How often do you water cactus plants, is a worry as most people believe that cacti don’t need any water at all because of their native dessert address while others will overwater it hoping to grow faster.

How Often Do You Water Cactus Plants

Either way, cactus will not have proper growth and suffer from different complications. We will discuss how often you should water cactus plants along with important watering tips and ways to stop overwatering for cacti. 

How Often Do You Water Cactus Plants?

You should water your cactus plant once every two weeks in summer time on the other hand, you should try to water it every four to six weeks in the winter season. This factor shows you that the soil needs to dry well, and then you must irrigate it.

When maintaining cactus plant, we often ignore their water requirements. It happens because we think cacti don’t need much water. After all, they come from desserts; however, this is a misconception we carry about the prickly plant, but it does store water, it’s not another way around, but this water is not the type that will last for ages.

You should water the indoor cactus soil whenever it feels dry. You should check the soil every two to three days by inserting a stick or finger. If it comes out dry, you must water the plant. Watering it once every two weeks will be adequate for its growth. Always remember that both overwatered cactus plants have a lesser chance of surviving.

As you understand the watering frequency of the cactus plant, know that it varies seasonally. The amount of water a cactus needs in summer will not match winter. Hence, you must know the water requirements of cacti in different seasons.

– Watering in Summer

You should water cactus plants every 10 to 14 days during summer and spring. It will be more than enough for the cactus to grow in abundance and increase. You should check the water for dryness and dampness. 

Watering in Summer

As the topsoil feels dry, water the cactus as much as it needs, and in summer it will start drying faster than it would in colder times, and this is because in summer the sun would be stronger. If you would like to use a hygrometer to check the water and moisture level in the garden soil. It will be beneficial for other plants in the garden too.

– Watering in Winter

During winter, nature remains damp. As a result, the soil will dry slower than it does in summer. It means you can prolong the watering interval for cacti in winter. It will be enough to water the cactus once a month during winter.

Alternatively, you can water it for proper maintenance every four to six weeks. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t maintain a watering schedule for the cactus. Instead, you need to monitor the soil and plant conditions regularly. You should avoid overwatering your cactus since you might damage it!

Factors like cactus plant size, age, type of soil, and location will affect the watering cycle, but again, in winter, the season is a cold one, so the plant wouldn’t be as active and the weather wouldn’t be one that would encourage for the soil to dry up as fast as it would when the climate begins to warm up.

Which Factors Determine Cactus Watering Cycle?

The factors that determine cactus watering cycle are the size of the plant, the humidity level, the lighting strength, and whether it is located indoors or outdoors. In addition, you should also think of the type of pot and the size you have with the soil, and type of plant. 

You should easily understand that indoor cacti plant or outdoor ones will have different water requirements. Also, sunlight and drainage systems control the plant’s water needs. Hence, we should look into the top factors of cactus water requirement.

– Cactus Size

The cactus’s size affects its watering schedule. You may assume that smaller cactus needs less water and larger ones need frequent watering. Well, the scenario is quite the opposite.

Cactus Size

Nonetheless, you shouldn’t pour more than two cups of water even for large and matured cacti, or else it will keep the soil wet for a prolonged period and cause root rot, as this is an essential part for cactus plant care.

Younger cacti need more water than adult ones. It happens because small cactus grows faster and requires more watering cactus frequency. On the contrary, matured cacti will need less watering frequency. It happens for two reasons mainly.

The reason why is that when you take a matured cactus has less evaporation due to their low volume-to-surface area ratio. As their root exterior gets thicker, they evaporate less water, and as a result, it needs less watering.

On the other hand when you have grown-up cacti, you should remember that they can survive the harshest conditions easily. As a result, underwatered cactus can do away for days, even months, without water. It makes cactus maintenance easy for everyone.

Nonetheless, you must understand that giant cactus needs less watering frequency but more water. As a result, you should consider watering the matured cactus less frequently. But, whenever you rinse them, ensure you pour ample water on the pot or raised bed. For a smaller pot, 250ml of water is ideal.

But for a couple of younger cacti, when you must do is to increase the watering frequency. However, water the soil only a little, or it causes root rot problems, but in this case you must make sure that the soil has time to dampens. Plus, water the growing cactus once every week to maintain its growth rate.

– The Humidity Level in Your Region

The more humid the air is, the lesser water cactus will need. It happens as humid air will keep the soil damp for an extended period. Hence, the humidity level in your region will determine how often to water cactus plants.

In arid and desert conditions, there will be less humidity. As a result, you should consider the air will soak the dampness from the soil faster. As a result, you need to water the cactus plants more, but also think of it as it would happen because, in an arid area, the water you have poured will evaporate more.

Conversely, in tropical and rain-prone areas, cacti will not evaporate fast, and this is how they can preserve water in their bodies. On another note, the soil will remain wet for an extended period. All these factors contribute to less watering frequency for cactus plants in tropical regions.

The best idea is to identify your local humidity. Then, you can plan the watering cycle for the cactus. It will stop water wastage while ensuring the perfect growth of the cactus, and when the soil feels dry, you would be encouraged to water it again.

– Lighting Scenario

The watering routine will also depend on the light conditions. Direct sunlight can quickly soak the dampness from the soil. Hence, the plant lying in bright sunlight will need more water. On the other hand, you can think of the situation in another way, as the cacti away from direct sunlight will require less watering, because they don’t have the chance to absorb it all.

Lighting Scenario

Plus, the exposure duration to direct sunlight will affect it too. If your cactuses are exposed to sun rays for four to six hours, you can water them once in 10 to 14 days. If the plants are exposed to sun rays for more than six hours, decrease the watering interval.

