Are fairy castle cactus poisonous?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Fairy castle cactus, also known as Acanthocereus tetragonus, is mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. While the toxicity level is considered mild, it is still important to take precautions when handling or having this plant around pets and children.

When it comes to the potting mix for fairy castle cactus, it is best to use a loose, porous, fast-draining, and fast-drying soil. This type of soil allows excess water to drain quickly, preventing root rot and overwatering issues. You can either purchase a cactus and succulent soil mix from a garden center or create your own by combining regular potting soil with perlite or coarse sand to increase drainage.

When working with fairy castle cactus, it is advisable to use leather gloves and/or tongs to handle or repot the plant. This not only protects your hands from the sharp spines but also minimizes the risk of any potential skin irritation.

In terms of care, fairy castle cactus thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. It is best to place it near a window that receives indirect sunlight for a good portion of the day. This cactus prefers warmer temperatures, ideally between 70-90°F (21-32°C). However, it can tolerate lower temperatures as long as it is not exposed to frost.

Watering fairy castle cactus should be done sparingly. It is important to allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, so it is crucial to err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering.

Fertilizing fairy castle cactus is not necessary during the winter months when the plant is in its dormant phase. However, during the growing season (spring and summer), you can feed it with a diluted cactus fertilizer once a month. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for the correct dilution ratio.

It is worth noting that fairy castle cactus can grow quite tall and may require support or staking as it matures. You can use bamboo stakes or other types of plant supports to help keep the cactus upright.

While fairy castle cactus is mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and humans, it can be safely enjoyed with proper precautions. When handling or repotting the plant, it is recommended to use leather gloves and/or tongs. Creating a fast-draining soil mix and providing the cactus with the right amount of light, temperature, and water will help ensure its health and well-being. Remember to always be cautious when introducing any potentially toxic plants into your home, especially if you have pets or young children.