Home cactus is unpretentious and hardy, but if you want to see your “spines” in the best shape, create conditions for caring for cacti that are close to nature. Since we are talking about some of the most light-loving plants, you need to know that cacti at home often lack lighting, so the best place for them is the southern windowsill. In summer, they feel good in the fresh air – on a lighted balcony, terrace, and just in the garden, but in winter they do not need light, so cacti that have entered the dormant period can be moved to the shade. If they spend the winter in the same room as the summer, provide them with good lighting. Lack of light can cause the plants to stretch painfully, and the top of the cactus will turn pale green. Since cacti are hardy plants, they practically do not react to sudden temperature changes and normally tolerate coolness, although they are heat-loving plants. In spring and summer, indoor cactus feels good in the usual temperature conditions for apartments and gardens, and in winter the optimal temperature for it is from 6 to 14 ° C, provided that the room will not be draughty and air-drying heating devices with regular ventilation.
How often do you water a cactus?
The frequency of watering and the amount of water consumed per plant depends on its type, time of year, indoor temperature, and light. Water the cactus sparingly, as the drying of the soil. In cold and rainy weather, it is better not to water cacti, even if it is summer. In winter, soil moisture in pots with cacti is noticeably reduced, and in some cases stopped altogether. As soon as the cacti show signs of growth in the spring (the top will turn green and young spines (will appear), start to spray the plants abundantly with water at room temperature every day, and when active growth begins, they are moistened 2-3 times with lower watering, placing pots with cacti for a quarter of an hour in bowls with water at a temperature of 28 ° C. The exception is woolly or densely pubescent species – such baths are contraindicated for them. In spring and autumn, watering is carried out in the morning, and in the summer in the evening. Water for irrigation and spraying should be soft-boiled and settled. Once a month, you need to add citric or oxalic acid to the water – half a gram or one-tenth of a gram per liter of water, respectively. You can insist on the water for irrigation on peat for a day – 200 g of peat per three liters of water. Cacti with thick and powerful spines are good in the morning and evening to spray with hot water from a spray gun.
Cacti should be fed with great care, and with annual plant transplants, you can not feed them at all. Apply fertilizers in the form of solutions no more than once a week during the period of active growth in already moistened soil to avoid root burns. The most common fertilizer for cacti is a mixture consisting of potassium nitrate, single-substituted potassium phosphate, twenty percent superphosphate, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride. To prepare a nutrient solution, one gram of the mixture is dissolved in one liter of water.
Pots for cactus
Pots for cacti can be ceramic or plastic. The size of the pot is determined by the dimensions plants and container height must exceed the length of the root system of a cactus by 15-20 %, and the width of the pot in half. In other words, the dishes for the cactus should be narrow and deep enough – the cactus will feel more stable in it, and you will have to water the plant less often than when growing in a flat pot. In addition, for medium-sized and small cacti, plastic pots are preferable, because porous ceramics contribute to high water evaporation, alkalinization, and salinization of the substrate.
Soil for cactus
The substrate cacti need is loose, porous, water-and air-permeable, slightly acidic reaction-pH 6.0. you can buy ready-made soil for cacti in a flower shop, or you can make it yourself from equal parts of leafy earth, large and well-washed river sand, and turf with the addition of a small number of brick chips or charcoal. For old and columnar cacti, as well as for plants with a turnip root, low-fat clay is added to the soil. Epiphytic cacti need additives of humus earth or peat – up to 1/3 of the volume. In the ground for cacti with white spikes, it is advisable to add a little lime in the form of pieces of gypsum or old plaster. If you make up the soil incorrectly, the plant may well rot the roots. photo of dracaena sander how to transplant a cactus. Transplantation is carried out in the spring, at the very beginning of active growth. Put a drainage layer of fine expanded clay, brick chips, coarse river sand or old shards on the bottom of the pot with holes, fill the pot a third of the height with a sterile substrate, lower the plant roots into the pot and fill the container evenly with wet soil from all sides. To do this, it is better to use a teaspoon or a small rubber spatula. It is not necessary to compact the substrate too much, and the area with the root neck should be sprinkled with coarse-grained river sand. Do not water the cactus after transplanting for a week, until the injuries caused to the root system heal.
Care of cacti during flowering cactus Blooming largely depends on how well its wintering is organized: in the desert, mountain, and steppe species, young shoots ripen and flower buds form during this period. If the cactus remained on the southern windowsill in winter and its growth did not stop, it is unlikely that it will bloom in the next season.
When properly organized overwintering, the plant rests and accumulates strength, and it is likely that next year you will be lucky enough to see a cactus flower. Although it is fair to say that species such as noncactus, Melocactus, parody, Rhipsalis, Gymnocalycium and aporocactus can bloom even after wintering in a warm room. If your cactus has bloomed, do not move or rotate it in any case – the disturbed plant will drop all the flowers and buds. Direct sunlight during the flowering period of cacti is contraindicated, and you should protect the plant from them with a translucent cloth or paper. During the flowering period, it is necessary to ventilate the room daily, but even the slightest drafts should not be allowed. Fertilizing at this time is also not made, otherwise the plant will drop both flowers and buds, or they will transform into cactus babies. In the first bloom, the flowers are usually smaller, but every year they become larger, and their number may increase. Cactus blooming is not just a beautiful sight, it helps to establish that your plant belongs to a particular genus and species, which makes it much easier to care for. Cacti after flowering.
