Echinocactus: Home Care, Transplanting, Watering, Species

Florists have been growing cacti for a long time, with the most popular being Echinocactus. The fact is that this plant is undemanding to growing conditions, has a rather spectacular appearance and has medicinal properties. It is quite easy to take care of Echinocactus Gruzoni growing in room conditions, but you still need to know a few important rules, more about which will be described below.

Peculiarities of Echinocactus

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

Echinocactus is part of the Cactus family. Under natural conditions, it can be found in the southwestern United States and in the desert areas of Mexico.

There are many species of this plant, but the most popular among florists is Echinocactus Gruzoni, which is also the most common species in nature. This perennial is characterized by slow growth, and locals call it "hedgehog cactus". The fact is that the needles and shape of this plant are very similar to this animal. This type of echinocactus was named after the German cactus collector and inventor Hermann Gruzoni.

In natural conditions this cactus can reach a very large size.

And echinocactus Gruzoni in nature can be gigantic: it can grow to about 100 centimeters in width and up to 150 centimeters in height. It is a long-lived plant that can grow for an average of 200 to 500 years. While the bush is young, it has a spherical shape, which over the years changes to barrel-shaped. That is why such a plant is also called a "golden barrel". Over the years, the appearance of such a cactus undergoes significant changes.

When the bush is 3 or 4 years old, its small tubercles turn into sharp ribs, which are covered with sharp and strong prickles. The top part of the bush gradually grows, first with a "downy bump" which is in fact not coarsened prickles.

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

The stem of Groosoni Echinocactus is ball-shaped and covered by vertically arranged, sharp ribs, which can number between 35-45. The shiny stem is colored green. The needles grow in bunches from areoles, which are located on the ribs of the plant.

Each areole has 1-4 central spines and about 10 radial needles. Their length may vary from 30 to 50 mm, with radial needles shorter than the central ones. The growing upper part is adorned with a spectacular "cap" composed of young prickles, similar in appearance to the down. The needles can be colored in different shades from pale yellow to white. Please note that Echinocactus Guzoni with green, red or deep yellow needles does not exist.

These cacti are grown specifically for sale with dyes. After a while they take their natural color. However, if harmful dyes were used to grow such a shrub, it may become ill and die.

In room conditions, such a plant can reach 0.4 m across and 0.

4 to 0.6 m in height. However, the cactus will reach this size only after several decades. Echinocactus blooms very spectacularly, but its first flowers do not appear until it is 20 years old. Flowering is observed in May-June.

First, a bud on a long stalk is formed at the top of the bush, and a yellow flower opens from it. There is pubescence on the outer surface of the funnel-shaped tube. The glossy petals are quite thin, closer to the edge their coloring becomes darker with a brownish tint. The corolla is about 50 mm across and up to 70 mm long.

Echinocactus Gruzoni / Cactus care

Home care of Echinocactus Gruzoni

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

How to care for the room Echinocactus Gruzoni will be explained below.

For this plant to be as spectacular as possible, you will need to follow the simplest rules for growing it.

Brightness

Since this plant is native to the desert terrain of Mexico, it is considered a light-loving plant. It needs large amounts of bright light in its room conditions. Because of this, it is recommended to choose a south-facing window for this cactus. He is not afraid even of direct rays of the sun.

In the summertime, the bush can be taken out into the garden, on a balcony or under direct sunlight. In order not to bend the stem, it should be regularly turned relative to the source of light. If the light is too sparse, the needles will begin to fall off, and new ones will grow very thin. During the cold season, such a plant should be provided with additional artificial light. Specialists recommend using not simple bulbs, but phytolamps for this purpose.

Temperature regime

The best echinocactus grows at a temperature of about 25 degrees. If the room gets very hot (above 30 degrees), then the bush will experience a stoppage of growth. During the winter, this cactus has a dormant period, during which it should be kept cool around (12 degrees). However, make sure that the room in which the plant is located is not colder than 10 degrees. This can cause the cactus to freeze, resulting in brownish spots on the surface of the stem.

This can lead to the death of the cactus.

Watering

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

The frequency and abundance of watering is affected by room temperature and time of year. In spring and summer, only moisten the potting soil after it has completely dried out. To do this, use well-tempered water, which should be close to room temperature. If the bush is in a cool place during the winter, then you do not need to water it at all.

However, if it overwinters in a warm place, water once every 30 days with lukewarm water.

