Things To Do To Grow A Cactus
This typical vegetation comprising of different oval, round, hexagonal and allied structures characterized with thorns are basically desert plants. The absence of leaves and convectional root system is for its adaptability in the desert. The lack of leaves restrict the loss of moisture.
Growing cactus is also a fascinating idea for your garden. It is a very hardy plant that requires minimal maintenance. Thus you are saved from the fuss of growing foliage to a great extent if you plan of growing cactus. They are most happy when grown in open lawn which receives plentiful sunlight. Moreover, the aesthetic look of a cactus plant is also quite appreciable. Let us discuss how we will grow our own cactus plant.
Ground study before growing a cactus
Your first hand knowledge is the most essential before starting any new project. The same thing is applicable here also, when you think of growing your own cactus. Thus, proceed step by step, following the given guidelines.
Choosing the plant
Once you decide to grow cactus have a thorough investigation of the soil, climate, temperature and other basic requirements of the species you intend to plant. It might be the case too that you take home a cactus that cannot stand extreme cold and is suitable for a hot desert and it finally dies, because it fails to adapt to the cold climate of your place. This is never desirable.
Requirement of light
If you plan to grow an outdoor cactus, consider one of the crucial factors like availability of direct sunlight. Place it in a spot where it receives at least six hours of standing sunlight. While you intend to grow an indoor cactus, the same rule applies. Place your plant next to the window from where it will receive a good deal of sunlight.
One crucial thing is that the light requirement of various species is variable. Hence, a prior survey on the type of species to be select in accordance to the light that your ambiance can offer is also very essential for your plant to show your desired results. The ones that can survive in the artificial lighting of your room, also requires a specific intensity of light. Find that out from the nursery you bought you cactus from.
Need for a proper drainage
Availability of good drainage system is another very important factor. It has to be ensured that the spot selected of the container chosen have a proper drainage facility so that excess water flows away and there is no water clogging.
During the growing season, that is, summers or the fall and the spring the soil is to be kept slightly damp to facilitate the growth process. Winter is the dormant period for cactus. Minimize your watering during this phase to once a month. But in general, the water requirement for an indoor variety will be lower than an outdoor variety in absence of direct all day sun that the latter experiences.
The soil chemistry is also vital. Get hold of information that guide you on the rock, mineral, salt, sand and other components in the soil and their approximate ratio. These information will help you arrange for the needed nutrients and other components that will be required while you prepare the soil.
Temperature and climatic factors
Cactus prefers a dry climate with low humidity and high temperature. In extremes of temperatures like 60 to 80ºF you might see beautiful and colorful blooms in some of these. So if you think that there conditions are some that you cannot provide, then do not go for growing a cactus, as frankly, your plant will die otherwise.
After you have gathered substantial information about cactuses, the special variety you are having and its requirements, you will have to proceed with the planting and growing part.
How to grow
The first step towards growing a cactus plan is soil preparation. Be it in your garden, in an open space, the soil has to be prepared by mixing proportionate quantities of sand, perlite and gravel so that the medium is ideal for good drainage system.
Next important thing is selecting the accurate container in case you are growing an indoor variety. The pot must be made of clay or something that allows circulation of air and evaporation of excess water. It should also have enough space to conceal the roots inside the potting mixture. In case when the cactus grows repotting may be necessary.
This stage along with the re potting one is very crucial. Take special care to ensure that the roots are not damaged in the process. Ideal time for planting a container cactus is June to August.
In case you are planting it on the ground, select the fall season, when the soil is relatively less hot and the sun is less strong, preferably March to Early April.
Water the plant a week after the potting. Next watering is only to be done when the soil is dry enough. Remember to water it thoroughly every time you water your plant and restrict frequent watering totally.
Manuring and fertilising
Feeding the cactus is important with the appropriate fertilizer that is nothing special but the food that you give to all your other plants. Best way is to manure the cactus twice a year during the growing season. This is the season when the plant, like any other plants, requires an additional dose of nutrients and boosters from outside to be able to grow and propagate.
Cactus is also susceptible to pests and insects like white cottony growth and mites. Insect and pests attack is the most in almost every plant when there is a distinct difference between the day and night temperature. This is mostly observed during the approaching summers. Hence, ensure that you spray pest controlling medicine at least once a month.
Photo Credit- Gardenersworld.com