usually one centimeter in width or more, then I start to withhold watering a little bit more. For cacti that are over a year old, I tend to water them just once a month and let the soil completely dry out before I water again.
Now cactus seedlings are again different to mature cacti that like to have a complete winter dormancy where I don't water at all. With seedlings, they do not like to go a very long time (for example, through all of winter) without water. As I say, they're still young.
In the spring and summer, water your seedlings every time the soil dries out.
What Is the Best Way to Water Seedlings?
I recommend using a little Hozelock sprayer for watering cactus seedlings. I wouldn't recommend spraying the seedlings with a regular sprayer, especially when they're very small, because water droplets can get caught in between the young seedlings and cause things like damping off and fungus. So you want to a little nozzle and water close into the base of the seedlings (see video above for demo).
More Cactus and Succulent Tips and How-Tos
- Can You Make Cacti Flower Year Round? Yes and No.
Learn how to force your cacti to flower in winter (and why you shouldn't!).
- How to Propagate Succulents in Water (With Video Demo)
Rooting succulents in water couldn't be easier, and seeing the roots start to form is so exciting.
- 6 Signs Your Cactus or Succulent Needs to Be Repotted
From yellowed or shriveling leaves to lack of growth, here are six ways to tell if it's time to repot your cactus or succulent.
© 2022 Lyn Kimberley