How Long Does It Take For Cactus To Grow? All You Need To Know!

How Long Does It Take For Cactus To Grow

If you already own a cactus plant or are planning on getting one, you might wonder how long does it take for cactus to grow? Cacti grow very slowly compared to other plants, and the growth itself would only be a few centimeters in two to three years.

But don’t worry; there are tricks you can apply to help them grow faster. First, let’s look more into Cacti’s growth attributes.

How Fast Do Cacti Grow?

Cacti are different in structure compared to other plants and trees, which makes their average growth speed different as well. These plants, in fact, grow very slowly, but the growth also depends on the type of cactus.

How Fast Do Cacti Grow?

Typically, the common species of cacti will grow about 1-3 cm in height each year. But in special cases like the Saguaro Cactus, they can grow up to 15cm each year and reach a height of 75 feet when fully grown!

Other common cacti species, such as echinocactus and ferrocactus, will grow about 1-2 and 2-3 centimeters per year. So if you own either of these species and are wondering what’s wrong – there is nothing to worry about because this is how fast they grow on average.

Stages of Cactus Growth

There are five stages of growth in a cactus’s lifecycle. They are –

Stages of Cactus Growth
  • Germination
  • Vegetative growth
  • Flowering
  • Pollination
  • Fruit formation

So like a typical plant, cacti also go through the same steps for growth. However, the overall process for each phase is significantly slow for specific reasons. Here is more detail on each growth phase:

1. Germination

Like all other plants, cactus plants also begin through germination. The seed will require special factors from the environment, such as warmth, moisture, light, and oxygen.

A few points to keep in mind when growing a cactus seed are –

  • Keep the surrounding temperature at 20 to 21 degrees Celsius
  • Water the soil, but do not overwater it. Too must moisture can kill the nutrients within the dormant seed.
  • Choose soil that is porous so that enough oxygen can get through.

With the right amount of these factors, the food reserve in the cactus seed will activate and cause the seedling to grow.

2. Vegetative Growth

In this stage, the cactus will slowly start to take its basic shape. The process will take around six months before you can see an actual shape developing from the seedling. So don’t get impatient – this is how slow cactuses will grow at this stage!   

3. Flowering Stage

You should note that some cacti can take around 2 to even 10 years to reach their flowering stage. Flowers on a cactus will depend on the amount of light and temperature it gets.

Cacti thrive in summer and usually begin to show flowers when the temperature is around 21 to 26 degrees Celsius. But you should also make sure not to leave the plant out when the sun is too scorching, as it can damage the growing cells.

Usually, cactus flowers only last for a few days to a few weeks and then fall off. But you should still water the plant regularly, making sure not to overwater it and create a damp environment.

4. Pollination Stage

Getting cacti to pollinate can be difficult since their flowers fall off too soon. The best way to get cacti to their pollination stage is by keeping other mature cacti nearby. Having pollinating insects nearby also helps.

5. Fruit Formation

You’ll know a cactus has successfully pollinated when you see berry-like structures on its body with spikes on it.

The most commonly seen fruit is the prickly pear, which is a bright reddish-purple in color and can be eaten raw from the plant. Cactus plants are actually very healthy and have plenty of antioxidants.

Why Do Cacti Grow Slower Than Other Plants?

Cactus plants are not only different in shape and structure from other plants but also grow slower because of the same following reasons:

Why Do Cacti Grow Slower Than Other Plants?
  • Absence of leaves – plants photosynthesize through the chlorophyll in their leaves, but cacti don’t have leaves at all. As a result, their food production is slower hence leading to slow growth.
  • Adapted for survival – the way cacti are built makes them strong enough to survive harsh conditions and temperatures, mostly hot and dry weather. When a plant is well adapted for survival rather than making food regularly, they don’t have the need for speeded growth.
  • Fewer stomata – Leaves have stomata at the surfaces that take in carbon dioxide, but since cacti don’t have leaves, their bodies have fewer stomata, and less respiration occurs for growth.

How Can I Help My Cactus Grow Faster?

If you find your cactus growing slower than its average rate, you can make some changes in its environment to help speed up the growth. Here are a few tips you can follow:

How Can I Help My Cactus Grow Faster?
  • Use a spacious container bigger than the cactus itself so that it has plenty of room to grow.
  • Get good quality soil with a draining pot, as it will prevent the cactus from absorbing too much moisture.
  • Keep your cactus in a spot where there is a lot of sunlight, and adjust its position every week so that all sides of it get enough sun.
  • Ensure the plant is in the correct temperature – indoor cacti should be at 18 to 26 degrees Celsius, and outdoor ones grow better at 12 degrees in winter and 18 degrees in summer.

What Makes Cacti Grow So Slowly?

Cactus plants tend to grow slower than usual for the following reasons:

What Makes Cacti Grow So Slowly?

1. Too small of a container

When the cactus becomes the size of a golf ball in its vegetative stage, it will be ready to absorb more and more nutrients. If the container is too small, it won’t be able to obtain as many nutrients as it needs to grow. Hence, the plant will stay constricted to the size of its container.         

2. Excessive sunlight

Even if cactus plants thrive in dry climates, too much sunlight can cause damage. When a matured cactus is moved to a new container, it is necessary to allow it some time to adjust to the new surroundings.

So keeping it under direct sunlight for too long in the new container can hinder its adjustment and growth.

3. Overwatering

Cacti need less water compared to other plants in general, so too much water can damage the roots. When the soil gets too moist for the plant to absorb, moss and algae are likely to grow near the roots and prevent any nutrients from getting through. Instead, the moss will absorb all the nutrients from the soil, and the cactus will not grow any longer.

4. Keeping it covered for too long

This is for early-stage cacti while germinating – keeping them covered for too long prevents any oxygen from going in. Oxygen is a prime factor for plant growth, and any less of it will cause the seedling to stop growing.

Final Words

A cactus typically grows only around one to three centimeters in a span of 2-3 years. This is generally slower compared to other regular plants, but there are a few ways that can help a cactus grow a bit faster. You just need to make sure they are always kept in a suitable environment with enough light, warmth, and room for growth.

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