Resistant to heat and drought, cacti are generally cold plants that grow naturally in hot semi-desert regions. They are not suitable for our climate and therefore need protection from cold and moisture in winter! However, there are some varieties that can withstand very low temperatures: Cylindropuntia imbricata, certain Echinocereus and Opuntia … but they also fear winter humidity. The growing conditions must be adapted to the seasons: even if you grow your cacti indoors in pots, you must adapt the cultivation method in winter (watering, temperature, etc.). This will encourage flowering and prevent them from rotting.
Discover all of our tips for protecting your cacti in winter, whether they’re in pots or in the ground!
HOW DO I PROTECT CACTUS GROWN IN A POT?
Cacti need a rest period in winter so they need to be cool and dry as this marks the winter time and promotes flowering. As winter approaches, gradually reduce watering (and fertilization), then stop completely, as cacti fear winter humidity.
If your cacti were grown in pots outdoors, we recommend moving them to a frost-free area over the winter. However, if they are hardy cacti or if you live in a region where the temperatures remain very mild at night (little risk of frost), such as on the edge of the Mediterranean or the Breton coast, you can leave them outside, but place them in one place protected from rain (covered terrace, roof overhang, window sill, etc.).
If your cacti have already been indoors, we definitely recommend installing them in a room with a temperature between 5 and 10 ° C for the winter, although temperatures can go as high as 15 ° C on some species best in a light place, but if that is not possible, you can also put them in a dark room as long as temperatures are kept low enough. Better low light and low temperature than a bright room with high temperature.
Learn about the ideal winter temperatures for the species you are growing. The Schlumbergera, for example, will enjoy staying warm. Rhipsalis and Epiphyllum also need temperatures above 10 ° C.
In any case, avoid repotting in autumn or winter, as the plant is then dormant and more sensitive to changed growing conditions … Wait until the beginning of spring when your cacti need to be repotted! Discover our guidebook: How to plant a cactus in a pot ?.
Water very slowly in the spring, otherwise the skin could tear. You can also add fertilizer again. You can find more information in our tip sheet: How do you water a cactus?
You can take them outside from May, once there is no risk of frost, but be careful not to expose them to direct sunlight immediately. It is important to gradually acclimate them to prevent them from being scorched by the sun’s rays. First of all, it is better to shade them during the hottest hours.
HOW DO I PROTECT FROM CACTUS INSTALLED IN THE GROUND?
Some cacti are relatively hardy and can be planted in the ground: the most resistant of them can withstand up to – 25 ° C! Above all, however, cacti fear winter moisture: the drier the cactus, the more resistant to the cold it is. When winter approaches, you need to “thirst” the cacti and force them to dry out so that they can withstand the low temperatures more easily! This limits the risk of them rotting.
We recommend protecting your cacti from the rain by installing a removable structure over them, unless you’ve already planted them under an overhang. For example, you can glue four stakes around them, cover them with a plastic sheet or a sheet (clear to let the light in).
You can also cover your cacti with a hibernation veil and plastic cover to protect them from the cold, moisture and wind, but remember to remove them as the temperature rises: this will allow for ventilation and ventilation. ‘Prevent them from rotting.
Water again in spring and fertilize gradually and remove the winter protection as soon as there is no longer any risk of frost.