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A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo. A flower sitting with a group of dark rocks, bamboo, grass and the LawnZenGarden logo.

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by Carole Schwalm A colorful butterfly sitting on a flower.

A lovely flowering plant now, but what do you do with it in order to have it next year? It is a member of the cactus family and should be in the proper potting soil when you buy it. The right soil is ½ potting soil and ½ sand in case you have to repot at some point, but bear in mind this is a plant that likes to be things on the pot-bound side.

Any cactus prefers bright light and good drainage, and very little water. You should let the soil dry out before watering again. You’ll want to fertilize the plant monthly until summer. The cactus needs magnesium along with the fertilizer. Epsom salts fills the need.

A close up photograph of the stemen of a cactus flower. Temperature extremes are the perpetrators of the flowers falling off: for example not that you would, but keeping your thermostat at 90 degrees F will do it. Or the same thing happens if the thermostat is at 50 degrees F.

The growing season is from April to September when there are shorter days. Pinch back stems early in June. And from mid-September and for about six weeks your plant (like the poinsettia) needs about 14 hours of darkness and a temp of about 65 degrees F. Water only if dry to the touch during the spring and summer.

To propagate, cut off one of the joints and then root in sandy soil.

Share your butterfly experience or if you'd like more information.