Cacti occupy a special place among indoor plants. Sympathy for them is understandable - this is facilitated by both an unusual appearance and the absence of difficulties in leaving. If you follow some recommendations, growing cacti will be a pleasure and turn into a pleasant hobby.
Choosing a pot and soil
The first thing to take care of is choosing a container for a cactus. It is believed that a flower pot in this case can easily replace any tableware or even a vase. Some designers form entire groups for home furnishings, placing undersized cacti in cups, sugar bowls and tea jars. It may look nice, but not always practical. In our case, there are two basic requirements for the pot, such as:
- the presence of drainage holes to maintain ventilation and outflow of water;
- a suitable volume, commensurate with the root system - before purchasing a cactus, you need to find out all the available information about it; not for everyone, the pot should be small - in some of them the roots grow quite deeply, and too wide a container will contribute to excess moisture accumulation.
In terms of material, the most practical are plastic. They are lightweight, do not change under the influence of the environment and have a large selection in shape, color and decor. In stores you can find ceramic and clay - their advantage lies in naturalness. Porous materials are more breathable. However, they are less responsive to temperature changes. On a window at low temperatures in a clay pot, the roots can freeze. Plastic retains heat better.
It is also important to fill the pot correctly. Its lower part should be occupied by a drainage layer. It can be expanded clay purchased in a store or other improvised means - small pebbles or pieces of foam. The soil is poured next. You can buy ready-made, the composition of which is suitable for cacti, or cook it yourself.
For most of them, nutritional value does not matter, the main thing is that the soil is loose and not compressed into a lump.
To prepare the soil, take one part of leaf and turf soils, then add the same amount of sand and a quarter of peat. For better drainage, you can also mix in a little foam or very fine gravel. To increase the nutrient content of the soil for individual varieties, it is necessary to add humus. The sand and drainage material must be washed in a weak solution of potassium permanganate and dried thoroughly. Containers are also processed, especially if they have already been used for planting domestic plants.
Suitable place for a plant
When studying the information about your purchase, pay attention to the environment in which it grows in nature. In our opinion, all cacti grow in the desert, so at home we try to create similar conditions. Such a climate would be unacceptable for those species that grow in the forest and are used to shade and moisture. Therefore, for someone a window sill is suitable, and for someone - a chest of drawers or a shelf.
The main thing is that they are in the light, not in the shade.
Conditions for all cacti should be slightly different during summer and winter. In the first case, you need moderate but constant air humidification, timely watering and sufficient lighting. In the second, the air temperature should be much lower, as well as soil moisture. The main thing in both cases is to beware of overheating and sunburn. If the cactus is on the windowsill, protection is needed equally from both heating appliances and aggressive sunlight.
In summer, cacti can be safely placed on the glazed balcony. In this case, they do not need to be brought indoors at night, since in the same desert it is quite cool at night. For them, ventilation is important so that the air does not stagnate. But this process must be organized without drafts . It is better to get used to bright light and other air temperatures gradually.
Cacti do not like permutations - you can put marks on the pots so as not inadvertently to put them on the other side to the light.
Most often, the placement of cacti is associated with various rumors and omens. For example, in feng shui, the southeastern part of the room is best suited for them. It is believed that placing on a windowsill repels negative energy from the street and protects against thieves. And placement next to electrical appliances reduces the effect of negative radiation. There is no scientific evidence for these superstitions.
Therefore, when placing a pot with a plant, first of all, you need to think about its comfort - in bad conditions, development will be slow, and frequent movements can affect a change in appearance.
When is the best time to plant?
There are no clear seasonal boundaries for planting cacti. You can plant a young plant even in winter. However, its growth will be slower. In addition, during this period, you need to be especially careful about hydration, or rather, do it as rarely as possible. The best time to plant a young plant is early spring. At this time of the year there are all conditions for intensive growth. Sometimes it is important for flower growers that the cactus is in perfect shape.
If in due time it does not receive the required amount of heat, light and moisture, the shape will be slightly different. But the excess of all this can lead to death.
Sowing cactus seeds, according to experienced cactus lovers, is best done in February, and sometimes earlier. It will take time for seedlings to appear - from several days to two months. In addition, when planting seeds, they create greenhouse conditions - they cover the container with glass or film, which protects them from cold and dry air. Thus, their picking occurs already in the spring, when daylight hours increase sufficiently and gives them all the opportunities for development.
Another thing is the transplantation of an already adult cactus. Spring and summer periods in this case are not suitable precisely because of the possibility of the appearance of buds. Flowers in this case can not wait.
In the period after flowering, the cactus is most vulnerable, it needs some period of recovery.
Cacti reproduce in three ways.
