Cactus flowers

Best Tips For Caring For Cacti And Succulent Houseplants

Follow our hints and tips for success with cacti and succulents


  • Cacti and succulents need very well draining compost otherwise they rot.
  • Plant indoor cacti in a 50/50 mixture of loam based John Innes No 2 and horticultural grit.
  • Make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom of the container.
  • Cacti and succulents are one of the few plants which can tolerate a baking hot south facing windowsill.
  • Watch the video and read the blog showing how to re-pot cacti.  

Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus)

Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus)


  • Make sure they are almost completely dry before watering.
  • Don’t over-water otherwise they will rot; especially if temperatures are not sufficiently high to evaporate any excess water.
  • Feed monthly from spring to autumn with a specialised cacti fertiliser.



  • White fly can be a problem in a household environment so spray with an insecticide at the first signs.
  • Red spider mite is also a problem and very difficult to spot. Take a fine mister and lightly spray the plant and the webs should show up clearly. Spray with an insecticide. If the infestation is heavy you may have to destroy the plant.
  • Rotting is the result of overwatering and is not treatable, so you will have to throw the plant away.

Aloe vera


  • Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus) and Rhipsalidopsis (Easter Cactus) are classed as succulents but do need slightly different conditions to the cacti. They need more water and will tolerate being constantly damp.
  • Try growing Aloe vera on the kitchen windowsill and just cut the tip off a leaf to soothe burns.
  • The succulents make excellent starter plants to get children interested in gardening.
  • Group a few together in a shallow terracotta bowl to make your own desert scene; decorate the surface of the compost with gravel and  rocks.

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Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas