If these are not some rare specimens that fall into hibernation during the summer-autumn period, then the cactus farmers can act during these periods according to a well-established pattern.
In other words, the care of cacti at home in the summer and autumn for the most part is subject to generally accepted laws: in the warm season, taking care of active growth, with cooling, is the preparation for the “barbed collection” for wintering.
It is enough to take a close look, and on any window sills or in a mini-greenhouse it is always easy to isolate both favorites and overt outsiders. The first ones are always clean, it is clear that the care and conditions for such cacti are ideal, they grow in new and same-type pots, as a rule, they actively grow and bloom, placed on the most advantageous place in the greenhouse or on the balcony.
As for the second, it is obvious that they take care of such cacti as they should, according to the residual principle. They didn’t get something this year - they might get it next year. And so from year to year!
It is sometimes a shame to see such flowers without leaving the collection; their cactus owner has clearly lost interest. The plants have not been transplanted for a long time, they have not been growing for many years, the root system is a small number of short, rotten roots, the plants do not bloom and are considerably spoiled by pests.
In this case, it does not matter whether the collection contains such a plant or not, since it is obvious that this type of de facto represents almost zero value for the owner. And the possible assurances that this is not so, remain just words.
So how to care for cacti at home so that they do not turn into the above described specimens?
Rules of care when growing cacti at home in summer
Perhaps summer is the most pleasant and partly carefree time when caring for cacti: by this season transplants and preventive treatments for pests should be completed.
The plants are finally arranged in the same order with respect to other cacti and light, which corresponds to an understanding of the needs of plants and the simplification of caring for them.
All cases are completed, and if potentially resolved issues related to the ventilation of the greenhouse and protection from overheating, you can relax a bit and do mainly contemplative activities - looking, photographing, pollination of flowers and occasionally watering.
Of course, watering the care of cacti - this is more work than contemplation, but for lovers practicing individual watering from above, it is an extra opportunity to look at each cactus separately once or twice a week to mark their well-being and see if any adjustments are needed in growing conditions .
Some amateurs, understanding “summer” as the season of the most active growing season, practice at this time transplanting their wards.
However, as practice shows, to care for flowers cacti after transplantation in the summer is more difficult, these measures can not always be successful.
Transfer to a larger pot without shaking off the soil coma, most likely, will not bring much harm.
See how it works transshipment in the care of cacti on these photos:
A transplant with elements of a serious impact on the roots can be an additional shock for the plant, if we add here the possible current and subsequent heat.
Summer cannot be considered a particularly favorable season for the development of cacti. Rather, it can be said that summer is the border of two favorable periods — late spring and early autumn, when most plants develop most dynamically.
It is the duration of these two most favorable periods that determines the rules of cactus care and the success of the development of plants throughout the year.
But summer is definitely the time of the most abundant flowering of most species of cacti, especially if we are talking about collections in central Russia, and not about the southern regions, where flowering periods can be greatly shifted towards spring.
The following describes how to carry out watering in the care of cacti at home and how to root the plants.
Peculiarities of home care for cacti: watering and rooting
Fans spend watering the plants when caring for cacti in two possible ways - top and bottom (through large common trays).
Watering from below is usually practiced by owners of very large collections and lovers who prefer group planting. With lower watering it is difficult to control who and how much water got, so annoying mistakes are possible.
The latter, however, are leveled out if the weather conditions and the composition of the soil provide for quick drying of the coma.
When top watering cacti in the summer, it is advisable to use a sufficient layer of top drainage from river gravel, which prevents long-term moisture retention near the root collar.
In addition, the upper drainage, partly masking possible ugly (with time) sections of the root collar, prevents water, including slightly soluble salts, from entering the lower parts of the plant stems (especially those with white spikes) and their contamination.
This video demonstrates how to care for cacti in summer:
Early summer is a good time for removing plants from grafting and rooting of problem cacti and imports with trimmed lateral roots. However, this process proceeds more effectively not in a hot greenhouse, but in cooler conditions of an open greenhouse, where plants are more susceptible to high fluctuations in humidity and temperature.
How do you need to care for cacti to rooting was successful?
The substrate should not be like a standard mixture if ground based mixtures are used. In the rooting mixture, it is allowed and even welcome the presence of a large proportion of coarse mineral components - pieces of lava, large perlite and large fractions of gravel, capable of providing good aeration of the coma during the rooting period.
One of the features of cactus care in the summer is to provide an effective ventilation system. And for those who like to photograph plants, it will not be superfluous to equip a convenient place where you can, without sweating, make pictures of flowers in the most comfortable conditions.
The next section of the article is devoted to how to properly care for cacti in the summer in conditions of extremely high temperatures.
How to properly care for indoor flowers cacti in summer
Cacti, like many other living organisms, do not like extremely high temperatures.
There is an erroneous opinion among lovers - if many cacti are inhabitants of deserts and semi-deserts, it means they love the heat: the higher the temperature, the better for succulent.
