The taxonomy of cacti is undoubtedly very necessary. Determining whether a cactus belongs to a particular genus and species gives not only a beautiful name, it allows you to find out the conditions of detention, which are very different. Some need a cold wintering with a completely dry substrate, others need humid air and regular watering. There are varieties of blooming domestic cacti, there are species that never bloom, but are unusually spectacular, such as Echinocactus gruzoni. Pereskian cacti are absolutely unique - they look like leafy thorny shrubs.
Choosing a pot and soil for a cactus
What to plant a cactus in is a serious question. The correct watering and the health of the roots depend on the choice of pot and soil for cacti. The size of the pot should correspond to the root system of the cactus, avoid the most common mistake in growing cacti - too spacious pots. It is especially important to transplant a cactus bought in a store: you need to inspect the roots, remove diseased, rotten or overdried ones, check for a root worm, prepare well-drained soil.
The best time for transplanting cacti is late March, April, early May, i.e. when plants are just starting to grow. But if the cacti are growing very vigorously, during the summer you can do the transfer to a larger pot. Choose the right size for the cactus pot: the old pot should fit freely into the new one, leaving 5 mm between the walls for a small plant and up to 1 cm for a large one. If rotten or dead roots are found during transplantation, they must be carefully removed with nail scissors, the root system will decrease and the pot in this case must be taken a little smaller than the old one or planted in the same pot, but add drainage.
All cacti prefer watering with chlorine-free water, the water should not contain any impurities or salts (for example, fluorine or heavy metals). Ideally, you need to use rainwater or thawed water, but to get it, you need to have a fair amount of patience, so for watering cacti, you can use water that has been separated for at least a day, boiled or filtered using household water filters.
Fertilizers for cacti
There are many different points of view regarding feeding cacti with fertilizers. This is a rather controversial issue and, as a rule, it is based on someone's experience. Since cacti are very peculiar plants, fertilizers are special for them. They differ in that they contain two to three times less active elements than fertilizers for indoor flowers. In cacti, the need for nitrogen is extremely limited due to some physiological characteristics, so they are almost never fed with organic matter.
Cactus lighting and fresh air
Unlike other indoor plants, cacti never have a lot of light. True, some cacti require direct sunlight, while others require bright, intense, but diffused light. The main problem with home cacti is the acute lack of light in winter. Despite the fact that they often hibernate in cool and dry conditions, the lighting of cacti in winter should be very good. And you can understand whether there is enough light for a cactus by its crown - the growing part of the stem should not be thinner and lighter than the bottom (last year's growth). A cactus that lacks light becomes like a baby pacifier.
Cacti in winter
All cacti come from places where there are serious daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations: the difference can be from 5 to 15 ° C. Therefore, our task, so that the cactus does not lose its beauty and bloom at home, is to provide it with fresh air and a winter period of rest in the cool or even in the cold, with a reduction or termination of watering. With a dormant period, the cactus stops growing and from that time on, summer growth ripens, buds of future flowers are laid. Proper wintering, in conditions suitable for a particular type of cactus, allows you to keep its shape correct, prevent unwanted growth, and avoid deformation of a new growth.
Vegetative propagation of cacti
Cacti can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, babies and grafts. You need to cut the cuttings only in the spring, at other times of the year this can be done only if the plant dies and at least something needs to be saved. If cuttings are cut in the fall or winter, the mother plant may be damaged. Growing cacti from babies is the most affordable and fastest way: you just need to break off a cactus crumb from the mother plant, put it in a shaded place for one day so that the place of scrapping dries up. Pick up a small pot (5-6 cm is enough) and on the second day just put the baby on the surface of the ground.
Cacti from seeds
This is the most troublesome and fun way. It is from the seeds that the strongest and most beautiful specimens of cacti are obtained. Cactus seeds can be purchased at the store, or you can get it yourself if you already have flowering cacti of the same type. To carry out pollination, you need to have two cacti that are not related to each other, i.e. those that were themselves grown from cuttings of different plants or from seeds of different plants. The flowers from where the pollen will come from should be fully blooming, and the pollen should be easily separated so that it can be collected on a cotton ball or brush (you can use a feather from a pillow).
