Monday, March 25, 2013

A Watched Cactus Never Grows

     So I had neglected my cactus for about a week (terrible, I know); things had gotten busy and they skipped my mind. So I went to check up on them, expecting the worst, but was pleasantly surprised to see some health rapidly growing grafts. The pereskiopsis were growing rapidly as well, twisting and contorting as they continued to grow, even as they pushed up against the tops of their growing compartments. I noticed that the soil, almost across the board, was dry...To dry, under normal circumstances. The plants all seemed quite content and healthy though. I would have expected some minor wilting had I known what the condition of the soil had been, but the foliage all seemed very health and vibrant. Here are pictures of some grafts that I was especially happy with:

Astrophytum Myriostigma

Turbinicarpus Jauernigii

L-Trichocereus Bridgesii, R-" Pachanoi

     Just for the record, I DO NOT recommend letting your cacti dry out completely between waterings; the root structure of cacti is such that excessively long dry periods can cause root death, and can open the door for rot upon rewatering. If you are cultivating mainly peresiopsis like I am (or other jungle-type or epiphytic cacti), you are a bit better off, as these cacti, in my experience, tend to be more resilient to stresses such as these. Once again, this is why grafting with pereskiopsis can be such a boon to the cactus enthusiast and collector; as many of the pitfalls associated with the cultivation of collectible and/or ornamental cacti are related to soil, root rot, watering, etc., these are not of such major concern when pereskiopsis serves as your rootstock.

     It is amazing how the pereskiopsis just keep on growing and growing, as the pictures below clearly show. It is amazing as well, that they grow at this rate (grafts as well) with very modest growing conditions, in terms of light and soil.

Those are some twisted sisters! I almost feel bad for them :)

     I think it is about time I touch on fertilization. First off, I fertilize every time I water; this may sound excessive, but I use a rather dilute nutrient solution. My nutrient solution is mixed fresh every time I water, and consists of half strength Cactus Juice and quarter strength Miracle-Gro All Purpose. As you can see this isn't very strong at all, and I have noticed no adverse affects from these treatments, only healthy growth. As stated before, I now am a die-hard top-waterer. I used to ONLY bottom-water, but as the collection grew, it just became too time consuming to water all of the trays in this fashion. Also, I try to always spray the foliage gently with pure water (especially the grafts) to prevent (even if unlikely) any burning. That is about all for today. Stay tuned, as things warm up here in the frigid Northwest I hope to get some outdoor experiments going. Thanks for reading, and happy growing.

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