The Easiest Plant To Care For Throughout the Winter Is Totally Unexpected

Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

Helping your plants make it through the winter months is a full-time job. And cacti seem like they would require the most work of all. How do they thrive without heat and bright sunlight? Plant experts say your cactus is actually one of the easiest plants to take care of during the winter. In fact, cacti hardly require any attention at all.

Once fall hits, most cacti (as well as succulents!) go dormant until spring. Rachel Mayo, the plant expert behind @growinthelight, says that means they not only require zero humidity, but also don't need very much light or water.  You'll only need to water a cactus once a month in the summer, and once every 1 to 2 months in the winter, says Keaton Varden, the plant pro behind Varden Gardens.

Experts In This Article
  • Keaton Varden, Keaton Varden is the plant expert behind Varden Gardens.
  • Rachel Mayo, plant expert, climate communicator

"I wouldn't water nearly as often as people say you should," says Varden. "The way I like to think about it is cacti roots are vacuums. Once the roots touch water, they suck it all up because the plant isn't used to having that much water. Even when I do water my cacti, I don't soak them—I give them barely enough to suck up the water and thrive on."

As for light, you can only do so much during the darker winter months. Luckily, cacti are hardy. Place them closer to windows (preferably a South-facing window) so they can get at least a few hours of bright light a day when the sun is shining.

Choose a cactus for easy winter plant care

1. Prickly pear cactus, $80

cactus winter care
Photo: Bloomscape

The prickly pear cactus has eye-catching paddle-like pads that are sure to make a statement in your plant collection.

Shop now: Prickly pear cactus, $80

2. Peruvian apple cactus, $26

cactus winter care
Photo: AdeniumNursery

How cool is this Peruvian apple cactus? This cutting arrives at your door at 10 to 12 inches, but it can get much taller over time.

Shop now: Peruvian apple cactus, $26

3. Cactus dish garden, $60

cactus winter care

This cactus dish garden has a handful of different cacti to fall in love with. The pretty pot is an added bonus.

Shop now: Cactus dish garden, $60

4. Mexican fence post cactus, $35

cactus winter care
Photo: RexPlants

This columnar Mexican fence post cacti can also get tall. It's very hardy, too, making it easy to take care of.

Shop now: Mexican fence post cactus, $35

5. Sonoran cacti collection, $65

cactus winter care
Photo: Bloomscape

You get three unique potted cacti in this collection: the old lady cactus, old man cactus, and bishop’s cap cactus. Can you guess which is which?

Shop now: Sonoran cacti collection, $65

6. Ghost cactus, $20

cactus winter care
Photo: CactusandExotics

This rare find is one of the coolest-looking cacti around. The ghost cactus gets really tall, too—up to five feet.

Shop now: Ghost cactus, $20

The best plants to put in every room of your house:

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