Dish Cactus Garden
cactus dish garden
(Image credit: membio)

Setting up a cactus succulent garden in a container makes an attractive display and is handy for those with cold winters that must bring the plants inside. Creating a cactus dish garden is a simple and low-maintenance project, but its aftercare is just as important to consider.

How to Care for Cactus Dish Plants

Care for your cactus dish garden begins at the time of preparation. To limit its care, be sure to start your dish garden cacti in proper soil. Several pre-mixed soils are available for cacti and succulents. Plant them in one of these. You can further amend the soil by adding one third lava rocks or pumice. Builder’s sand is a good amendment too. These allow water to move through the planting mix quickly, so it does not settle on the roots and make the plant rot. Use these amendments as a top dressing, too, if desired.

Also keep in mind that when planting cacti with shallow root systems, your containers need not be deep. Those with taproots need a regular pot. The pots should have drainage holes. If they don’t, add them with a drill. Cacti need little water, so make sure it has a good way to exit the container.

When planting your garden make sure all plants have similar light and water requirements. Don’t mix cacti with other succulent plants requiring more water or less light.

Continued Cactus Dish Care

Since cacti need little water, and since dish gardens are normally inside for winter, watering may not be needed until you move them back outside in spring. If the cacti are withering, this is an indication that some water is needed. Limit watering even in this situation.

Keep the cacti dry when watering, water at the bottom to only reach the root system. If water reaches the drip tray or saucer underneath, don’t let it stay there. Empty within half an hour.

When locating dish garden cacti indoors, make sure it is not exposed to drafts or heating vents.

Do put them in a sunny spot. If they’re already accustomed to several hours of sun outside, try to provide about the same amount inside.

If growing new cuttings, locate them in indirect light, gradually acclimating them to sun half an hour at a time, increasing every few days.

Provide the right temperature for your dish garden. Most cacti prefer temps between 70 and 80 degrees F. (21-27 C.).

Once you have your plants in the right soil and light with suitable temps, care is limited, so you can just enjoy your dish garden.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.