How do you take care of an indoor cactus?
After your cactus blooms, you need to reduce the water consumption when watering it to a minimum, and the frequency of moistening the substrate is reduced to once a month-literally so that the cacti do not shrink from dehydration. Feeding must be stopped completely. It is very important that the plant does not get hot air from heating devices, and it is even better to place the cactus on the windowsill, under which there is no radiator, or in an unheated room, where the temperature does not rise above 15 ° C and does not fall below 8-6 ° C. If you suddenly find that the cactus has started to wrinkle, do not increase watering, but just lightly spray the plant with warm water – just a little, otherwise at a low temperature it may rot the roots. The dormant period for cacti should last from November to March, which means that you need to reduce watering and stop feeding in October. An exception to the general rule for all cacti is the Schlumberger-it is watered once a week all winter. In early March, you need to help the cacti come out of hibernation. To do this, the plant is transferred to the southern windowsill, begin to spray, then gradually increase the water consumption, while reducing the intervals between watering. Resume and feeding of cactus.
Reproduction of cactus
Cacti From seeds propagate cacti seed and vegetative way, namely children or cuttings. Growing cacti from seeds have their own difficulties: you will need to pre-sterilize the seeds purchased in the store – they are soaked in a pale pink solution of potassium permanganate for half an hour. It is also necessary to sterilize the substrate-steam it or fry it in the oven at a temperature of 110-130 ° C. The wet substrate is poured into the container with a layer of about 0.4 inches, the prepared seeds are laid out on it, after which the crops are covered with a film or glass. The soil is kept slightly moist at all times, and the crops are ventilated twice a day. In order for the cactus seeds to germinate, it will take from several days to several months. When the first thorns appear in the seedlings, they are transplanted into a more nutritious substrate, and at the age of several months they begin to be cared for as adult plants, but they are protected from too sharp temperature changes and watered more often. It is better to sow seeds so that the seedlings appear in early spring. how to transplant and propagate Haworthia cactus reproduction by children it is Easier to propagate cacti vegetatively: many plants produce babies with rudiments of roots. Babies are easily separated and then laid on a moist substrate, in which their roots germinate, forming a root system over time. Choose a larger baby, separate it with a sterile tool, dry the cut area for 3-4 days, and root the stalk in a moist substrate.
Diseases and pests of cacti
Why does a cactus turn yellow?
This is the question readers ask most often. The reasons for this phenomenon may be a lack of nutrients in the substrate, a violation of the irrigation regime, or harmful activity of the spider mite. In the first case, you need to make the top dressing, in the second-adjust the frequency of watering and the rate of water consumption.
Why do cactus rot?
Most often, the cactus rots from excess moisture in the soil. Of course, you need to water it, but given that the succulent plant is better to forget to water it than to water it twice. With chronic waterlogging of the substrate, the cactus begins to rot. To save the plant from death, you need to remove it from the soil, cut off all rotten areas and roots, treat the sections with crushed coal, and transplant the cactus into a new sterile substrate. If your plant is not too damaged, it is possible that you will be able to resuscitate it.
Why doesn’t the cactus grow?
This problem can also have several causes: incorrectly composed substrate, tight pot, disease, sunburn, rejection of roots, or damage by pests. If you made the soil from the wrong components or did not maintain the right proportions, the soil may be too acidic or, conversely, too alkaline. The soil also deteriorates from watering with non-standing and non-boiled water with a high lime content. Monitor the quality and temperature of water for irrigation, make up the soil in accordance with the requirements of the culture, and if you do not know how to do this, use a purchased substrate specially prepared for cacti by specialists. Time to re-pot the cactus in a larger pot. To avoid sunburn, try to protect the plant from direct sunlight during the midday hours. And rotate the non-flowering cacti around the axis so that they are illuminated and warmed evenly. From a sharp temperature drop, severe hypothermia, or, conversely, overheating, the cactus can die off the roots, and the plant itself remains healthy and capable of rooting. The danger lies in the fact that you, not suspecting that the cactus has shed its roots, will continue to fully moisturize and feed it, and this can lead to the death of the plant – it will simply rot. Check the cactus as often as possible, and if you find that it has lost its roots, place it on top of a light but nutritious, almost dry soil, cover it with pebbles for stability, protect it from direct sunlight, and spray it with water for the first time in three days. Watering a cactus without roots is dangerous, it only needs to be sprayed from time to time until it takes root.
Pests of cactus
Pests of cacti damage powdery mildew root and stem insects. The rootworm is dangerous because it is invisible, but when examining the roots, you can find small insects that leave behind tiny white “cotton” lumps. More often than other cacti, Echinopsis suffer from rootworms. To get rid of pests, it is easiest to treat the plant by leaves and shed the soil in a pot with a solution of water, and after two weeks, re-process it. If you do not want to use chemicals, remove the plant from the soil, and wash the entire cactus along with the roots under a strong stream of water, then hold the plant for 10-15 minutes in water at a temperature of 50-60 ° C. Then the cactus is dried for several days and planted in decontaminated soil.