Cacti - Cultivation tips
HOW TO GROW CACTI
Cacti (Uses and types):
We have the following cacti types:
Besides being used as gardening plants, they are used thoroughly in the world as food for the men and livestock, to protect the lands from erosion, to fence the fields, and for their medicinal or toxic properties. For more information consult:
Cacti (flowers and fruits)
Cacti have very showy flowers. Bloom in plants cultivated in greenhouses can be forced during the whole year. Under natural conditions they generally flourish during the most favourable times. Flowering in some Cactaceae, as the agaves, takes place when the plant had reached a very high degree of maturity after being 10 years old or more. Most of the fruits of the Cactaceae are eatable berries, with better or worse flavour. In many cases they are consumed by men and animals.
Outdoors growing and winter average temperatures of about 7ºC make not necessary to water them, because watering can harm them more than benefit by increasing the risk of freeze. During the rest of the year watering will depend on the fact that they are cultivated in flowerpots or in the garden soil, in plastic or in earthenware pots. Plastic ones should be watered every 12 days in spring and every 10 in summer. In the event of being planted in mud pots the period of watering can be extended about 3 or 4 days more. In Autumn watering should be done monthly, or one should not water at all if time becomes cold. If they are cultivated in gardens the intervals previously mentioned should be doubled, watering is not even necessary if rains take place from time to time. Indoors cultivation, either with heating or in summer, makes it necessary not to let the plant dry off completely, even in winter.
If cacti are watered too much or if pots don't have drainage enough, these plants have a usual tendency to rot as consequence of the fungi attack that can affect the roots and stems. For this reason an exaggerated watering should be avoided and we should mainly watch over that pots should have a good drainage. We should never leave them submerged.
Cacti planted in indoor pots need enough light, so it is necessary to place them near a point of light, like a window or gallery. To get an uniform growth it is necessary to turn them around. Another way of illuminating them, especially in areas with little light, it is by means of an artificial lamp that will be lit about 17 hours between spring and autumn, and about 14 in winter. The artificial light also allows us to relocate the plants in any desired place of the house.
In this case they should have a sunny and warm exposure. If temperatures go down, they should be protected or kept indoors. When temperatures improve they can be carried outside again, keeping in mind to acclimatize during some days the plant that has been protected in the house, for this reason it should not be placed in full sun to avoid burns or, if it is not possible to find it the suitable place, it is very appropriate to cover it with a piece of cloth during some days. A demi-shade emplacement or a filtered sunlight location will be the best thing to achieve.
Cacti tolerate low temperature better when they are under hibernal rest, so it is very important to maintain them dry when cold season arrives.
The best way to obtain new plants is by means of cuttings. Cuttings should dry off during some days to heal the wounds before planting them. The normal thing is to keep them in a sandy layer in a shaded and warm place about 15 days, or 30 in the case of very big samples.
In the event of replanting a cactus from a pot to other, it is convenient for the new pot to be a couple of centimeters more than the primitive one, because these plants don't like to be too much loose. Since a cactus presents very sharp spines, we will use gloves or build a cardboard ribbon, with which we will wrap up the plant, leaving a part of the ribbon free to catch it. When we lift the plant of the old pot, we will take advantage to liberate the roots of those parts that are in not well state without damaging the rest of the roots. It is convenient to place draining material at the bottom of the pot and place the plant at the same height that it had with regard to the surface in the previous pot. Once placed in the interior, we will stuff the empty space and we will reaffirm it until the soil is well pressed. We will wait a couple of days before watering.
Cacti (soil, fertilizer and deseases)
The best land is that one formed by a mixture of:
Because the roots of cacti have not a very deep horizontal growth, the most appropriate pot type is that which is wide and shallow. The width of a pot limits the growth a lot, in such a way that this concludes when the roots can no longer extend any more, so, in case it should happen, we will also limit the the fertilizer.
More information about plants cultivation in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.