As we have found, you should water the cactus plants in the morning. As a result, you should think of their roots can consume the water from the soil throughout the daytime. In addition, when the night time comes, they can rest as the plant starts producing its food. Watering the cacti at night remains dampened for an extended period. This is a case, when it will be harmful to the plant.

– Indoor or Outdoor Location

Did you grow cacti indoors or outdoors? Understandably, indoor cacti will need less water because they often remain away from sunlight. Also, interior moisture level remains higher than outdoor. So, it helps in preserving the water in the pot too.

In short, think about it as a way that almost every indoor plant should get water in the morning. It helps them soak the water droplets from the soil gradually. As a result, they will be happier and remain in a better state, and the roots won’t be damaged, neither will they attract any fungi nor bacteria.

On the contrary, sunlight on outdoor cacti plants will soak the water faster. Thereby, you need to water them more frequently than indoor ones. You should water them once every seven to eight days. In contrast, watering cactus indoors for 14 to 16 days is enough.

Half to one cup of water for indoor cactus plants is enough. So, every time you rinse the cactus, pour half to one cup of water into its pot. Of course, the dryness of the soil and its drainage will control the amount. 

– Pot Type and Size

The type of pot and container size you use for cactus will determine the watering frequency too. Larger containers can accommodate more soil. Thus, it can preserve more water to serve the cactus roots, in short, it is simple to say that the plant would require less water.

On the flip side, when you have placed it in a smaller pot will have less soil in it. Hence, it can hold water for a shorter period. It increases the watering frequency. Think about it in this sense, when you place it in large pots, cactus needs water roughly once in four to six weeks. And when they are in smaller pots, water them once every two to three weeks.

Nonetheless, choosing larger pots for cacti can be fatal, because it is a determiner of their growth, and when they are in their ideal pot, they can thrive for years. As a larger container preserves more water, it runs the risk of root rot. Thereby, we recommend you use smaller pots for cacti, although you must water it frequently, it keeps the cacti free from overwatering complications.

– Pot and Potting Soil Type

Does the pot have proper drainage, or does it get stagnant? It will determine the cactus plant’s indoor irrigation requirement. Ideally, cacti pots must have a faster drainage facility. As the water drains rapidly, it keeps the soil slightly dehydrated, and simply the cacti will thrive in such conditions.

Pot and Potting Soil Type

Hence, you must check the drainage facility of the pot. Cacti pots often have large pores underneath, which helps in faster drainage. Which means that it would help if you poured in a lot of water. The pores of the pot will drain it and leave drier soil, it helps the prickly plant strive satisfactorily.

Like the pot, the soil you use also controls the watering frequency. If the soil mix is sandy and consists of pumice and perlite, it will drain faster and in a proper way. Thus, you need to water the soil frequently. On the contrary, muddy soil will hold the water for an extended period. You can water cacti once every four to six weeks for moist soil.

Also, note that the cacti soil mix should contain sandy soil, perlite, and coarse material. Moreover, the soiling pot should have more drainage holes than the regular ones. It will trigger the growth of the plant.

– Type of Cactus

Let’s remember that there are many cactus species. They are native to different regions. Naturally, they have a different watering necessity. You should check the species of the cacti closely. After that, consider how much water it needs, and then you would try to balance it out with the right type of the plant and its requirements.

Alternatively, you can communicate with your fellow cactus community. The expert gardeners will help you know the proper watering cycle for the particular species. For instance, prickly pear is among the most popular indoor cactus plants. 

It needs watering every three to four weeks, in short you would see that during summer, it would require once a month of irrigation. It will be adequate for the prickly pear cactus. On the other hand, golden barrel cactus needs frequent watering for survival.

– Proper Technique

Watering the cactus plant randomly will hurt it more than benefitting it. Henceforth, you should follow the proper technique for it, which is an essential task when it comes to cactus care.

You should pour water around the cactus plant base, and you would see it absorbed, and not staying on top of the soil. While many plants like water directly on their top and leaves, cactus is different. You should only water its base.

As you water the cactus, ensure it reaches at least three inches deep inside the soil. So, feel the soil with your finger. You should continue pouring water until it reaches three inches inside the soil.

If you plant the cacti outside, use a dripping hose for irrigation. It offers you better control over the watering necessity, basically, you should keep in mind that your plant can proliferate without any overwatering problem.


1. Can I Use a Spray To Water the Cactus?

No, you shouldn’t use a sprayer to water cactus. The spray technique will pour water over the cacti directly. It can ruin its stems and body. So, you should use a can to water the cacti base.

2. How Long Can Cacti Survive Without Water?

Wild cacti may survive even two years without water in deserts. On the contrary, in indoor conditions, cactus plants will survive for three to four months without water. It will, however, vary depending on the species you have.


You need to water cactus plants once every four to six weeks in summer and spring. In winter, you can stop watering the plants for months. In the rainy season, cactus hardly needs any water.

  • It’s best to use lukewarm water for the cactus plants. Also, avoid tap water if your region has a hardwater problem and contains calcium and magnesium.
  • If indoor cactus lives in cooler temperature and have enough ventilation, you may slow down its watering frequency.
  • Also, if it is close to a humidifier, its soil will remain moist. So, it can do away without water for four to six weeks or more.
  • During the growing seasons, you may use water and fertilizer simultaneously. A balanced and liquid fertilizer will work best in such conditions.
  • Knowing to irrigate according to your plant’s type and pot size is an ideal choice that would help in the growth of your plant.

You should now have detailed information about cactus watering needs from this ultimate guide. If you need to know about watering for aloe plants, asparagus, or other indoor plants, read our articles on them. As a plant parent, you will find these discussions valuable, and see your plant growing in its best ability. If you do not want to grow cactus, check out a list of plants that look like cactus!


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