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This is just my opinion and I'm no expert. Just a cactus lover, who is also into computers.

Growing and collecting desert cacti requires little effort and can be very rewarding. They not only have many exquisite flowers they also have many different shape and sizes. The main problem most people have, myself included is too much pampering and over watering of these beauties. A cactus must have waterless periods in order to use up the moisture store in their tissue, or death is the results. Cactus have adapted themselves to living in arid regions after centuries. The theory of a little water will make a plant grow, so more water will do the job faster is not true of cactus, actually it is quite the opposite.

Soil that is porous is an absolute necessity, so that surplus water can drain off quickly, yet does not dry out rapidly. I used cactus soil and add sand to it, but have been told that a mixture of equal parts of rich garden soil and coarse gravel, adding a tablespoon each of crushed charcoal and hydrated lime. Powdered egg shells can be used for the lime.

When planting or transplanting a cactus it's roots must be trimmed back short leaving only three or four small stubs to hold the plant in position. After trimming them back give the roots a couple days to heal over before planting. They will then reestablish themselves sooner now that they have to grow a new set of roots. Unrooted cacti and cuttings will grow roots when placed in a flat of moist sand, they say, but I don't do it that way. I start new unrooted plants by sitting them on soil in a pot and not watering them for a month. I find this works best for me and I make sure the start or baby has healed for 3 weeks before sitting it in soil, then after a month I give it very little water. If the baby has a start of roots, do water it to start, and then let it dry for quite a while before watering again. I am not always successful in starting new shoots and try, when possible to start more than one.

A handful of coarse gravel or broken clay pots in the bottom of the pot, followed by a soil mixture filled to about 2 inches from the top, leaving a cone shaped hollow in the center. The pot should be slightly larger than the plant's circumference including spines. It is very important that they have a drainage hole so that they do not sit in surplus water. Hold the cactus with tongs in the proper growing position over the hollow and fill in with loose clean coarse sand. A thin layer of gravel at the top prevents the soil from washing away when the plant is watered. Newly potted plants should be watered sparingly for three to four weeks. After being established they should receive a thorough soaking twice a month during HOT DRY weather and a small drink in the winter months keeps the inactive roots from drying up. Watering should increase slightly in the spring to encourage new growth. Always make sure the plant's soil is allowed to become dry before watering again. Humidity plays a big part in cactus and where we live it is very low. We get rain basically in the winter months and none usually between April and October or November. I have cactus growing both inside and outside, those in pots get protection in the winter months, but those in my garden have to endure the winter months of rain.

Sunshine and fresh air are essential for healthy plants. Those cacti accustom to arid regions do well in southern exposure where they can be sheltered from the rains. Those native to a semiarid region are best protected from hot desert sun and are given an extra drink of water occasionally.

All varieties of cacti may be planted at any time of the year, if planted during the winter months, they should not be watered until spring growth appears. This is because it is necessary precaution against decay of dormant roots. It is actually suggested that transplanting be done in spring and summer.

If you can identify any of our cactus, we can be contacted at: tses
Thank You!


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Last updated 9 /7/2003


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