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Is Your Cactus Starving For Light

Is Your Cactus Starving For Light

Today at cactus facts we will be discussing the importance of light and your cacti.  Not only do you get bizarre shaped cacti in low light conditions, it’s also harmful to their well being.  So lets dive in to etiolation and its effects.  Generally speaking, cacti need tremendous amounts of light to remain healthy. Often times it is difficult to provide your plants with enough light for growth inside your home.  Depending on where you live, the window facing the sun can give your cactus just enough light to prevent etiolated growth, even though the window that receives the most light still doesn’t compare to the cacti’s natural environment. You’ll notice that plants on a windowsill will typically lean towards the sunlight and the opposite side receives little. Even most types of artificial lighting can’t compare to the sun’s power.   You can go out and purchase expensive HID lighting but  most people prefer not to have these lights in their home.

Our definition at cactus facts of etiolation is “discolored, pale, abnormal growth that can be contributed to improper light, overcrowding, or incorrect feeding.”  When first starting your cactus collection you may not know what is considered normal growth. Also you may have purchased or recieved a cactus that has suffered from etiolation without knowing it. I have provided pictures in this article of cacti that have suffered from etiolation.  If you look closely at the pictures, there will be a pale greenish color which reminds me of taffy that’s been pulled.

Time To Put Your Cactus In The Light!

The bad news is once a cactus has experienced etiolated growth, it will always be there. You can bring back a cactus back from almost any condition but the disfigurements will forever remain.  The first step in reviving your cacti from etiolation is to place them in stronger light. You don’t want to take your suffering cactus and place him in direct sunlight for the fact that sunburn will occur. You need to gradually introduce the plant back to the outdoors. Even outdoor plants can become sunburn from tremendous change in light, if you took your etiolated cacti out into the sun it could be fatal. If you have no choice but to leave your cacti in low light conditions. Then store your cacti in cool temperatures with no water or light during winter seasons. This will cause the cacti to become dormant.  Most cacti will do fine or even better in dormancy but some species can’t tolerate these changes. So please, make sure your plant receives the light it deserves.

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2 Responses

I’ve been trying to find as much information about the
Az. cactus as possible, ever since my grand daughter Moved to the Phoenix area. I picked up a pack of cactus seed and now I have 30 plants growing up here in Ks. I would like to return to Az. when they are able to handle the out doors. Thanks so very much. Aaron


When you force a Christmas cactus to bloom by giving it the proper care, in the right place, receiving the right light and temperature conditions, the Christmas cactus will not only bloom but may also surprise you by continually producing blooms several times throughout the year. Knowing how to make a Christmas cactus bloom will help you to enjoy the lovely flower on this popular plant.

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