Cactus Growing Guide

The cactus family includes over 1500 species


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Varies with species. Some are hardy perennials, tolerating winter cold to -34°C (-30°F), while many other species cannot survive hard freezes such as the tropical Schlumbergera.


None needed.


Single Plants: 20cm (7") each way (minimum)
Rows: 20cm (7") with 20cm (7") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

The main two times for growing cacti from seed indoors are spring and autumn, year round in warm climates. Growing cacti from seed is the only way for collectors to obtain many desirable species but they take years to flower sp most gardeners start with purchased plants, which can be carefully moved to a slightly larger pot. Indoors, keep potted cacti in a very sunny window. Outdoors, they benefit from partial afternoon shade. If pieces or branches break off a cactus, let the wound dry for one to two weeks and then set it to root in lightly dampened potting mix. The more demanding species benefit from a rain protected greenhouse or glasshouse.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Some species of cacti are invasive weeds in Australia, please consult state and local weed lists before selecting which cacti you plant in your area. Native to the Americas, cacti are well adapted to hot, dry conditions. Hardy types can be used as landscape plants, with small tropical species used as indoor-outdoor houseplants. Wear thick gloves when handling any cactus. When transplanting, it helps to wrap the plant in paper to reduce injury to both you and the cactus.


Edible species like prickly pear cactus are harvested in summer.  Potted cacti often produce showy blossoms in winter.


Overwatering or lack of sun are the most common problems with cacti, which are usually trouble-free plants. When grown in pots, especially indoors or in glass houses and greenhouses cacti can be prone to mealy bug infestation which if left untreated results in the death of the plant.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Cactus