Fishbone Cacti look a lot different than your average cacti, and they have different watering requirements too! How can you successfully navigate watering your Mini Fishbone?
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How often should I be watering my Fishbone cactus?
This is an excellent question! And there's really no one answer to how frequently you should water your plant.
Fishbone Cactus like their soil to stay evenly moist through the spring-autumn months. In the winter, they experience dormancy, so allowing the topsoil to dry out is the best bet for maintaining a healthy Fishbone cactus!
Understanding these watering conditions is essential! This is because the individual plant, size, age, health, soil, lighting, ventilation, container, room temperature, and humidity all play a role. (And the list could continue!)
The good news? You only have to understand how your plant is reacting to your environment. So, make a study of your mini Fishbone! There will be no perfect weekly or biweekly watering routine. You just have to wait for the appropriate signs!
How can I tell when my Fishbone Cactus needs watering?
While you won't be able to tell Siri to remind you to water your plant on a specific day, there are some tell-tale signs that your Fishbone Cactus is thirsty!
When we think "cactus," we usually think of the desert. But, the Fishbone Cactus is actually a native of Mexico and naturally perch up in rainforest trees. Why does this matter? It explains why Fishbones prefer moist soil!
Watering in the Spring-Summer Seasons
Keep the soil evenly moist. It should be cool to the touch but not sopping wet. If you notice the topsoil looking dull, a lighter brown, and that it's crumbly, it is time to water!
Watering in the Autumn
The fall season gets a special mention because this is the Fishbone Cactus's natural blooming period. It can even extend into the early winter months! While reblooming is another topic, just remember, while many of your other houseplants are going dormant, your Fishbone Cactus is still very much awake! Use the same watering methods you used through the Spring-Summer.
Watering in the Winter
After the blooming season, your little cacti goes to sleep. This means your cactus will require less water. During the winter months, allow your Fishbone Cactus's topsoil to dry out before watering.
What does this look like? Well, if you notice your soil separating from the pot, you've let it go too far! The goal is to only allow the first 1-inch of your soil to dry out. So, whether you use your finger, a chopstick, or a toothpick, make sure to check the soil regularly.
If you do the finger-test, insert your pointer finger into the soil down to your first knuckle. If the dirt is a neutral temperature and crumbly, it's time to water! In contrast, if it still feels chilly and damp, re-check your plant baby in a few days.
If you are using a stick, this method is like baking a cake: it’s ready when the toothpick comes out clean! In contrast, moist soil will cling to your stick. So, be patient! “Wait for the cake!”
Final when-to-water tips:
Be patient when trying to determine the perfect conditions for watering your Fishbone Cactus. When in doubt, wait! While extended, routine dryness can damage or kill your plantie, occasional bouts of slight dryness are less damaging than overwatering.
Remember, these cacti naturally grow in rainforest trees. Fishbone Cacti cannot deal with soggy soil. It can cause root rot, mold, and fungal issues.
How should I be watering my Mini Fishbone?
In the world of watering, there are many methods! This is another area where you have to decide for yourself what is best for you and your cactus!
Traditional Overhead Watering
This is another area where plant origins are important! Desert cacti and succulents are used to drawing moisture from deep within the soil and hate getting their leaves wet. Jungle cacti, like the Fishbone, thrive on humidity and moisture! Since they enjoy refreshing 'rain,' this makes over-head watering a great option!
Caution: Watering your Fishbone Cactus in the morning will ensure that the water droplets on its leaves have plenty of time to evaporate in the heat and sunlight of the day!
This is one of the #1 recommended watering methods for most cacti. Using a thin-nosed watering can, you can reach in and soak the soil while avoiding all of the leaves.
Caution: The Fishbone Cactus actually enjoys getting wet because it temporarily increases humidity levels in the air! So, if you opt to water the soil only, supplement by misting your plant.
This type of watering is becoming more and more popular! You simply set your Fishbone's pot (make sure it has drainage holes) in a saucer of water for 30 minutes, and presto! Your plant is watered.
Self-watering pots are another easy peasy way to bottom-water your Fishbone Cactus. As long as the water reservoir is full, your plant will wick up as much moisture as it needs!
Caution: While bottom-watering helps the soil retain nutrients (which can be beneficial), it also causes the soil to retain excess minerals. This buildup can eventually cause harm to your plant. It is still an excellent idea to top-water every-so-often to flush out the soil.
Should I mist my Fishbone?
Yes! Fishbone Cacti love humidity, so a misting now-and-again is just what the doctor ordered! Don't get mister-happy, however, and start spraying down everything... misting will spell disaster for other types of cacti!
While it seems harmless enough, misting also comes with a few cautions:
Don't mist your Fishbone if you are already using a different method to increase humidity (like a humidifier). Excess levels of moisture, especially when coupled with warm conditions, can lead to your Fishbone developing fungal lesions (which look like brown spots).
Don't over mist! Misting too often or too heavily can lead to your topsoil remaining moist while the rest of the dirt dries out. In short: you could hold off watering your Fishbone Cactus when it's actually thirsty, causing chronic dryness issues!
Your Mini Fishbone is just that: mini! It requires careful watching during the early stages of its life. By staying vigilant and following the above tips, you'll keep your little cacti friend happy and healthy!
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