Growing cacti from seeds
Every novice sower inevitably has a bunch of questions, big and small, about all sowing stages. Over the years of existence of the forum and the site, we have formed a team of lovers of growing cacti from seeds who have accumulated sufficient experience in this "art" and answer these questions. These are Pola, Stivi, Severina, Anyuta, irina-bahus. I will try to systematize these answers a little in order to show that each sower chooses the most convenient mode for himself, and our seedlings grow under quite different conditions, but not beyond the generally accepted standards for growing cacti from seeds.
Diseases of cacti
Cacti are hardy plants, they grow under the scorching sun, are not afraid of wind and night coolness. But one single extra watering can put an end to his health. We do not immediately notice how root rot begins, when spots appear, yellowing and shrinking of the stem, and an unpleasant odor. Most of the diseases of domestic cacti are the consequences of mistakes in care: the pot was dropped, frozen in winter, the cactus was overcooked in the sun, flooded, forgot to sterilize the soil. Bacteria and pathogenic fungi can easily penetrate root and stem damage and cause severe symptoms.
Ticks are the most common pests of cacti. They are microscopic in size, although if you look closely, you can see tiny red dots sitting or moving rapidly along the cactus stem. As a result of being hit by a red tick, spots appear on the stem of a cactus as if covered with a rusty bloom …
Hygienic procedures include regular spraying of cacti with a very fine spray bottle, disinfection of planting containers, tools for transplanting, grafting, picking, etc. Disinfection of soil and sand for transplanting. Alcohol is used to disinfect the instrument; in the absence of it, it can be replaced by simple scalding of boiling water. Pots and bowls are washed and also poured over with boiling water. The soil and sand are fried in the oven, or spilled with a solution of potassium permanganate.
Myths about cacti
I will try to dispel some stereotypes about cacti:
1. Cacti need to be watered once a month.
Nothing like this. Of course, cacti are drought-resistant, but you don't need to mock them like that! During the growing season, cacti must be watered in the same way as other indoor plants, making sure that the water does not stagnate in the pan.
If you want to have a cactus
I am often asked questions what is wrong with a cactus, why it does not grow, is sick, does not bloom, etc. And often in photographs I see half-dead plants, tortured by improper care. And I'm angry because I really love cacti. So a lover of violets would be angry if he heard that you poured your violet directly into the outlet, while it was standing in the direct sun, and now you are worried about its condition.
Cacti. Brief requirements for soil, temperature, lighting
The article contains reference characteristics on the requirements of certain types of cacti for temperature, illumination, soil composition, etc. There are characteristics of the root system and the origin of each genus and plant species.
General information for everyone: do not water in winter, keep at a temperature of 7 … 10 degrees Celsius. A reference table is given, where the so-called white mammillaria (with a large number of white spines or pubescence, such where the stem is practically invisible) are highlighted. For them, even if not specified, maximum illumination, adding lime (crushed eggshell) to the substrate and watering only from below to maintain pubescence. Lighting, if not specified, light shade (shade during hottest hours).
The ideal conditions for the cultivation of coastal pereskievy species are cold wintering in the range of 7-10 ° C. With light moisturizing every 1-1.5 months. Cacti lose some of their leaves during dormancy …
The Pereskians, native to the coastal regions, are very adaptable to milder conditions. They can survive the winter at 15 ° C with sparse watering and without loss of leaves. And tropical ones are the most demanding of all.
Detailed description of the species of peresky. The main differences are in the type of distribution, description of thorns, trunk and leaves …
Pereskia sacharosa grows as a bush, the bark on the stem is brown, the areoles are light pubescent, the spines are dark brown, thin, 5-6 on the areola, long (up to 5 cm), and the flowers are large dark pink, up to 12 cm in diameter. But Pereskia aculeata is a liana, it has white or pink very fragrant flowers. In one inflorescence up to 70 flowers.
Rescue of cargoes
Echinocactus Gruzon enjoys special attention among flower growers: it is he who is saved most often. But if you carefully read all the messages on this topic, one more thing will become clear: the grub is probably one of the most persistent and patient cacti! And it is ruined only by the grossest mistakes of leaving, above all by the malicious bay. The most common reason for a bay is to transplant a purchased cactus and water it generously afterwards.
According to the materials of the forum for 2005-2008, after the gulf of Gruzon's echinocactus, the most common cause of cactus disease is fungal infection. These diseases are slow and unnoticeable. Unfortunately, when the fungus can be identified, there is little to help the cactus. The spread of a fungal infection is facilitated, as a rule, by mechanical damage and high air humidity in combination with low temperatures.
Cacti Frequently Asked Questions
Various questions about growing cacti from novice cactusists.