Growing Opuntia cactus in pots indoors

pdrobber

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Recently, I bought some Opuntia ficus-indica rooted plants started in pots at a local farmer's market here in NY (6 rooted pads total)

I then went online and purchased some Opuntia cacanapa ellisiana pads (not yet rooted nor planted, 10 pads). When I received them their bases at which they had been cut were dried and calloused, and I let them sit in a ventilated, warm, dry area for a few more days.

They have all been potted two pads to a pot in 6" terra cotta pots on saucers with cactus potting soil mix.

I have been reading and watching videos on potting, propogating, and rooting cactus, yet there is not much info at all on growing them indoors. Perhaps it will fail miserably and rot or just not grow at all, but I believe I am seeing some progress on a daily basis at the tips of the pads where little buds are appearing.

When I was bringing one of the plants home from the market, one of the new pads growing off the older ones had been bent and was almost completely detached. So, I had been keeping the plant outside the tortoise table yet in contact with the light from the MVB. I left it and it has reattached itself and firmed up, and is continuing to grow!

I have since bought a grow light with 9 red LEDs and 3 blue LEDs. It is hanging above the potted cactus, about 18" above I'd estimate. I have it running about 8 hours a day right now ( I suppose it should be on longer). The temperature in my apartment is probably 68-72F at any given time.

Which do you all think would produce better growth? MVB bulb, red and blue LED grow light or something else?(feasible for indoors)

I will be posting photos, share with me if you have any experience growing opuntia of any variety indoors or in pots (outside included).
 

Yvonne G

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Keep in mind: Don't water until the dirt is dry, and they need lots of light! Usually just sitting by a window still isn't bright enough for cactus to thrive indoors.
 

Prairie Mom

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I haven't grown opuntia and am eager to hear how your indoor experiment works. It sounds like you're doing well with your grow light. I haven't used the new led lights yet. I have grown enclosure plants and have had experience with MVB vs fluorescent Grow/aquarium lights or "Daylight" fluorescent tube lights (I use both daylight and grow light tubes interchangeably). Plants grow much better with grow or daylight bulbs vs MVB. They are stronger and live longer.

I'd love to hear how your led grow light works out for you! Please update about it. The only advice I could possibly give is to increase the amount of light to about 12hrs (which you already seemed to know) and the closer the light is to your plant the less stretched and spindly it will grow. I've never used the LED. If the light doesn't heat up too much, I would move it closer to the plant. Please keep us posted how it works out!:)
 

SGT Fish

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i would love updates as well. mine havent grown at all and im wondering if a light would help and what kind would be best
 

Yelloweyed

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I don't grow cat is indoors but Boston ferns and spider plants love 5000k and 6500k LED light bulbs. No extra heat needed as they're in the enclosure. I have them really close (~6 inches) to the spider plants and about 18 inches from the ferns (not on purpose, just what happened when I built my light stand).
 

Robber

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I have not had more than very slight growth when I bring mine inside for winter(some will have new pads start, maybe grow to an inch or two), while some will not grow at all, although I don't have any special light on them, just keep them by the biggest window in the house. As soon as I get them out in the spring, they all immediately start showing new growth. All of mine are less than 2 y.o..
 

Tom

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Generally, the more heat and light, the better. Full direct sun all day is ideal, so indoors, near a window and with more light will produce better results.
 

Pearly

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Generally, the more heat and light, the better. Full direct sun all day is ideal, so indoors, near a window and with more light will produce better results.
I second that. For an ornamental cactus at home... Bright window is enough, but do not expect any robust growth. I live in central Texas and and my outdoor cacti grow like crazy. I do have some indoors, those LIVE but nothing robust about the growth rate so if you are hoping to grow them for tort food, bring them out in the summer and put growth lights over them indoors. Also temps! The soil needs to be warm for them. And while indoors use lukewarm water, fertilize with seaweed or fish ir another organic feetilizer. The fish one stinks so I don't use it in the house
 

Yvonne G

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All plants, but mainly cactus and succulents, do much better outside. If you have to bring in a plant for the winter, it is best to water very sparingly. I only water my cactus and succulents in the greenhouse for the winter about three times for the whole winter. So, in the house, put them in a cold room and by a window and don't water much at all. The plants are not going to die if the dirt gets completely dry.
 

huff747

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I've had some cactus that I've had growing since I first came around this forum in 2013 (I'm back around after we didn't have torts while we moved and got settled in a new place). I've had pretty good luck with them growing in a large window that gets the morning sun. I move some of them outside in the summer but I had some that regularly produced pads and flowers year round in that window. They grow much slower than the ones I take outside but they do still seem to grow.
 
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