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Growing Tips

Below are my “tips” allowing anyone to build up a good flowering collection of cacti and other succulents that will give you and friends many many hours of enjoyment.

To make things easier, these growing tips are also available as a pdf which you can print off – ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Growing Tips

Good Growing,

Tony Irons

Although cacti and other succulents can be grown indoors the best situation is in the greenhouse/conservatory therefore my treatment recommendations are based on that in the UK.

Summer

After the winter period gradually introduce water from mid March until you again reduce the watering to nothing in mid October. During the height of the summer you should be watering every 5 days, with the occasional light spraying during the odd evening when the sun is not shining into the greenhouse.

If possible use rainwater and I always add plant feed (i.e. Phostrogen) at each watering.

Although cacti and other succulents like the heat in a greenhouse they must also have “fresh air” circulating as they do in habitat. This is very important so that plants do not become scorched and damaged.

Winter

From mid October until mid March no water must be given to the cacti, to enable them to hibernate, but also the temperature must not go below 5 degrees Celsius.

You may wish to cover the cacti with newspaper to give added insulation during this period – it will not harm them in any way.

Pests

Mealy bug or red spider are the two main pests that can surface with a collection of cacti, but early treatment with most sprays available from your garden centre will help eradicate these.

Compost

There are many “ready mixed” cacti composts available, however the mix I find best is:-

  • 1 part “Cornish grit”
  • 1 part “John Innes” seed compost
  • 1 part Vermiculite
  • 1 part COIR Compost

This gives enough retaining qualities in the mix for water but also allows root ventilation and drainage of the final mix.


Lithops

Although cacti and other succulents can be grown outdoors the best situation is in the greenhouse/conservatory, therefore my treatment recommendations are based on that in the U.K.

Watering Instructions

After the winter dormancy period gradually introduce water from early May when the old plant bodies have virtually shrivelled away and the goodness has been taken in by the new emerging plants. From August I reduce the amount of water given by 50% until it is stopped in late September for the Winter period. Younger plants may require 1 teaspoon of water every 6-8 weeks over the Winter, just to keep them ticking over !

Although cacti and other succulents like the heat in a greenhouse they must also have “fresh air” circulating as they do in habitat. This is very important so that plants do not become scorched and damaged.

Pests

Mealy bug or red spider are the two main pests that can surface with a collection of cacti, but early treatment with most sprays available from your garden centre will help eradicate these.

Compost

There are many “ready mixed” cacti composts available, however the mix I find best is:-

  • 1 part “Cornish grit”
  • 1 part “John Innes” seed compost
  • 1 part Vermiculite
  • 1 part COIR Compost

This gives enough retaining qualities in the mix for water but also allows root ventilation and drainage of the final mix.

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