Wetting Echinocactus from a sprayer is not necessary. To remove dust from its surface, in the summer time it can be given a warm shower and a clean paintbrush can be used for convenience. Remember that if the cactus is watered very abundantly or often, rotting can occur on the root system.

Substrate

This plant, like all other cacti, grows and develops well only in a substrate that is neutral and air permeable.

If you want ready-made soil mixture for cacti can be bought in specialized stores, and in it must be necessarily poured a small amount of brick crumbs or small gravel. In order to prevent rotting of the root system in the soil mixture add crushed charcoal. If you have the opportunity, then prepare a dirt mixture with their own hands. To do this is very simple, it only needs to combine a fine gravel (crushed bricks), coarse river sand, leaf and sod soil (1:2:2:4). Put a little charcoal that had been crushed beforehand into the soil mixture.

Suitable pot

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

For Grusoni Echinocactus to grow normally, it should have a proper flower pot. In cross-section, the container should be slightly larger than the diameter of the stem. Also, it should not be very tall and fairly stable. The system of roots in the echinocactus surface, and it is not very strongly developed. It is best for this plant fit containers made of plastic, you can also use pots made of ceramics, but their surface should be covered with glaze.

If the ceramic pot is unglazed, it will have moisture evaporating through the walls, which causes the cooling of the root system. Remember that echinocacti react very negatively to overcooling of the roots.

The size of the root system is used to determine the height of the planting container. Do not forget to add 20 mm to the height of the pot, which you will need for backfilling of the plant's root neck. Also note that once the bush is in the pot its roots should not bend upwards.

Cactus soil - plant your prickly cacti correctly!

Potting and transplanting

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

For sprouts and young bushes the substrate needs to be sterilized before planting by putting in the oven for at least 30 minutes. While the cactus is young, it is transplanted regularly once a year, do it in February before the beginning of active growth. As the cactus gets older, this procedure is done less and less frequently.

Before transplanting the shrub, be sure to protect your hands from the sharp needles by using a thick towel or loops of wire. Wrap the stem around them, pull the bush out of the old container and transplant it into a new pot.

At the bottom of the new container make a drainage layer thickness of 10-20 mm, for this use expanded clay. Do not forget to cover it with a thin layer of potting soil. Place the shrub in the container so that its roots reach to the bottom, but are not bent upwards. If you are transplanting an adult cactus, be sure to keep the clump of soil on the roots intact. Carefully fill all the voids in the pot with fresh substrate, and it needs to be tamped down a bit.

The root neck should be covered with a layer of sand. The transplanted bush is watered with a small amount of water.

Propagation

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

To propagate Echinocactus Gruzoni, a seed method is used most often. Seeds can be bought at a specialized store. Their germination rate is quite high, but only if you subject them to pre-sowing preparation.

Soak the seeds for 2 hours in water, the temperature of which should be 40-50 degrees. The planting pot should be filled with river sand, which is previously disinfected by placing it in a heated oven for 30 minutes and cooled. Take a small container and fill its bottom with a thin layer of expanded clay. Then fill it with sand. Sowing is carried out in mid-spring, and the seeds are distributed on the surface of the sand, without covering the top with substrate and not deepening.

The seeds should be covered with glass (film), and then they are placed in a well-lit warm place. Do not forget to remove the cover from the container daily for a while to air it out, as well as to moisten the soil mixture in the container with a sprayer in a timely manner. Growing seedlings should be unpacked into individual cups filled with sand. The seedlings will need several transplants: before the first prickles form on the bush and after the stem reaches 50 mm in cross-section. For the last transplanting, use a special cactus mixture (see above).

Sometimes this plant is propagated by offspring, which can form on the stem of an adult shrub. When the offspring has grown, it is carefully separated from the mother plant and planted in the sand to root, covering it with a transparent bag or glass jar. But before planting the offspring, leave it in the open air for a few hours so that the cut area could dry out, and a thin film appeared on it. Also, the cut spot on both the parent bush and the baby, experts advise, should be treated with charcoal powder.

Diseases and pests

Diseases

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

Gruzoni echinocactus can only get sick if its root system is too cold or due to excessive watering.

Root rot can cause the shrub to die. To avoid the root system getting too cold in the cold winter, you can place the plant pot with the cactus on thick cardboard or folded newspaper. Pests

Pests

Pests most commonly found on Echinocactus include cactus mites, scale mites and cutworms.

