Sunday, 18 May 2014


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I have always kept cacti ever since I was a little girl.  Now I have children of my own I love the fact that they are also fascinated with cacti.  I think perhaps it is the hardiness of the cacti; you can leave them on a sunny windowsill for a while and they will forgive you.  

They have a reputation for requiring little water, and this is true.  You are more likely to kill them form over watering.  How ever it is not the amount of water you should worry about, but the time of year you water.
Cacti are like hibernating animals, they have a dormant period, usually during the winter.  Start to cut down the watering in the autumn from a weekly occurrence to fortnightly watering, then to monthly and finally leave for three months over winter.  Start to gear them up again in the spring by returning to monthly, fortnightly and weekly watering.  

Most cacti grow and thrive in the spring and summer, so during these months remember to add a cacti feed to your water each week.  Do not use a traditional indoor plant food such as baby bio as this is too rich for the cacti. Notable exceptions to this rule include the Christmas cactus, which blooms during December.

I love planting up cacti gardens, especially as you can personalise them with gravel, stone and other ornaments to make them unique and individual.  Cacti like their roots constricted a little so select shallow pots, such as bulb pot or a bonsai pot.

The soil in which you plant your cacti is very important.  You need to ensure theta the spoil is free draining in order to prevent the cacti becoming water logged.  You can buy (expensive) cacti potting composts from the garden centre but if you are making many gardens or pot up lots of cacti then have a go a making your own. Mix equal parts of horticultural grit, sand and compost together to form a gritty, free draining soil that they will love.

You can get your hands covered in prickles when transplanting cacti into new pots so ensure you wear gloves or place a folded strip of newspaper around the cactus to hold it in position.  I use a spoon to help dig out existing plants and create planting holes.  Gently position your cacti into heir new pot to create a fantastic garden.

I always cover the surface with either sand of grit, and not only does this look fabulous but it helps to prevent unsightly water damage (those horrid brown scabs on the sites of the cacti).  Add cacti garden bling such as mini gnomes, ornaments, sparkly gravel, stones, beads or whatever you fancy.  No wonder I love them so.

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