Growing cactus in Colorado may seem difficult but it's actually quite simple. The best thing about growing cactus here is that it thrives on neglect. It doesn't need to be watered often, grows best in hot dry climates and needs very little in the way of nutritional support. It's ideal for Colorado, even though this isn't exactly the desert. That being said, there are still a few tips you can use for growing the best cactus here in Colorado.
Mix soil with sand.
Cactus can develop fungus when over watered. It needs proper drainage and infrequent watering to survive. That makes it the perfect candidate for rock gardens in the hot dry summer climate of Colorado. To be sure you don't over water cactus, mix your potting soil half and half with sand. Sand doesn't retain water as easily as regular soil and will keep the roots of your cactus dry and fungus free.
Use mothballs for mealy bugs.
Cactus are prone to mealy bug infestation. Luckily, mothballs not only chase away moths, they are highly effective as pest repellent for mealy bugs. Here in Colorado, we have plenty of mothballs on hand to combat their prolific namesake. When planting cactus in Colorado, toss a few moth balls in the planter to keep the mealy bugs away. Mothballs damage plastic and should not be used in plastic containers and pots.
Use distilled water for aloe plants.
Although cactus aren't fussy, there are certain varieties that do not appreciate salt. Even the small amount of salt found in tap water can cause aloe vera plants to fail. If your aloe appears to need water, it may actually be telling you to cut down on the salt intake. You can buy distilled water in the store for watering aloe. You can also simply boil tap water to remove the salt.
Use tongs to move or replant cactus.
Cactus is one of my favorite things to plant in Colorado, due to it's ability to adapt to the climate here. Along the way, I've learned a couple natural methods for handling cactus without getting stuck. One is to use a pair of tongs whenever planting or moving cactus. You can also use layers of newspaper to save your skin from cactus thorns.
Taking cuttings naturally.
Here in Colorado, the sun helps us with natural methods for taking cactus cuttings. Simply break the cactus at the seam. Leave it in the sun for a few days to heal. Colorado sun is close, especially here in the Mile High City. Once the break heals, bury the new cactus about 3-4 inches deep in sandy soil for best results.
This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.