The Pottery Post Blog

Watering Succulents & Cactus


Today Succulents and Cactus are very popular.  You see larger selections of them to choose from at your local garden center or nursery.  They look so fantastic with their weird leaves and spikes yet are the perfect plant to put into garden containers or indoors decorative pottery.  If you have tried to pot these plants and had issues with over or under watering we would like to offer a few tips.


Did you know that the word succulent means a plant that can hold excess water?  Their leaves look really puffy and fleshy almost like they will squirt liquid.  Now there are other succulents like cactus that may not look that way but donít require a lot of water to survive.


When it comes to how much and when is best to water a succulent container, the rule that works best is to allow the soil to become dry between watering but not hard and compact.  Usually what happens is you see some top soil that has dried out, usually from the wind conditions, and think the plant needs more.  That is incorrect.  Over watering is the one main reason for potted succulent problems.


The correct way to water is to wait till the water drains out the drain hole of the planter base.  Water again and let drain completely.  This allows the potted succulents roots time to drink in water.  You donít want your garden container sitting in water or the plant will continue to suck up the liquid.


If you question whether you need more water or not it is best to go with under watering than over watering.  Remember that succulent garden planters grow slowly in winter so they need much less water than summer months.  If your pots are indoors you may need to water every 4 days if your homes indoor air is arid.


The best way to water is to use a small watering can and place the spout on the soil.  Itís best not to water the leaves only.  By watering the soils surface you give the roots of the potted succulent a longer time to absorb the liquid.  It wonít hurt the leaves if they get wet but aim for the soil surface first.

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Post Last Updated: 11/19/2018 11:43:05 AM 

Caring for Indoor Potted Cacti


Everyone thinks caring for potted cactus indoors is easy to do. Basically that is true but it you want to make sure that they look as good as the day you purchased them, then you need to follow a few simple rules.


Watering - you probably think that since potted cacti is from the desert all you need to do is water once a week and it will be fine.  But, what you may not know is that it's better to water your potted cactus every 3 to 5 weeks.  They grow best when allowed to fully dry out between watering.  During the summer while growing it's best to water every 3 weeks. In the winter when dormant go every 5 weeks.  We know it sounds horrific but trust us it works.


Sunlight - Well of course they love full direct sunlight.  A potted cactus can vary depending on the type of cacti but generally this is tried and true.  If a cactus is turning yellow, or brown that means too much sun.  If it is reaching out towards the sun then that means too little.

Potting soil - Shop your local nursery for the best soil for a cactus in a flowerpot. They look loose soil that is fast draining. If you can't find it then mix some perlite into your soil so that it is not compact.


Containers - As you already know you don't need a deep container for a potted cactus. The root system is very shallow so a garden bowl or bonsai pot will work perfectly. Now that doesn't mean you can't go with a bit of style and use any size you wish.  It just means you DON'T have to.


See now that doesn't sound so hard and is basically pretty simple. Pay attention to your area and where you have placed the potted cactus. You may need to experiment a bit on different locations but once you find the perfect spot your cactus will let you know.

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Post Last Updated: 7/4/2017 1:24:13 PM 

How To Care For A Christmas Cactus

Tips for growing a potted Christmas Cactus


Seeing a Christmas cactus in full bloom is stunningly beautiful. In Winter when everything outside is grey, white & cold the burst of bright color from a
potted Christmas cactus is a joy to see.

The stark differences are amazing.  As a gift this potted cactus will last much longer than a flower arrangement.  Blooming near the holidays makes them wonderful gift and great home decorations.


If you choose to buy one before October, make sure that it doesn't have any visible buds.  This will ensure that it is still in dormancy and will be getting ready to set blooms for the holiday.  The key to getting the best blooms and a long living plant is to keep your planted Christmas cactus located in a well lit room out of direct sunlight.

In the fall, a potted Christmas cactus will require 12 hours of darkness.  It's best to keep your Christmas cactus in a room that has bright, natural, indirect light and choose a room that is not artificially lit in the evening.  This will encourage it to set buds.

