The cacti year - general care information

 

January

February

March

General

Complete plant register or files. Read the literature
Check labels on the plants,
renew or complete them.
Prepare larger amounts of substrate for seedlings
and for repot, dampen if possible.

Do additional repair works in the
greenhouse, in glass boxes or
in the cold frames.
In the middle of the month remove the rain protection over the winter-hardy cacti.

Light / Ventilation

Offer as much light as possible. Winter rest of cacti is also at less bright or even obscure locations possible
(e.g., stairways, corridors, basements).
Remedy with additional light if possible.
Provide light shade for plants wich stand
immediately behind glass (e.g. behind the window)
in strong sunlight. Give cacti on mild days fresh air (hardening, no premature growth). Avoid cold air or drafts.

Offer plenty of light to the cacti, this is especially
important for the onset of life processes of plants. Give light shade to the plants if strong sunlight, especially cover fresh green and less spined species with tissue paper or garden fleece.
Ventilate on warmer days, avoid drafts.

Offer the plants a light spot and maximum amount of light BUT avoid full sun (shade!).
Schlumbergera, Epiphyllum and Rhipsalis need shade or a place which is slightly off-sun.
Give newly transplanted or not growing cacti
only in warm weather fresh air, otherwise ventilate as much as possible.
Give additional light to plants which still stand in the basement.

Temperature

Winter rest of cacti is usually between 8 to 12°C (46 to 53°F), control with a minimum-maximum thermometer is advantageously. Some cacti groups need higher temperatures: 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F), e.g. Hylocereus, Myrtillocactus, Pachycereus, 18 to 20°C (64 to 68°F), e.g. Rhipsalis, Schlumbergera, Selenicereus. Other groups are to be kept cold at 5°C (41°F), e.g. Echinocereus, Rebutia, Lobivia, Aylostera, Chamaecereus.
Protect the plants in addition in severe frost (cardboard templates on windows, heating coils, or fan in unheated spaces, cover plants with bubble wrap in the greenhouse.
)

Do not let rise temperatures above 16°C (60°F) at the winter site on sunny days (with the exception of the winter growing cacti).
Keep some extra protection for any cold spells ready.

Do not underestimate the heat of the March sun! Prevent the risk of burnings with shading, above all for cacti from a dark winter site.
Some cacti prefer some slightly lower winter temperatures e.g.: Echinocereus, Chamaecereus, Tephrocactus, Lobivia and bring Echinopsis species. You can already bring them in favorable weather in a protected summer quarter.

Water / Nutrients

None or only a little watering, sunken pots: moist only the surrounding material.
Schlumbergera and Rhipsalis need regular watering.
Provide Christmas cactus a few weeks rest after bloom, then repot.

Deal with water just economical. Shrinkage phenomena, or the first buds on the cacti are not a reason for increased watering and for a buzz off over the plants.
Epiphyllum driving again, so water more abundant. Beginning of the re-potting of the not contained in the impulse cacti.
Mind the correct composition of the substrate (possibly check the pH value).

Start with a little watering, a little mist on hot days. Cacti with buds, e.g. Rebutia, Neoporteria and Parodia species, water more abundant.
Continue transplanting, repot spring flowering bulbs after blooming and keep transplanted cacti at high humidity.

Reproduction

Sowings with additional light and heat are possible, this requires thorough disinfection of soil and seed receptacles.

Sowings continue with additional light and temperatures around 25°C (77°F).

Resume of sowings maybe with additional light and heat from below.

Pest control

Fight against snails and woodlice if wintering in the basement and greenhouse. The regular inspection of cacti on pest infestation continues, use powdered pesticides. When repot pay particular attention to pest infestations, such as root lice, spider mites and nematodes.

 

April

May

June

General

Bring back the plants from the winter quarters
remove discard and diseased shoots and destroy diseased plants.
Cacti exchange or buy, control newly acquired plants to pests scrupulously, take advice from literature for plant diseases and protection.

Watch thoroughly especially the roots in new cacti, do not place the plants immediately into the collection (quarantine).

Light / Ventilation

Plants especially from dark-wintering areas and get cautious used to the intense light, shade, otherwise risk of burnings.
Epiphyllum, Schlumbergera and Rhipsalis need shade. Give as much as possible fresh air to the cacti.

Less sensitive cacti, e.g. Echinopsis, Cereus peruvianus, Trichocereus pachanoi or Opuntia bergeriana, Opuntia robusta, can now get a sheltered location outdoors or on the balcony. Keep it in direct sun also the plants behind glass only shade at midday.
Frequent ventilation is necessary.

