Growing Cacti in a Cool Climate

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 2, 2017)

Cactus is a succulent plant native to the Americas, adapted mostly to hot and arid conditions and environments. Some arid-environment cacti can live up to three years without water, withstanding temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Such cacti grow in deserts and areas of the southwest, and not only thrive with the heat, but could die if subjected to temperatures below an average of 30 degrees.

Conversely, cold-climate cacti thrive in regions that can provide cold winters. If cold-climate cacti winters aren't cold enough, they will die. In order to bloom the following spring, they need to have sustained freezing temperatures over the winter. Although it seems that cold-climate cactus can endure wide temperature swings, one needs to understand that the reason they do is due to the mini-climate in which they live. Since they seek the sheltered environment of rock and crevices, they thrive there even in cold weather because rock retains heat, supplying them the warmth they need to live while enduring cold temperatures.

Cacti that thrive in cool climates may be the varieties that thrive in arid environments, and are not cold-climate cacti. For instance, if you live in the eastern region of the United States and endure harsh winters, your outdoor cactus will freeze and die if planted in a pot. However, if you plant your cactus in the ground in a rock garden, the cactus will not only survive, it will thrive and bloom the following spring. The difference is that you will have created the perfect ecosystem for your cactus in the rock garden, with the perfect mixture of sandy soil, drainage, and heat.

Another way to grow cacti in cool climates is to bring your cacti indoors during winter, particularly if your region or zone endures winters with temperatures below 30 degrees. Keep in mind that any cacti—whether cold-climate species or an arid variety—will die if they freeze. Bring your cacti indoors into a warm climate during the winter and place them on a windowsill in direct sunlight. Keep them away from drafts, such as door entrances to the house, and do not water them nearly as often as when they were outside in the summer.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Cleaning Granite Countertops

While granite is a natural, tough, non-porous stone, you still need to follow specific guidelines when cleaning your granite ...

Discover More

Cleaning a Bathroom Sink

Because of its proximity and convenient water source, a bathroom sink most times becomes a receptacle for the leftover ...

Discover More

Which Soil is Best for Plant Growth?

When you test your soil for pH, the kit's package instructions will recommend either adding lime to raise the alkalinity, or ...

Discover More
More Gardening Tips

Understanding the Basic Soil Types

One of the keys to getting really good at gardening or landscaping is that you need to know what type of soil you are working ...

Discover More

Planting Herbs and Spices in a Shaded Area

Growing herbs and spices can be a great way to get started on gardening in general, and kitchen gardening in particular. But ...

Discover More

Building a Bottle Garden

If you like the look of a terrarium, but don't like the size you may want to look into building a bottle garden. It's not all ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured gardening tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)