Saturday, January 31, 2004

Cacti and succulent tips



Water: Over watering is the most common mistake people make with cacti and succulents. Plants need to dry out between waterings.

In winter, horticulturist Mark House lets the Krohn Conservatory's desert room cool down. He waters once a month. Beginning in March he gradually increases watering to every two weeks.

Spring and summer House waters once a week. He feeds once a month with a low-nitrogen content fertilizer. In fall he gradually decreases watering to once a month.

Growing mix: House uses organic matter mixed with sand and coarse gravel to promote drainage. Other cacti enthusiasts have various recipes calling for sand or vermiculite or perlite in soil-less potting mix. Good drainage is key.

Pot: Don't use too large of a pot. The plants need to be pot-bound. After repotting, don't water the plant for about one week.

Light: Cacti need plenty of light. A south-facing window is perfect. If you don't have a south window, an east or west window works - especially for plants that adapted from the desert to the jungle, such as night-blooming cereus.

Handling: Be careful when handling cacti. The sharp tips can go through a leather glove and penetrate your skin.

Some euphorbias have a milky white sap and could be toxic if consumed by a pet, House said.

Propagation: To propagate, cut a piece off the plant and set it aside for one to three weeks. Let the cut heal over and pot. Wait a week before watering.

Information: The Cactus and Succulent Society of America's Web site is www.cactus-society.org



TEMPO HEADLINES
Cacti create warm feelings
Cacti and succulent tips
Lite menu delights symphony audience
Super Bowl hikes interest
Tour visits Southern homes

HOME AND GARDEN
Inexpensive dining table easy to make
Before light kit therapy, check with doctor
Beware of recently reproduced posters
.
PEOPLE
Trump will tell us 'How to Get Rich'
Dionne Warwick cites 'injustice' against Jackson
He said/she said/who knows?
Birthdays

PLANNING AHEAD
Get to it
Circle this
In the know