Planting by children is the most common because of its simplicity. To do this, you must adhere to certain actions.
- Separate the baby (lateral process). Some of them may disappear over time. If this does not happen, you will have to separate it with a knife. This must be done with care so that no extraneous pieces remain on the adult cactus or child, which can subsequently rot.
- If there are no roots on the children, they need to be grown. First, the baby is laid aside for several days so that the cut dries up. Then wet sand or water is poured into a narrow bowl, and the baby is set so that there is no direct contact with moisture. Dipping babies directly into the water is risky because they can rot.
- A baby with roots can be planted in a pot. To begin with, it should not be large - only a few centimeters larger than the diameter of the baby. For planting, take a pot with a prepared soil mixture, as described above. Then a small depression is made in the center, into which the roots of the cactus sink to the border of its neck. The soil around should be slightly compacted.
- To keep the cactus smoother, and its neck is not in the ground, it is necessary to pour a little drainage stones on top , for example, expanded clay.
Planting cuttings is a bit like the previous method. For the cutting, you can take the top of the cactus. It should not be too short, because the substances accumulated in it should be enough for growth. In this way, a broken plant can be reanimated. The procedure in this case will be as follows:
- after separating the top, the cut on the cactus can be left as is or powdered with crushed coal;
- the cut must be slightly trimmed in the form of a cone; it must air dry, which can take up to 10 days;
- then you need to do with him as with children who do not have roots - fix it in an upright position over wet soil or water;
- after the appearance of the roots, we proceed to planting.
Growing cacti from seeds is the hardest part. Even professionals have a certain percentage of losses. For amateurs, it will be very high. However, over time, you can take into account your previous experience and delve into the intricacies of this matter in more detail. To germinate seeds, follow these steps:
- process the seeds with potassium permanganate; the earth must be disinfected with steam or boiling water;
- soil is poured into a shallow but spacious container with numerous holes at the bottom, then seeds are laid on top in rows;
- so that the seeds do not shift, watering should only be from the bottom;
- the entire structure must be covered with any transparent material (film, plastic or glass).
After germination, be sure to remove the remnants of the seeds. And the first stage of the pick begins. They must be carefully moved to another container with the correct soil and good drainage. It works like this:
- any handy tool should draw a symbolic groove in the ground;
- with a minimum deepening in them, sprouted cacti should be planted - for this it is better to use tweezers.
Seedlings grown from seeds with their own hands are transplanted at least 3-4 times in the first year . Moreover, subsequently it will no longer be one common container, but separate pots. The procedure is pretty simple - just like in the first pick. The seedling is captured with a small amount of soil and transferred to new, previously prepared soil. The soil around the seedling needs to be slightly fixed.
Transplanting a purchased or already grown cactus is slightly different. Usually this procedure is carried out every 2-3 years. More often it is not worth it, even if the plant has rather developed roots that have already begun to crawl out through the drainage hole. Prepare the soil and pot in advance. The container should be filled with drainage and soil by about a third. This process looks like this:
- first you need to take care of your own safety and protect yourself from thorns; you can use special tongs, gloves, wrap it with a cloth or foam sponges;
- then carefully remove the cactus along with the lump, try to remove the excess of the old earth without damaging the roots;
- place the cactus in a new pot in the center and fill in the missing soil; instead of drainage stones, the top of the pot can be covered with decorative colored ones, because they also do their job well.
In addition to the planned transplant, there are emergencies, for example, when a cactus has started to rot. In this case, success depends on the area of the lesion. Often a cactus can be saved. If the tip begins to rot, it can be cut off and used to plant another cactus. If the bottom and roots have suffered, the remaining top is treated like a cuttings and transplanted into disinfected soil.
One of the top priorities for beginners is the issue of watering. Cacti from arid or tropical climates need different amounts of moisture. Watering should be postponed for several days immediately after transplanting. Further care depends on the time of year. In spring and autumn, the soil is moistened as it dries up, with a frequency of 5-6 times a month. Watering should be moderate - if water has accumulated in the pan, it is better to pour it out. With a decrease in daylight hours and the onset of cold weather, this should be done less often. In winter, once a month is enough.
The water must be clean and free of chlorine . Hard water will also not work. In winter, you can use thawed, and in summer, rain . In any case, the water must be boiled and cooled to room temperature. For watering, you need a watering can with a long narrow spout or a bottle with a straw glued into the lid. This is necessary so that the water falls directly into the soil, and not on the trunk of the cactus.
Although for moisture-loving varieties in the summer, spraying from a spray bottle that simulates dew is recommended, or use a humidifier.
You can see how to grow a cactus from seeds in the video below.