While cacti are usually associated with desert landscapes of the American Southwest, some grow well in Florida! The key to success is to choose the right varieties and take care of them properly.
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Water is a big deal in the plant world. Not only does it hydrate the occupants, but it also plays an important role in a plant’s growth and overall health. Cacti are no exception to this rule, requiring lots of it in water to a few hundred pounds a year to survive. Fortunately, several cati-friendly growing mediums are on tap at Fort Lauderdale Nurseries and a knowledgeable staff that can help you determine which is best for you. Choosing the right growing medium can be daunting, especially when trying to keep your plants from falling prey to pests and diseases.
Most plants can get all the nutrients they need from the soil, but sometimes they need extra help. Fertilizer enhances growth, increases flowering or fruiting, corrects nutritional deficiencies, and enhances the plant’s appearance.
During the spring, it’s best to use a high-quality, water-soluble fertilizer that contains all the major plant nutrients. Look for the N-P-K ratio, which shows the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in a fertilizer.
Phosphorus is naturally available in Florida’s sandy soil, but some soils have low amounts. This may mean your plants need additional phosphorus to grow properly.
Water and warmth activate controlled-release fertilizers like Osmocote 14-14-14 or Nutricote 13-13-13.They’re also easier on the budget. They can be broadcast or sprayed right on the base of the plant.
Cacti are succulent plants adapted for extreme environments, and Florida’s warm, dry climate allows them to thrive. They have special fleshy tissue designed to store moisture, and their bodies can survive freezing temperatures by exuding water at night. This is why the temperature of your growing environment is so important; if it gets too cold, your plants will go into winter dormancy, which can cause them to die. Keep a close eye on your plants and remember to bring them in as soon as the nighttime temperatures dip below 60 F.