Cacti are a fun plant for kids to collect as they come in many interesting shapes and sizes. Creating your own indoor cactus garden is a great opportunity for children to be creative and learn about plants from different climates. Cacti are very low maintenance meaning you will only need to water them when the soil is absolutely parched. They derive from a climate where rainfall is rare so are used to surviving without it. Great for forgetful children!
How long will this take me?
As long as a trip to the garden center takes, and about an hour to plant them up.
What will I need?
A large plant pot (or old plastic bowl/tub)
Crocks’ (pieces of broken plant pot)
Shingle and coarse sand or grit
A variety of cacti
Some pebbles (driveway gravel is fine but stones collected on a walk might be more exciting)
How do I do it?
- Help your children carefully place crocks in the bottom of the plant pot, then cover with a layer of shingle or sand. This creates a good drainage system.
- Mix some of the shingle or sand together with the compost, and fill the large pot almost to the top. (Drainage is very important for these plants, mix two parts compost with one part shingle/sand).
- Sort the cacti into 2 groups – prickly and non-prickly. Show your children how to gently take the non-prickly cacti out of their existing pots, and rehome them into the new, large pot. There needs to be plenty of soil compacted around the roots to keep them sturdy and firm!
- Now for the exciting bit – the prickly plants! Wrap newspaper around the plants so that little fingers don’t get pricked, and do the same as with the non-prickly plants.
- When everything is planted, ask your children to fill in the gaps with pebbles and cover any remaining spaces with a layer of shingle or coarse sand.
- Water the pot gently with a sprinkling watering can and then place on a windowsill to start growing!
- Take lots of care with thorns and prickles, they can easily splinter and be difficult to remove.
- Some cacti that you can choose from the garden center will also flower, making your cactus garden even more beautiful and interesting.