After people began to have personal computers in their homes, it became fashionable to place cacti near them. Many believe that such a plant has the ability to reduce harmful radiation or absorb it altogether. But after a while, most of the PC users began to notice that their cacti wither and die for some reason. And the reason is that this plant, despite its tolerance and resistance to drought, needs a certain amount of care.
It should be understood that cacti and deciduous indoor plants need different care.
If you want a cactus to become a real decoration of your apartment, then before getting one, you should ask about how to properly care for it and what can harm this unusual flower.
Peculiarities of cacti
Homeland of cacti is America. In the wild, cacti are capable of growing to considerable size. Desert cacti excel in the harsh semi-desert conditions found in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. Forest cacti under natural conditions can be found in tropical jungles.
Desert as well as forest cacti species differ greatly, and as such how to care for a cactus is determined by its species.
How to care for cacti // How to water cacti? // ALL cacti bloom
Dwarf cacti are often grown at home, they came into existence with the help of breeders. A huge number of miniature varieties can be purchased, and it is not difficult to place several dozen of them on a windowsill.
The most popular of the domestic desert cacti are: Echinocereus knippelus and crested, Cereus peruvianus, Aporocactus pleatiformis, Notocactus, Opuntia, Rebucia dwarf, Echinopsis, Echinocactus gruson, Chamecereus silvestra, Espola woolly, Astrophytum goat, Parody bloodflower and Goldfinch.
The home-grown varieties of forest cacti bear no outward resemblance to the familiar cacti.
In the wild they prefer to grow under or on trees. The most common species at home are Epiphyllum, Ripsalidopsis and also Zygocactus (Nymphaea or Decembrist).
Patterns for indoor care
If you did not purchase this plant to protect you from radiation but to decorate your apartment, try to find the most suitable location for it.
The desert cactus varieties require a lot of sunlight. In this regard, experts advise to place them in a window to the south or east orientation.
A variety of forest cacti, including zygocactus, is recommended to place on the window north or west orientation. If a Christmas tree is placed in a south-facing window its leaves will become faded and there will be a disruption between the flowering and resting periods.
In summer these plants are best taken out into the fresh air (balcony). If it is very warm in the apartment during the winter, then the cacti should be kept very humid. However, you should also take into account that in winter almost all cacti have a dormant period.
Because of this it is recommended to put them in a cooler room (15 to 17 degrees) and place in the penumbra or in the shadow
A plant even though it is a drought-resistant, you can't water it at all. You can skip one watering, but it's better to water as needed and don't forget that the cactus, like all other plants, needs water. Watering should be done with water at room temperature, which must be allowed to stand for 24 hours. If possible we recommend to water the cactus with rainwater or melt water.
A rough watering plan:
- In spring and summer time daily or once in two days;
- In autumn period once in 5-7 days;
- in winter period once in 1-1.
The basic principle of watering is that the more abundant and frequent the watering, the warmer the room is.
You should also remember that the cactus grows actively in the warm months, while it starts to bloom in the cold season. If you want your cactus to bloom, you simply need to give it a rest period.
Potting a cactus only when it becomes crowded in its pot.
This procedure is done in spring, at a time when the period of intensive growth begins. For 2-3 days before transplanting you need to stop watering the cactus, so that the soil can be freely crumbled off the roots. Younger cacti need to be transplanted every year, those 3 or 4 years old need this procedure once every few years.
The container for planting should be compact, so that the root system can fit inside it without leaving any empty space. At the bottom of the pot you need to put a drainage layer and pour a small amount of substrate.
After that, you need to hold the plant with your hand and drop its roots into the container. At the same time with the other hand you need to slowly pour soil into the container until it fills the pot. At the same time, the surface of the soil should be a centimeter below the edge of the container. The base of the stem should not be deepened into the substrate. To pour the soil into the pot more densely, you need to systematically tap on the walls of the pot.
The optimal composition of soil mixture for this plant: washed river sand, peat, leaf soil and charcoal. Soil needs weakly acidic and friable. If you want, you can buy cactus potting soil at a specialist store.
Cacti can be propagated by seed and also by budding. The second method is very simple and effective, and is therefore more popular with florists.
However, those who consider themselves true cactus growers will definitely want to grow a cactus from seed with their own hands. However, it is worth considering that this method of propagation is rather complicated and ineffective.
For propagation by vegetative method, sprouts are used, which are taken from adult specimens. Such cuttings, as a rule, have small roots and, therefore, rooting is quite quick and easy.
The seeds of these plants purchased in a special store should be disinfected by immersing them for some time in a strong solution of manganese potassium.
After that, they are germinated by placing them in a humid environment. Seeds of some species may sprout after 24 hours while others will require several weeks.
Psychologists have found that those people who are dry and reserved in their emotions are the most likely to grow cacti, but in reality they are very impressionable and vulnerable.
How to take care of a cactus at home?