Water the pot every 3 days depending on how humid your climate it. Indoor winter air is dry and temps are fairly even so watering one a week will be enough to keep your Christmas cactus happy.  Mist regularly and don't let the soil dry out.  Water when the top inch or two becomes dry.


The potted Christmas cactus loves humidity so keep it away from hot sun.  In the Fall, reduce watering to stimulate blooming.  Use cactus or succulent soil mix as soil. In the Summer, bring your planter outside and set in a shady location.

Fertilize in the Spring and Summer with a balanced fertilizer.  Be aware, if you notice buds falling off before opening, it means you are over watering

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Post Last Updated: 12/21/2016 11:54:19 AM 

How to Grow a Potted Cactus

You would think that growing a potted cactus is super simple. We mean like how hard can it be, right?  Stick a cactus in some soil and all done.  Well unfortunately that is not the case. Even though potted cactus is rather easy to grow and virtually maintenance free, you still need to know a few things to make sure you have success.

Several hours of sunlight each day and well draining soil are vital for a cactus to thrive.  There are several varieties available to grow indoors potted which can add beauty to any windowsill with a lot of work.

Select the planter.  Shallow and wide is best since they have short roots.  We like garden bowls and bulb pans.  Make sure the pot has drain holes. Cactus don't like sitting in standing water.  If your pot doesn't have a drain hole then they need to be drilled.
Purchase potting soil for cactus or succulents. They have gravel or sand in them to help with draining and nitrogen and phosphorus for indoor growing.

The best varieties for indoor planted cactus are Prickly Pear, Rose Pincushion, Euphorbia dn Rebuita.

Place the cactus in the pot semi filled with soil.  Wrap it with paper towel or wear garden gloves. Once placed then fill the remainder of the pot with soil.  Place a layer of gravel or sand on top and around the base of the cactus.


Put the planter in a sunny warm location like a window where it can get 4 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.  Water as needed around once a month.  Fertilize once or twice a year using houseplant food for cactus.

Not to difficult.  Remember DO NOT OVER WATER.  And, there you go!

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Post Last Updated: 12/8/2016 4:13:40 PM 

Cactus & Succulents In Garden Pots

Cactuses and succulents are great to work with for many reasons.  They are especially easy for the "gardener" who doesn't have a lot of time and knowledge of gardening.  They are relatively easy to take care of and since they grow slowly, you don't have to re-pot them frequently, you can leave them unattended for extended lengths of time and don't have to be exact when selecting a location to place them.


Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems and roots.  That is why they look bloated, soft and squishy.  They can adapt to the arid desert landscape or the polar opposite - a beach climate.  You can find them at mountain cabins and residential front yards.  Of course the most recognized succulent is the "hen & chick" and they are adorable to grow.  Especially in a Arizona Pottery Chicken pot.

Cacti are a type of succulent but unfortunately for small children, pets and some adults, they have sharp spikes.  It is best to put them in a location where people are not likely to come in contact with them.  They are unusual in shape and size but interesting to look at.  Here in Arizona the cacti is sacred.


Both types mentioned above really only require some direct sun year round and should be protected come winter time.  If you can move them indoors and place them in a sunny window - all the better.  If they are to large to move, try placing the large plant on a pot caddy and move it to a sunny patio area when necessary.


The best types of pots to use are terracotta.   Because of the breatheability of clay it really keeps the roots from standing water.  A shallow container is also acceptable because the root systems are very shallow.  Try selecting a size  and style that compliments the succulents.  Don't place small cacti in a large container in anticipation of growth.  They will look silly and dwarfed.  These grow slowly!  Don't forget to think out side the box when selecting a container.  We love to use pocket pots and place a different type of succulent in each pocket.  This look is great!


Fertilize once a month, select soil meant for this type of plant material and don't forget to water them.  Just because they don't need to be watered every day doesn't mean you can just forget about them.

Thats it!

Post Last Updated: 1/5/2017 10:01:10 AM 

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