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How to Water Cactus Seedlings (With Demo Video and Tips)

Lyn is a horticulturist and YouTuber with over 35 years of experience growing succulents and cacti.

Seedlings that are less than a centimeter in width need their soil to be kept moist at all times.

Seedlings that are less than a centimeter in width need their soil to be kept moist at all times.

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!

Seedlings that are over a centimeter in width need less frequent watering.

Seedlings that are over a centimeter in width need less frequent watering.

>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.

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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.

A Hozelock sprayer can help you water your seedlings with precision.

A Hozelock sprayer can help you water your seedlings with precision.

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).

I wish you a wonderful, plant-powered day!

I wish you a wonderful, plant-powered day!

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© 2022 Lyn Kimberley

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