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Cactus Garden

Cactus Garden


Easy to care for and easy to enjoy, cacti make great houseplants.


By FamilyTime

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With more than 2,000 known species of cacti available to the horticulturist, it is no surprise that some indoor gardeners tend a wide variety of these dessert plants, regardless of where they live.

Cacti are great houseplants because they require very little care. They like sunlight and good air circulation, and thrive in cool environments, such as sun porches and wide window sills. They need water but not nearly as much as other houseplants.

Water

You can go away without worrying about your cactus plants wilting away from lack of water. Over watering can be a problem, and the only time this is particularly true is during the winter, when you should cut back on the watering schedule.

As a rule, most cactus plants need watering about once a week for most of the year, but during the winter this can shrink to twice a month. A watchful eye will let you know when they need more water; the succulent tissue will shrivel a little and sink in on itself.

Propagation

Most enthusiasts buy cacti already potted and well developed. They can be propagated from seed, which takes a long time compared to other plants, or from cuttings.

If you decide to propagate from a cutting, allow the cutting to air dry until it develops a callus over the root end. Only then should you plant it in soil. Otherwise, the cutting will rot in the pot.

Soil

Potting soil for cacti is as forgiving as the plants themselves. Most cactus plants grow in alkaline dessert soil.

To insure the soil is sufficiently alkaline, mix potting soil with limestone and bone meal. The ratio is 1 tablespoon each of limestone and bone meal for every 2 quarts of soil mixture.

When you work with cactus plants, wear gloves. Regardless of how careful you are, a tiny needle or spine can irritate your skin, sometimes for several hours.

Many cacti bloom once a year — very often in the winter — and while the show is not lavish as with some other plants, it’s a rare treat and one that every cactus enthusiast savors.



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