Caring For Spiny's Friends
- Cacti & Succulents
Remember: Cacti and Succulents,
even though they are tough, adaptable plants, they do not "thrive
on neglect". Rather, they "exist" with neglect, but "thrive" on
tender loving care.
Indoors give them as much bright light as you can or your sunniest
window. They will stretch and get weak and skinny trying to get
to more light if kept in a dark or shady location. Outdoors they
can burn if given too much direct hot sun all day, so try to provide
an area with filtered sun, or a place where they receive a few
hours of direct sun and then bright light the rest of the day.
:: WATERING ::
The main thing to remember is when you water, water well! Make
sure that the water is running through all of the soil and flushing
out the bottom of the pot. A well-watered pot will feel much heavier
than one that didn't get thoroughly saturated, and NEVER LET THE
PLANT SIT IN STANDING WATER FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. If you have
watered the pot well, you will know when it is time to water again
by just sticking your finger about an inch down into the soil.
If it's damp, it's fine. If it's dry, then it's time to water
again ------ and water well!
Regular household temperatures are great, but in the wintertime
be sure to keep them away from freezing temperatures next to a
window. They can handle 35°F to 40°F degrees just fine and will
be dormant (resting, not growing) at these temperatures. The same
goes for outdoors; if it is going to go below 35°F, bring them
inside to shelter. Freezing temperatures will turn most cacti
and succulents into goo!
There are plenty of major garden centers around that carry commercially
packaged cactusi and succulent mix for sale. If you need to make
your own, here's a good all purpose mix: for every one part of
a good potting soil or humus, add two parts of perlite or pumice
and one part washed builder's sand.
Cacti and succulents are not heavy feeders but do benefit from
light feeding during their growing period - usually the warmer
months of the year (March through October). Any all purpose balanced
liquid fertilizer is fine, something like a 20-20-20. Mix it to
half or even a quarter of the recommended strength on the label
and give it once a month. When in doubt it is always better to
not fertilize than to over do it.
Your Spiny's Friend will be perfectly happy in the original pot
for at least a year and doesn't really need to be moved. However
if it has been a year and it is getting too big for the pot, or
you just want to put it in a special or favorite pot, here's what
to do. First be sure to choose a pot that is only a size larger
than the original.
If your Spiny's Friends are in a 2.5" pot, the best next size
up would be a 3" or 3½" diameter. If they are in a 9cm pot, the
best next size up would be a 4½" or 5" diameter pot, and be sure
the pots have drain holes.
Gently tap the plant out of its pot and carefully loosen some
of the soil around the outside of the root ball. Put some soil
mix in the new pot and set the root ball on top of it. Fill in
around it with new soil lightly firming it in making sure that
the plant is sitting at the same soil level it was originally.
Do not water for a few days; this allows any roots that might
have been broken a chance to heal over - then water and let it
drain thoroughly. THAT'S IT!!!!!!!!!
As you can see there are
no mysterious secrets in caring for cacti and succulents - they're
not hard at all! It's easy to keep them healthy and happy for
a long time.
Try collecting all of
Spiny's Friends and keep the gang growing together. Like people,
plants really do benefit from the company of others around them!