How to Take Care of Cactus in Winter? [Tips For Cactus Survive in cold]

If you’ve recently become a parent to a cactus, you’re likely having the time of your life. Most people opt for cactus plants as their first plants or succulents as they require little to no maintenance at all times.

Cactus are well adapted for warm weather and climates, which is why if you live in a hot place, you will find that your cactus thrives in a place of this sort.

However, it becomes challenging to take care of your cactus if you live in a place where the winters are just as intense as summers.

Most people don’t know how to care for their cacti and succulents in the winters.

In the article below, we’ll attempt to solve this dilemma. Regardless of where in the world you live, you can take care of your cactus in the winter and when times get colder.

Help you Cactus in Winter

If you want to continue to take care of your cactus plants so they can brighten up your day, you should read on.

You need to remember that most cactus plants and succulents grow dormant as the fall and winters approach.

Thus the way, you would take care of your cactus plants in the winter is majorly different.  If you’re lost, don’t worry. We’ve listed a few ways for you to take care of your cactus plants in winter.

Give them Light

Make your cactus thrive by keeping it in a place with the ideal conditions. All plants need sunlight, humidity, and a little bit of water.

Cactus plants can thrive in the hardiest of climates, but if you want them to grow, you have to introduce them to elements that will abet their growth instead of hindering it.

Succulents and cactus will survive in places with no light but don’t keep them in a dark area.

Make sure they have some cold winter sunlight so they can grow minutely. For the best result, you should keep them where they can soak up to three or four hours of bright lights every day.

South or east-facing window is the best place for such a cactus.

Perfect the Soil

You must work the right kind of soil into your cactus plants and succulents.

These plants generally grow best in sandy, well-drained soil. If you’re using clay soil or any soil with too much moisture, then you’re going to ruin your cactus plants.

Several companies release different soil mixes for cacti and succulents for you to choose from. You can buy one of these mixes and watch as your plants thrive.

Another significant thing for you to note is that the container must have sufficient holes so the water can drain away.

Control the Temperature

We know that cactus can survive in the cold as well. However, if your cactus plants are outside, consider bringing them inside.

Cactus plants can’t always live in the extreme cold of a region. Thus, it’s necessary if you have any cactus plants outdoors that you bring them inside.

Bringing cactus plants inside means that you can control the temperature of their environment.  You don’t have to worry about them succumbing to an ill-fate due to being too cold or too hot.

Water Them Consistently

Succulents and Cactus plants need deep watering. But they don’t need watering when they’re facing stagnation in growth. You still need to water them, albeit sparingly.

You should let the moisture trickle down to the bottom so the roots can take up the water as they see fit. However, you should ensure that the container where you keep your plant has holes at the bottom so excess water can runoff.

If there’s no place for excess water to leave, the roots will grow waterlogged, and your plant will be stuck in its phase of not growing.

The water should also not be on the plant’s surface as it could contribute to rot in a plant.

Look for Pests

You must keep your cactus in a clean place where it doesn’t attract any pests.

It would be unfortunate for you to have put a significant amount of effort into taking care of your cactus plant only for pests to attack them.

The most common insects which you might face are aphids and mealybugs. If they infest one of your plants, they’re also likely to infest the others.

Thus, once an insect or pest attacks a plant, it’s smart for you to move that particular plant away from the others.

Don’t Fertilize Your Plant

If your cactus is not growing, make sure to leave it be. You shouldn’t try to fertilize your cactus plant or your succulents in the winter because you might waste your fertilizer.

Instead, the Cactus’ chemistry may change because you added a combination of chemicals to it.

Group Your Plants

If you have multiple cactus plants, you likely have several species. Some cactus species are active in the winter, which means that some of them have to be taken care of differently than others.

If you can identify the species of cactus that each plant is from,  you’ll have an easier time taking care of them.

Knowing the species can help you cater to their light and water requirements

Cactus is very sensitive to overwatering, so you need to ensure that the amount of water that each of your plants is getting is perfect according to their needs.

You don’t want the roots to succumb to rot, which is why understanding the species of each plant and knowing how to water them is the best thing you can do.

Grouping them into sections of active and dormant during winter will help you adjust their sunlight requirements, among other things.

You would also know when you’ve perhaps changed their soils or added some new mixture since all of them are present in the same place.

Don’t Feed Them and Water Them Less Frequently

Cacti are more prone to rot than other succulents. Some common signs to look out for when it comes to cactus rot are black spots on their leaves, discolored scabs, sinking spots, and even some oozing goo.

You have to keep an eye out for what happens under the roots. Cactus plants get their water from the root hairs in the roots.

If these root hair rot, then the succulent can’t uptake water as well and will eventually die. You can’t expect the plant to thrive in the winter since it’s time for them to survive.

Adding any fertilizer or feeding can cause them to grow weak, so you should avoid it altogether.

Can Cactus Survive Winter?

Cactus plants are commonly known to be desert plants. Not only do they not need much water to survive, but watering a cactus plant daily can actually kill them.

Due to their association with desserts, people assume that cacti can only survive in high heat temperatures.

However, despite being adapted to hot desert conditions, cactus plants don’t die if exposed to cold winter conditions. Read on to learn about the ideal weather conditions for a cactus plant.

Can Cactus Take the Cold?

For most people, just thinking about deserts reminds them of extreme heat temperatures. However, this is a mass misconception people have about deserts.

In reality, most deserts aren’t even that hot. And most even get quite cold at night.

Therefore, the simple answer is: yes. Cacti can take the cold.

However, cactus plants are still used to the environment they have been cultivated in.

Yet, even though almost all species of cactus plants are adapted to living in dry areas, they can still add texture to your indoors and brighten up the indoors, even on the darkest, coldest nights of winter.