With the exception of a few species, e.g. Epiphyllum, Schlumbergera, Rhipsalidopsis, Rhipsalis, provide as much as possible light to the plants.
Don’t forget to shade in strong midday sun.
Provide fresh air not only on the day to the cacti (above all during very warm weather) but also at night.

Temperature

The cacti begin again with drive (at the end of the dormant season), some also in flower, now give full warmth.

Many species of cacti need now a very hot location, e.g. Astrophytum, Echinocereus species.  Do not allow that the temperature rises above 35°C (95°F).
Countermeasures: air, spraying or shading (best combined).

Temperature differences between day and night are optimal for cacti.
Offer plenty of sun (heat) the plants, provide also a cool off in the night.

Water / Nutrients

Increase slowly the watering!
Free the plants from of dirt by spraying at the end of the month.
Note: the cactus body must be dried again until the evening.
Fertilization of non-transplanted cacti is possible.
Watering further increased, spray also on hot days. Clay pots are best imbeded in gravel or peat.
Best time for repot, best use subdued substrate, fertilize non repotted plants.
For all life processes cacti need sufficient water, watering strong now, rule of thumb is 1 to 2 times a week.
Douching during warm weather does no harm to the plants, spraying and misting are especially beneficial in the evening (dew imitation), also dipping the pots has been vindicated.
Limit the watering or even don’t water on cold and rainy days.
Transplanting and fertilization is possible.

Reproduction

Sowings continue. Make cuttings of mature shoots, leave them to dry the cut approximately 3 weeks before planting. Good time for sowing and growing of cuttings. Continue sowings and cut of cuttings.

Pest control

Search thoroughly relocated plants particularly from the winter quarters for pests, preventive control of spider mites and aphids, especially in certain cacti species groups, e.g. Aporocactus, Chamaecereus, Echinocereus, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia, Aylostera. Check constantly the plant inventory (with a magnifying glass!). Isolate infested cacti from the collection and handle them separately, combined use of pesticides is advantageous. Cut root pruning diseased plants and tread them like cuttings.

 

July

August

September

General

Keep hair columnar cacti e.g. Cephalocereus senilis, Cleistocactus strausii, Oreocereus celsianus and other beautiful hairy cacti e. g. Mammillaria guelzowiana, Mammillaria plumosa under glass (protection against dust). During vacation ask after cacti collections in Botanical Gardens or public collections and visit them. Get in touch with other cactus friends contact and possibly visit them.

Prepare winter quarters for the inclusion of the plants; clear and clean shelves, carry on with repair work.

Light / Ventilation

Expose the plants to full sunlight, do only shade on very hot days.
Schlumbergera, Epiphyllum, Rhipsalis it's best to keep them in partially shaded space outdoor e.g. under trees, protection against excessive sun exposure and too much moisture is important. Several other cacti groups, e.g. Rebutia, Aylostera, Lobivia, Mediolobivia can also placed outside (before the window, on the balcony, or on the terrace).
Mind protection, especially against excessive moisture. Avoid overheating of the plants by regular air (especially on hot days to avoid).
The cacti are now adapted to full sunlight, shade can be omitted. Provide Schlumbergera, Hatiora, Epiphyllum and Rhipsalidopsis an halfshady stand (best keep them outdoors).
A lot of air! Keep cold frames and glass boxes keep open at night so that the plants can get the dew.
The plants are accustomed to the full light of summer, with the exception of a few genera, e.g. Epiphyllum, Schlumbergera, Rhipsalidopsis, give them full light. Shading is not necessary.
Air a lot at day and night to increase the resistance of the plants.

Temperature

Afford heat loving cacti an appropriate stand, e.g. Astrophytum, Echinocereus, Espostoa, Leuchtenbergia, Melocactus, Oreocereus, Cephalocereus, Haageocereus. Expose cacti to the specifically the temperature differences between day and night (hardening).
Plants that have stained a violet color by intense sunlight, set in the shade.
The lower temperatures are one of the reasons that the cactus nearly abandon their growth, therefore less watering.
Keep Schlumbergera by mid-month to 4 weeks almost dry also cool and light.

