Friday, June 28, 2013

Cactus Legacy

I have not been fond of rearing cactus. I haven't bought any in the past, although I confess i love watching them in garden shows and in others' gardens. They don't flower here as often as they do in temperate dry climates. Maybe that's the reason i don't get them. When I transferred to the 5th Floor condo unit, I lack the space for a garden, but they say "when you're a gardener, you're always a gardener". I am glad my unit is not in front of the clubhouse, where it might be an eyesore to have some pots and plants near the wall.

I have this tall but narrow window, where i don't cover the whole day to let sunshine in. Inside the room i put some ledges and the plants converge for the light they most wanted. This depravity of space prompted me to buy three cactus from the February garden show. One of them is shown here. I forgot where i put its label so I've never known it by its name!

This is how it looked like when i got it, roundish, healthy, with some plantlets starting to grow at the bottom. It is about 2.5 inches in diameter.

I can say it is beautifully symmetrical. I watered it every other day or when the top soil is already dry. I try to give it the attention it needs, they are not neglected because i don't have many in my care at this very limited space, and i am not also busy these days.

 After a few months i noticed that growth deviated from its original manner. The central apex lengthened leaving the periphery. Obviously, there was anomaly in its growth. Moreover, the plantlets are growing profusely now. But none of them grows like buttons resembling the original shape of the mother plant.

I took the young growths, let them cure the scar and then plant them in another container.  Suddenly, i noticed that the mother plant is turning brown, eventually lifeless and actually already hollow or rotten inside. It just slumped at the middle leaving the plantlets. I salvaged these youngsters for another container. I am wondering whether i did something wrong, did i water wrongly or have i missed something i should have done? I am so sorry that my first cactus plant just died like that. I hope these plantlets will grow just like the circular mother plant, and i wish many will live longer this time in my care. Perhaps, it died faster because i am not calling it by its own name!


13 comments:

  1. such an interesting shape of your cactus. Love it. :)

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  2. Hi Andrea, I am wondering if you overwatered your cactus. They are a desert plant so probably once a week is plenty. Good luck with the baby cactus!

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    1. Yes Beth, i guess i over watered it, the price for not having much plants to care for! haha.

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  3. i think you should change the soil! i think you should use pure sand and small rock (perlite).
    i have a friend. He is good at growing cactus, he plant them in normal soil and they are growing so well. I think the wrong work you did is choosing wrong cactus species. try another species that fit with you!
    when i was a kid, i love growing cactus. Now, my family have a dragon fruit farm.

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  4. What a lovely Barrel Cactus you bought. It's a shame you lost the parent. It does sound like a case of over-watering. They really only need minimal watering, perhaps once a week during the hottest months when it's their growing season. I think planting them in sand with some perlite might be the way to go too.

    Remember these are native to very arid areas, and don't like a lot of humidity or standing in water. The water needs to drain out completely and if they're left sitting in a tray of water they can be prone to root rot.

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  5. Hi Andrea, It looks like you pampered the cactus with too much watering and it drowned! I like the way you described the stages of deterioration - very much like a morbidity and mortality study.

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  6. simply beautiful shots...lovely!

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  7. That's an interesting cactus, good luck with it!

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  8. Cactus are fussy and many die as they grow new growth,,,I have a native one I have ben trying to grow for several years and seems to now be doing fine...hoping the little ones grow for you.

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  9. I too think that this looks like a golden barrel cactus. The only cactus that has survived in my care is the hydroponic one :)

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  10. Hoping those little ones thrive for you as they thrive on neglect. I work with cacti commercially and we only water once a week and give them a fine mist as in the wild in desert regions they are used to having morning dew on them. At least you've now got lots of little ones to nuture :)

    Rosie
    http://www.leavesnbloom.com/2013/07/blue-meconopsis-poppies-branklyn-garden.html

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  11. Good to find myself here again, Andrea, though I'm sorry about your cactus. I used to have a mini-collection when I was growing up ... some flowered, some flourished and others never seemed to do much. But I have never seen one like yours before!

    It has been an extraordinary year here so far for its lack of Ladybirds. I think I can count a total on one hand for the whole season, the number I was probably seeing most days last year at this time. Everything is late due to a long cold winter, but numbers for butterflies and dragonflies are finally mounting.

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    1. Thanks for coming back Caroline, i've been busy for a few weeks and haven't been diligent with my postings and commenting. This is my first attempt with cactus, and i guess it is not advisable for those like me who don't have many plants to care for, because you tend to overwater for nothing else to do. Cactus don't flower much here, maybe they need cold for induction.

      I seldom go home to the province these past few weeks, and last weekend i did, looked for ladybirds but can't find any. They have a lot of food there but i wonder what are preying on them, as they were lost too. Same here, butterflies are mounting too. Best regards.

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