how to take care of small cactus - 4 need to know tips for mini cactus care

How to take care of small cactus | Need-to-Know tips for mini cactus care

The cactus family is a type of succulent that comes in many different varieties. A popular household plant due to its low maintenance and ability to adjust to almost any environment, cacti come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. They are one of the most versatile and beautiful plants in the world – which is why they are so popular among homeowners. Some cactus can grow up to 50 feet tall, whilst others only a few inches. This article aims to guide you on how to take care of small cactus, giving you the very best tips for mini cactus care! 

If you like this post, I reckon you’ll love these other awesome blog posts on cactus care: 

But for now, we are focusing on how to take care of a small cactus – particularly if you have them potted indoors (as this is the most common form they come in). Mini cactuses are a wonderful collection in any household home, often found lined up on a window sill. Small cactus is perfect for any decor from boho chic to minimalist and modern. 

If you are wanting to show off your fantastic mini cactus collection to your friends and family, keep reading for our top tips on mini cactus care! 

how to take care of small cactus

How to care for a small cactus

Generally, when caring for a mini or small cactus, it is relatively easy and low maintenance. But that doesn’t mean you should be neglectful of the indoor plant. Often, mini cactus care can be tougher than caring for a larger cactus. This is because the limited soil dries out quicker – meaning you have to be on top of things like watering! 

How to care for mini cactus:


So, how often do you water a mini cactus? Regardless of what people may tell you, a small cactus does in fact need watering! Cacti and succulents are renowned for their ability to store water in their leaves and stems, but this doesn’t mean you should go long periods of time leaving your poor plant in drought conditions. 

A mini cactus does not need as much water as other, larger varieties. As a rule of thumb, you should only water your small cactus when the soil is completely dry. When you do water, you should be giving it a thorough watering. Start off steady and if the cactus soaks up all the water, add a little more until you begin to see it come out of the drainage holes.

How often you water a mini cactus will depend on a number of things such as the environment and season. In the winter, for example, you may only need to water the small cactus once every 2 weeks. But if it is placed on a brightly lit window sill in the summer months, then the soil will dry out a lot quicker and may require water once a week.

Be careful not to overwater as this will lead to a soft and squishy cactus!

Simply keep checking the soil to determine if your healthy cactus needs a drink of water!


Another need-to-know tip on how to take care of small cactus is sunlight! The cactus is a desert plant and enjoys a hot, sunny environment. Mini cactus plants can produce stunning, colorful flowers when in bloom but need around 4 hours of sunlight a day. Placing your small cactus on a south-facing window will provide enough light for it to thrive. You will need to make sure you are rotating your cactus frequently to avoid sunburn as this will cause your cactus turning white.

Your indoor cactus will also need to have an even amount of sunlight. What this means is that you should be rotating your plant ever so often. Cactus and succulents are actually prone to sunburn and are something you will notice right away. Too much sunlight in a particular area for a cactus will appear discolored and pale.  

Not enough light will cause your mini cactus to grow in odd ways – it will become almost stretched out and leggy. This is known as etiolation


Next on our list of top on how to take care of a small cactus is soil type. This is probably one of the most important factors in mini cactus care! Most mini cacti will come sold, ready in a container and soil but at some point, this soil will need replenishing and you’ll want to be knowledgeable in the best soil for cactus when it comes to it. 

As with all cacti plants, potted small cactus enjoy a fast-draining, airy soil. You will want a blend of porous inorganic material (this can be gravel, granite, sand, or grit, mixed with organic material (such as peat moss or coco coir). There are some great instructions on DIY cactus mix if you’re feeling up to the challenge. 

Alternatively, most local garden centers will sell a ready-made cactus and succulent potting mix at an affordable price that will work fantastically for mini cactus.


As mentioned above, small cactus are very low maintenance. They don’t need feeding often, but when they do, you will want to make sure you are using the correct fertilizer type. As a rule of thumb, you want to use a quarter or half-strength fertilizer that is low-nitrogen and water-soluble. Strong fertilizers will cause problems with your cactus and we don’t want that!

When should you fertilize a mini cactus? Your indoor plant will only need fertilizing in the growing months. Fertilize once before the growing season or at the very beginning. Although you only need to do this once a year, it will work wonders for cactus growth! 

As with a strong cactus mix, too much fertilizer on your mini cactus can actually cause problems. Only use a small amount of fertilizer and make sure you are mixing it with water to dilute it. 


Our final tip on how to take care of small cactus is the container! One of the most important small cactus care tips is to make sure your container has drainage holes. Often your mini cactus will come in a container or planter, but you will need to repot at some point. 

When choosing a pot you will want to choose just the right size. Cactus like their roots to be cozy, but at the same time, you don’t want to be too restrictive. You should allow only a small amount of space on each side of the container and around 1 inch at the bottom for growth. Choosing a container that is too big may result in overwatering! 

As we have said above, cactus enjoy a fast-draining, airy soil. So it is important that your container has drainage holes to let this water out. If your indoor cactus plant is left sitting in soggy soil and water, then problems will occur such as root rot and pests. 

So, these are my 4 best tips on how to take care of small cactus. Keep on reading for other common questions regarding mini cactus care! 

how to care for mini cactus

How to take care of small cactus common questions:

Do small cactus grow?

Yes!! Of course small cactus grow. However, the cacti species in general grow very slowly. In some species, it can take up to ten years to grow an inch. 

Each cactus variant will grow at different rates, but all small cactus will indeed grow, given the right amount of water, correct sunlight, and optimal living conditions. 

If you’re wondering how to grow a mini cactus, then you can look at our above tips on how to take care of a small cactus. Ensuring your indoor plant is happy and healthy will promote growth.

In general, cactus are slow growers at the very beginning but do expect this growth to get slightly faster after a while! You will eventually need to change the container and repot. 

Can mini cactus grow big?

Most of the time, your mini cactus will not grow to gigantic heights, mainly because the type of cactus you have will only be able to reach a maximum height. 

Pretty much all small cactus you buy will only ever grow to a few inches tall. The main beauty of these plants is that they will often bloom with bright colored flowers and add a pop of color to your room! 

To check if your cactus actually does grow you can check the center on its top. If new spines appear there, then it means it is growing! However as mentioned above, the cactus and succulent species are slow growers and can take years to notice any sort of difference.

mini cactus care can mini cactus grow big

How to take care of small cactus recapped 

Thank you for reading this article on how to take care of small cactus. I hope you have found everything you were looking for and are now well equipped in the world of mini cactus care! I have given you the best advice I know based on my experience with this wonderful plant species. 

I have talked you through the very best tips on how to care for a small cactus including: 

  • Watering: when to water a mini cactus and how often do you water a small cactus
  • Light: how much sunlight does a small cactus need?
  • Soil: what is the best soil for small cactus? How to DIY cactus soil
  • Fertilizer: the best type of fertilizer for cactus
  • Container: what are the best types of pots for mini cactus

I also went on to discuss a number of other questions that I have commonly heard when people are discussing mini cactus care including; do small cactus grow? And can mini cactus grow big? 

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post on how to take care of small cactus! If you have any questions, then feel free to comment below and I’ll get back to you. 

Alternatively, you can follow my Instagram account, where I give tips and tricks into the cactus and succulent world. 

You can also browse my related posts below, where you will find other helpful blog posts on cactus care! 

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