Mite

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

If a plant has a mite you will notice a brown blotch on the stem. To be sure you can spot these plaques because the cactus is being invaded by the pest you need to pry them off with a sharp object.

If under the plaque you will see whole, undecayed tissue, it means it is a scab. If there are too many pests, they will cover the surface of the plant with sticky excretions. Without pesticides you can cope only if there are few scales on the bush. Take a cotton swab, moisten it in alcohol and wipe the places where the pests are.  If this treatment is not possible because of thorns or there are many pests, the cactus is sprayed with Confidor or Actara solution.

Cactus mite

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

The body of cactus mite is colored brownish-red and does not produce spider webs, which is what distinguishes it from the spider mite. If the plant is infested with this pest, you can see pale brown specks on the stem. It is impossible to see the pest with the naked eye because it is very small (0.1 to 0.3 millimeters).

To get rid of the mite, sprinkle the root zone and substrate, as well as spray the bush itself with a solution of acaricide preparation, for example: Oberon, Actellic, etc. Two treatments are needed, seven days apart.

Wormflies

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

The worms first settle on the root system and in the root zone of the plant. Over time, you will see them spreading to the surface of the stem. They can be seen in the areoles and between the ribs.

Such pests resemble a whitish plaque that looks like fine salt or flour. To save a cactus, treat it with a solution of Confidor or Actara, and it is poured over the soil mixture. Pesticide absorbed by the root system will make the whole bush inedible for this pest. If you find worms on the root system or root neck, you will need to transplant the bush into fresh substrate. Take the infested shrub out of its old pot, remove all the earth mixture from its roots and immerse them in hot water (about 50 degrees) for a quarter of an hour with its root neck.

Instead, the root system can be immersed in a solution of Actellic, but keep it there for a short time. Plant the bush in a new pot or sterilized old pot. Pour a couple of packets of crushed activated charcoal into the fresh soil mixture, which is necessary for disinfection.

If you have several cacti, after pests are found on one of them, all copies are treated.

Echinocactus species with photos and names

The most popular in indoor flower gardening is echinocactus Gruzoni.

The other species, of which there are not many, differ from Groosoni in color of flowers and needles and number of ribs.

Echinocactus Groosoni

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

His spherical stem is decorated with pale yellow prickles. The stem eventually becomes more elongated and barrel-like in shape. This species differs from the others in the number of ribs, numbering no less than 35.

Echinocactus flat-spiny

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

This species is native to Mexico, and in nature it can reach a height of about 200 cm and a width of about 150 cm.

There are no more than 25 ribs on the stem. Grey spines with dark transverse strokes grow in bunches from areoles, they can vary in length from 35 to 45 mm. During flowering, the bush is decorated with tubular yellow flowers. Compared to Echinocactus Gruzoni, this species blooms somewhat more often in room conditions.

Echinocactus Parri

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

This cactus is small in size.

In nature, the bush can reach about 0.3 m in height. The number of ribs varies from 13 to 15. Over time, the shape of the stem changes from spherical to cylindrical. The plant is colored bluish-gray.

The needles of this species are very long and can reach a length of about 100 mm. As it ages, the color of the prickles changes from brownish-pink to white. Indoor Echinocactus parry reacts extremely negatively to excessive moisture, as it can cause root rot.

Echinocactus horizontal

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

This species was named horizontal because of the shape of its stem. As it grows, it does not extend upward as other species do, but becomes flattened.

It has 10-13 ribs, and they are twisted spirally. Each areola has 5 or 6 curved spines. The needles are colored red, which over time changes and becomes amber. The color of the flowers is reddish purple. This species is also sometimes called "echinocactus red".

Echinocactus broad-needle

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

The bush is decorated with numerous gray broad needles. In nature, the bush can reach a height of 150-200 cm. If cared for properly, the plant will delight you with funnel-shaped yellow flowers.

Echinocactus multi-headed

Echinocactus: home care, transplanting, watering, species

In room conditions, this cactus can reach about 0.7m in height.

Its needles are colored and can be brownish-red, yellow or pink. The stem has 15 to 20 ribs.

Buying this plant, you have to remember that there are some species of echinocactus with colored needles, but this does not apply to Echinocactus Gruzoni. To avoid buying a cactus with paint-dyed prickles, you should definitely check the number of ribs and needles in the areoles. By these signs you can determine the species of such a plant.

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