Water / Nutrients

The water requirement of the plants is high, copious watering, spraying or showering is necessary and convenient.
Some species of cactus, for example Espostoa, Melocactus, mist especially in the evening. Some cacti require relatively little water in summer, e.g. Eulychnia, Neoporteria, Horridocactus, Copiapoa.
Transplanting and fertilizing is appropriate.
Reduce watering a bit, prepare the plants for the rest.
On hot days, often mist or spray, protect cacti which are placed outside against too much moisture.
Hardly any fertilizing or transplanting, cacti abandon their growth and store energy reserve.
Just water small amounts by even longer intervals (14 days). The intervals are conditional on the weather (observe temperature).
Spraying and misting especially on warm days is still possible.
Give Schlumbergera only small amounts of water, the limbs may not wither.
No more fertilizing, transplant only in necessary cases.
Outdoor plants should get a rain cover in any case.

Reproduction

Sowings, cuttings and transplanting are possible. Cuttings, sowings and transplanting still possible, but not so favourable. Cuttings and grafting remain exceptions.

Pest control

Watch snails especially in greenhouses, cold frames and on cacti outdoors, combat against them by collecting them or laying out poison.

Watch in the hot season, especially on spider mites.
Preventive control is therefore necessary. Because of faster resistance of pests to pesticides change them frequently.
Perform a thoroughly pest control from early to mid-month, last date for use of liquid preparations.

 

October

November

December

General

Prepare rain cover for the winter-hardy cacti and set up if in rainy weather is forecasted.
Suitable materials would be twin-wall panels, corrugated polyester, etc.
Additional insulation of greenhouses to reduce energy coasts.
This includes installing of bubble wrap from the outside, the set up of a under foil as far as possible and necessary,
and additional insulation of the panels which are not important for the incidence of light with styrofoam.
Keep accessories (e.g. fan heaters, gas heaters, dehumidifiers) operational and check its functionality.

Exchange experience with other cacti friends. Read literature and complete records of the plants. Sift, sort and label last year pictures.

Light / Ventilation

Expose the plants, if possible fully to sunlight. Because of early night frosts air cacti only during the day (hardening, lower losses in the winter quarters). Choose a bright winter location, ideal is a heated greenhouse. A dark location is always a last resort
(in that case install additional lighting). Still air at convenient temperatures (inurement).
Swich on additional lighting, especially for seedlings and plants in dark wintering areas (e.g., basements)
Protect cacti primarily against drafts, e.g. by sealing of door and window cracks.
Control relative humidity by using a hygrometer.
Short air in mild weather is appropriate.

Temperature

The growth of the plants must now come to an end. By the end of the month vacate cacti from the field, the unheated greenhouses and cold frames (if no additional heating) in their winter quarters.
First frosts can be expected.
Best winter location: light, dry, cool and frost-free area. Keep now Rhipsalis and other winter bloomer warmer, the same thing is also valid for Schlumbergera at the mid of the month.
Differentated temperatures in the winter quarters of approximately 6 to 12°C (43 to 54°F), mind the demands of some groups of cacti. Provide Rhipsalis and some other winter blooming cacti now a moderately warm to warm and bright location.
Schlumbergera prefers uniform temperatures (about 22°C (72°F)). Christmas cacti are also susceptible to frequent seat changes (dropping of buds).
Regular monitoring of the external and internal temperature is necessary.
In case of severe frost additional protection of the plants is maybe necessary, e.g. by using additional heaters.

Water / Nutrients

Only water and mist somewhat during convenient temperatures.
Fertilize with weakly concentrated (0.1%) potashat the beginning of the month, this helps the plants abandon their growth well and encourages the buds for next spring. It also reduces the cold sensitivity of the plants.
Schlumbergera return to mormal moist from mid-month, give Epiphyllum only small amounts of water.
Still outside located cacti need a rain cover.
No longer replant and fertilizing.
Water dormant plants only a bit, no fertilizing.
Water Rhipsalis again abundant, not to dry out the plant substrate. Fertilize the winter grower with mineral fertilizers only a bit.
Supply Schlumbergera, Rhipsalis, and other winter grower continuously with water. Fertilisation of Schlumbergera is still possible.

Reproduction

Extremely bad time for any kind of increase. If a cactus has to be cut off for some reason keep the plant in a cool place (12 to 15°C (54 to 59°F)) dry and leave it there until the spring. Order seed catalogs, select genus and order the seeds resp. organize seed exchange.

Pest control

When you put the plants into their winter quarters examine them and the pots meticulously to pests, e. g. snails, isopods, insect eggs, etc. Even in winter, fresh air helps to prevent rot and the spread of pests. Regular review of the collection after pests is necessary (e.g. spider mites, root aphids).

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