Tips for growing spiny cactus include watering and light fertilizing at least once a week during the growing season and providing optimal light, depending on the species. In their natural habitat, many cacti live in dry environments that experience periods of drought. Hence, they show adaptations for conserving water.
Proper watering means providing enough water so that the soil is thoroughly soaked and water drains out the holes at the bottom of the pot. A balanced fertilizer of equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that is diluted to 1/4 strength can be included in the water. While most cacti thrive in bright direct sunlight that approximates desert conditions, some species cannot tolerate too much light in conjunction with high temperatures. Cacti exposed to too much light look bleached, while those deprived of light look stretched.
Many cacti go into dormancy from late autumn to spring, when temperatures drop and days are shorter. During this time, the plant requires minimal watering, and owners must allow the soil to dry out in between waterings.