Some species of cactus can survive below the freezing point, while others cannot tolerate the temperature going below 0-degree Fahrenheit.

The types of species determine the lowest temperature the cactus plant can tolerate.

The cactus species that can survive in cold temperatures usually expel water at night.

This ensures that the water stored in the stems and roots does not freeze, which could kill the plant.

Temperature Requirements of Cactus Plants

Cactus is generally a low-maintenance plant. They don’t require much effort on your part and can go a long time without needing any intervention.

This is how they’ve survived in deserts for all these centuries. This can lead to many people being tempted towards the plant if they want to add some low-effort greenery to their house.

If you’re thinking about adding cactus to your home, the most important thing you need to think about is the temperature. When placed in the right weather conditions, cacti can be the easiest plants to look after.

Therefore, before getting a cactus, make sure to do thorough research about it and how it gets in the climatic conditions of where you live.

In deserts, the temperature typically fluctuates as much as 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit each day. In certain areas, the extreme temperature can go as high as 120-degree Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, the extreme minimum temperature can go as low as -0.4-degree Fahrenheit at night in certain climatic zones.

Since most cacti species have adapted to these fluctuating temperatures, they can easily tolerate extreme weather conditions – whether hot or cold.

To make sure that your plants can survive the cold temperature, you need to provide them with plenty of light and warmth during the day.

You can also keep an artificial UV light or house lamps close to the plant if you don’t get enough sunlight in your house.

The plants should also be kept dry at all times. If there is added moisture along with the extremely low temperatures, your cactus may not be able to survive even if you do provide it with enough warmth.

Keep in mind that the cactus plant already has enough water in the stems and roots. Providing it with additional water can lead to the water freezing when the temperature goes below freezing point, thus, killing the plant.

Optimal Temperature For Cactus Plants

While most cacti species can survive extreme temperatures, making sure that you get a plant that is more adapted to the weather conditions of the place you live in can make things a lot easier for you in the long run.

In general, most cactus plants grow better when kept in temperatures between 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in these temperatures, you don’t have to worry about what species to pick; basically, all of them will thrive under your care.

However, if you live in more extreme weather conditions, you will have to do some research before picking the cacti species you want to bring home.

Some species of cactus are cold-hardy, while others may not survive close to freezing temperature.

On the other hand, some plants also need protection from extreme heat, while others only survive under the full sun in extremely high temperatures.

So as stated previously, doing prior research on the plant you want to bring home is necessary.

Cactus Plants That’ll Survive The Winter

If you’re looking for some cacti species that will survive the extremely cold temperatures, here are some of the best options to look for.


A large pink flower blooms from the Escobaria species of the cactus plant. The flowers are particularly beautiful at the beginning of the summer but last through July and August.

Other times, it is still a gorgeous and eye-catching cactus plant that can add character to any room it is placed in.

However, the best quality of the Excobaria Vivipara is that it is extremely resistant to cold temperatures. With some care and effort, it will likely withhold even the coldest snow and frost in history.

Brittle Prickly-Pear Cactus

The flowers that bloom from the Brittle prickly-pear cactus look like they’re right out of a Disney movie.

It is quite rare for an opuntia to produce spherical stems instead of flattened ones, which add beauty to these plants. During the summer, the plant bears large yellow flowers that look almost magical.

The flowers bloom through July and August. At the same time, the Brittle prickly-pear cactus can survive extremely cold weather temperatures.

This one is an all-around winner.

Eastern Prickly-Pear Cactus

These bright yellow flowers are almost sunflowers. With their bright yellow color, they can certainly bring a smile to your face.

And if covered with snow, this beautiful plant can easily withhold temperatures as low as – 30-degree Fahrenheit.

However, there is one downside to the Eastern Prickly-Pear Cactus. As soon as the weather gets warm during the spring, the stems start to shrivel up and turn brown.

But don’t worry; the plant will heal itself within a few weeks and go back to normal color and appearance.

If you are shopping from a local nursery, you will find it easier to look for plants used to your city’s weather conditions.

If you are still confused, you can also ask the seller to guide you to make a better decision.

Watering The Cactus Plants

Now that you’ve brought your new plant home, you will need to practice some care.

Just because cacti are immune to surviving on their own in the desert doesn’t mean you can just place them on the shelf and forget about it.

If you leave your cactus plant outdoor, it is likely that mother nature will provide it with enough water. However, if you go a few weeks without any rain in the hot weather, feel free to water your plant a little.

If you notice the plant looks limp or is beginning to droop, it is a good sign that it is thirsty.

On the other hand, if you have an indoor cactus, you will have to water it a few times every couple of weeks. About once a month may be enough for most plants.

However, you can ask the seller to guide you better on how much water your plant needs.

Final Thoughts

To take care of your cactus plants during the winter, you must know one fundamental truth. Cactus plants aren’t supposed to thrive in the winter.

They will either go dormant or remain active. It’s your job to figure out which of these two activities your cactus is participating in and then make adjustments accordingly.

Like all other plants, Cactus plants also need sunlight, water, and nutrients.

Make sure you’re aware of the proportions your cactus needs these three things in, and you’re good to go.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is cold water good for plants?

Well, I can tell you that there have been several studies on the subject. Overall, most studies have concluded that there is no difference in plant growth between plants watered with cold water and those watered with warm water.

What is the Cactus Seed oil color supposed to be?

Cactus seed oil is a greenish-yellow oil with flat, ribbon-like bands.

How do cactus seed benefits your body?

A cactus seeds oil is used as a natural treatment for cracked, dry skin, as a lubricant for stiff joints, and as a skin moisturizer to name a few.