How to Select the Perfect Lighting to Grow Your Cactus

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are at least 1500 varieties of cacti that are native to the United States. These iconic desert succulents are prized by many gardening enthusiasts. There is even a Cactus and Succulent Association of America that was started in the 1920s. Although many cactus plants are on the Endangered List and it is illegal to dig them out of their native spots, there are plenty to choose from in commercial nurseries.

The main key to growing cacti successfully indoors is to create a growing atmosphere that is closest to their desert climates. Cactus growers must be specific about soil type, watering, and light. When conditions are kept stable, you can enjoy many fabulous species of cacti in your home. Here are a few suggestions to consider for cactus growing lights:

Since cacti are used to the glaring desert sun, they will not be content with regular home lighting. Ideally, you could place them in a sunny window where they would get the proper amount of sun and shade each day. If you do not have enough space near a window, you can use artificial light for the cacti’s lighting needs.

One good choice that many cacti enthusiasts use is fluorescent grow lights. They are not that expensive and can be found in most nurseries or hardware stores. Place the cactus under the lights and give them from 12-14 hours of intense light every day. This is similar to what they would get in their natural habitat, says Cactus When you turn the lights off, the plants get to rest in the shade of your home. Just remember not to get the light so close that it burns the plants.

Another good option for indoor cacti growing is spotlighting. These types of lights have been used for years to grow cactus plants as well as tropical ones. They are usually in a metal dome and easily clip on wherever they are needed. Spot lighting is good for the occasional extra touch of light; however, they probably should not be your first choice. They require a lot of electric.

Many cactus growers find that the T5 growing system works well. It is usually composed of a small group of T5 fluorescent lights and it can be used for several cactus plants at once. This system produces high-intensity light and is energy efficient. If you need more lighting, you may even consider T8 bulbs.

Growing cacti can be a rewarding hobby. If you provide the right environment and good lighting, they will reward you with spectacular blooms and unusual shapes. Well-maintained cacti make wonderful living decorations and are often conversational pieces for visitors.