Desert plants like to grow by themselves. Don't try to help them; just sit back, and observe and, in time, You will understand their signals to you that they are okay or not okay.
We recommend the following basic rules for plants in pots up to 6" in diameter or in sizes up to 12".
Place your plants on a sunny window sill or in strong indirect light. Southern, Western or Eastern exposures are best, in that order. Watch especially young growth for sun burn during the summer, some plants may have to be moved or protected temporarily. Turn pots regularly for even growth.
Desert plants need fresh, circulating air. Leave windows partly open at least part of the day. As desert plants they like warm days and cool nights, never place plants on a heater or near a fire place. They will not thrive in a poorly ventilated, stuffy room!
The most popular way to kill a cactus is by over watering. Use a thin wood stick or pencil and push it deeply into the soil. If there is moisture left, some sand will stick to the wood which means DO NOT water! But water well when you do water. Probably once a month in the summer, every 6 or more weeks in winter. Don't leave excess water in the saucer, cactus don't like soggy feet.
Food Desert Plants
Desert Plants as a rule don't need much feeding. Fertilize in Spring and Summer with bone meal mixed into the soil or water with Miracle Grow 20-20-20. Slightly increase pot size in the Spring (every 2-3 years). Use a rope harness and pads of newspaper to lift plant being careful not to replant too deep. Pack soil tightly. Keep out of direct sun for 10 days.
Pests and Diseases
The best method is, of course, prevention. Take the time to inspect each plant regularly. All desert plants are superbly equipped to adapt to a life in "captivity" but sometimes they become the target of mealy bugs, aphids, scale or fungus disease from incorrect growing conditions. There are natural and chemical ways to help a plant in such cases. You may want to consult a cactus culture book at your library or call Maas Nursery. There are not iron-clad rules on how much water, light and ventilation a specific plant needs. The coast has several different mini-climate zones and we can only make recommendations based on our knowledge and experience. The results are up to you. Wishing you much success!