How Often to Water Cactus?

Save for later!

All plants need water, right? But what about your cactus plant or succulent? In this article, we’ll tackle how to water your cactus and how often to do so.

How often to water cactus: The best way to water your cactus is to soak the soil completely and then allow excess water to drain out. Then, leave the plant until the soil is dry. You will have to water your cactus about every 10 to 14 days.

How often do you water cactus plants?

Cacti prefer dry soil but they do need some water. You will want to wait until the soil is completely dry before you water again.

While this can vary according to the natural humidity in the air and the amount of sunlight, aim to water your cactus every 10 to 14 days. This can be a longer period in the winter and a shorter period in the summer.

If you have a new cactus plant, be sure to test the soil to see how dry or moist it is. Place your finger in the soil, at least halfway down the container, to check the moisture level.

If there is any moisture in the soil, wait until it dries out further before watering again.

How often do you water succulents?

A cactus is a type of plant that falls under the umbrella of a succulent. Therefore, the same watering rules apply to succulents as they do to cacti.

Always allow the soil of your succulent plant to dry out completely between watering. Again, test the soil to see how damp it is and adjust your watering schedule as necessary.

What is the best way to water cactus plants?

Because you go long periods between watering, you want to fully soak the soil of your cactus. This can be a bit of a messy process if not done correctly.

First, your cactus should be in a container that has drainage holes in it. If not, the roots will become soggy and the soil won’t be able to properly drain itself.

Take your cactus to a sink and let the tap water pour over it. Keep it at low pressure so the most amount of water can be absorbed by the soil.

Keep the container over the sink as water will start to run through it. Turn the water off and leave the container in the sink until it stops dripping water. You can then return it to its home.

Place a dish underneath the cactus container to catch any extra water drips so it doesn’t damage the surface.

How do you know when a cactus needs water?

The soil is the easiest way to tell if a cactus needs water. The soil will be completely dry and even closer to the roots, there won’t be any moisture.

You can also look for signs along the cactus itself. This includes areas that turn yellow or light green, especially if the cactus is originally bright green.

The tiny spines on a cactus leaf may also turn brown if there isn’t enough water and then can fall off. Look for these spines atop the soil as a warning sign.

Not enough water can also result in the leaves or pads of a cactus starting to droop. Cacti store water in their flesh and as the water levels deteriorate, they won’t have a plump texture to them anymore.

Finally, the base of your cactus may start to turn brown. This sign can be hard to see as soil can cover the base so gently move the dirt around to see if the bottom of the cactus is affected.

What are the signs of overwatering cactus?

As we’ve mentioned, the soil your cactus is in will tell you a lot about your watering habits. If the soil is moist or soggy, then you are overwatering the plant.

As for the cactus itself, the leaves and stems can start to turn brown or black. This discoloration will start at the base of the plant and work its way outwards.

If a cactus is surrounded by excess water, it will try to absorb as much of it as it can. As a result, the leaves will become very mushy and water may actually start to leak out of the leaves.

If you notice these signs early, you can still salvage your cactus. Ensure water can drain properly and place it in a warm, bright area to encourage more water absorption from the air.

However, if there is too much water in the plant, it can start to rot. In this case, the plant will not be able to survive and you will have to start fresh with a new plant.

Does cactus need to be in direct sunlight?

Cacti need lots of bright light but indirect light is better. Too much direct sunlight can cause discoloration on the plant including yellow spots.

Sunlight through a window can also amplify the temperature. If you live in a hot climate and have thin windows, you can actually burn the leaves on your cactus.  

Place your cactus in a bright room that has south-facing windows. However, keep the plant away from the window so it gets ambient light instead of direct light.

Another consideration with a cactus is what the humidity level is in your home. While cacti are used to dry air in the wild, they do fine with some humidity.

The ideal humidity level for cacti and other succulents is 50 percent. You can check the air in your home and adjust the humidity level accordingly.

More humidity will result in extra moisture in your cactus, which means you can go longer between watering it. You should be cautious, however, about overwatering as you may not realize how much water your cactus is absorbing just from the air.


Learning how to water your cactus can seem overwhelming but once you get started, you can quickly learn a new routine. Keep reading more of our watering tip articles, such as how often to water tomatoes, so you can keep your plants alive and healthy.

Related Articles:

Save for later!

Leave a Comment