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Do Cacti Need Fertilizer? - Varnish + Vine

Do Cacti Need Fertilizer?


Plants get nutrients from the soil. Cacti are no exception. Potted varieties, such as the Ric Rac Cactus often need help getting the nourishment they need. That’s where fertilizer comes into play. These products supply what the soil may lack. The answer to whether cacti need this nutrient boost is yes. However, some background information is necessary for ensuring proper usage.

NPK Fertilizer

You’ll often see fertilizers labeled NPK with numbers indicating a ratio of ingredients in the blend. N stands for nitrogen. This mineral enhances foliage growth. While it is abundant in the atmosphere, most plants can’t get it from the air. They need it in a different chemical form. Several reactions occur in the soil to convert it to nitrates which plants can then use.

P stands for phosphorus. This element boosts flower and root development. Finally, the K means potassium, using the chemical symbol for this mineral. It helps plants use water more efficiently. As you may surmise, that’s a big deal for cacti.

The Nutrient Needs of Cacti

People usually apply fertilizer to boost plant growth. That’s certainly the case with lawns and growing produce. However, cacti are slow-growing. Their nutrient needs are more modest. While it’s essential for these plants, they fare best with smaller proportions than the other species in your garden. They also require less nitrogen since they’re not growing as fast.

It’s best to use an all-purpose product that you may use for other garden plants. However, you should give your cacti a halved dosage to prevent color blanching and spindly growth. We suggest you apply in the spring. You can add it to the soil later in the summer. However, don’t use it too close to fall.

Final Thoughts

Cacti are long-lived plants because of their superior hardiness. Nonetheless, a nutrient boost won’t hurt them if given in the correct amount and at the right time. Your Barrel Cactus may even reward you with beautiful flowers.

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