It should be said that this opinion regarding the care of indoor cacti is erroneous, and those who have ever visited the homeland of these plants can easily see this.
It is safe to say that most species of cacti do not like temperatures above + 28 ... + 30 degrees, while summer temperatures in the greenhouse can seriously exceed them, reaching + 40 ... + 50 ° С and even higher + 60 ° С.
Such extremely high temperatures do not benefit the plants, so you should do everything possible to avoid a strong warm-up of greenhouses and balconies.
As seen in the photo, when caring for home cacti in the summer, plants should be allowed to “breathe”:
One of the easiest ways is to slightly open or temporarily dismantle the parts of the protective coating (remove the polycarbonate sheet from the ends of the greenhouse, keep windows, transom or doors open). If for some reason this is not possible, install a powerful fan that is constantly working in the heat, which prevents overheating and creates a constant current of air.
If these two ways are either not suitable for you or are not sufficiently effective, the next step is a complete cessation of watering. It can only be resumed when the temperature becomes more moderate.
To care for indoor cacti as gently as possible, watering the succulents during extremely hot and just hot weather must be stopped. If you do not, you can lose the plants. Most plants are not ready to effectively absorb soil water with a strong warm air and pots.
The high water content in the pots impairs the heat-insulating properties of the substrate - the pots get warmer and the roots of the plants can simply “boil” if the temperature of the wet substrate exceeds + 55 ... + 60 degrees.
And after the death of the roots will almost inevitably follow the processes of tissue death in the stem of a cactus. If the lover is lucky and the outcome is not so pitiable, the plant will still receive a strong heat shock, which will later affect the dynamics of the development of the cactus.
For example, plants that have been subjected to strong heat exposure may subsequently stagnate and show no signs of growth in subsequent 1-2 years, even if the state of the stem and root system seems outwardly quite good.
This video provides tips on caring for cacti in the summer:
Therefore, every amateur should closely monitor the temperature, including in the summer, and at the first signs of the coming heat try to ensure a normal or elevated level of ventilation of the room.
Or, at a minimum, minimize the irrigation of most plants, up to its complete cessation (this is especially true of mountain and alpine species originating from Argentina, Peru, Chile and Bolivia).
Summer rest is a typical phenomenon for most South American and Mexican species. Therefore, an amateur in caring for indoor cacti at home, having stopped watering in the middle of summer, will not do anything unnatural that the succulents might not like.
For most newbies, such a move goes against the logic of “hotter heat — dries faster — more often we water.” But the logic of nature does not always coincide with our own, especially if the latter is not based on research and a subtle understanding of the specifics of biological objects.
Below you will learn how to care for decorative cacti at home to get your own seeds.
How to care for decorative cacti at home: pollination
Most cacti are cross-pollinated plants, i.e., pollination requires two simultaneously flowering specimens. At the time of disclosure of flowers on two or more plants with the help of a brush (sticks with a cotton fleece at the end, fine tweezers), pollen or an anther is transferred from one plant to the stigma of the pistil of the other.
After that, during the maintenance when the cacti is kept in the classical version, it is necessary to isolate pollinated flowers using, for example, gauze, in order to limit the potentially possible transfer of pollen to pollinating insects from other simultaneously flowering plants, especially distantly related.
In bad weather it is not always possible to wait for the full disclosure of flowers. In addition, there are species in which flowers rarely fully open. In this case, the razor comes to the rescue, with which you can gently open the dense petals of the perianth to access the anthers and the pistil.
And how to care for decorative cacti, if expected non-simultaneous disclosure of flowers on two copies?
In this case there are two ways out. The first is to keep the fleece with the pollen of the first plant in a closed vial or test tube in a refrigerator until the second plant blossoms (usually up to 1 a week).
The second - to further synchronize the disclosure of flowers, place the “lagging” cactus in conditions more comfortable in temperature and light, and the “leading” cactus in a cooler place.
See a photo of how pollination is performed when taking care of cacti at home:
Sometimes it is impossible to re-pollinate two purchased plants, for which there is no certainty that they are grown from seeds. These may be genetic clones of the same queen cell propagated vegetatively.
Under certain conditions, for example, abrupt temperature changes in one direction or another, cross-pollinated plants can self-pollinate, but the seeds, as a rule, are of lower quality, which affects the germination and development of seedlings.
Some plants (for example, some macro-seed hymnocalyciums, mammillaria) are dioecious or conditionally dioecious - in some plants all the flowers have immature anthers, others have an underdeveloped (or absent) pistil.
In this case, it is necessary to select a pair - a plant with a normal pestle and a plant with well-developed anthers. With the seeming simplicity of the solution in practice, it can be extremely difficult to do this when taking care of indoor plants with cacti.
Some types of succulents can quite successfully be pollinated without the participation of an amateur or other external agents. Another part of self-pollinated plants can set seeds of gluestogamno - without disclosing a flower, as many frailia. At the same time, when disclosing a flower, fraileia cease to be self-pollinated.
This video demonstrates how to care for cacti at home if you want to get your own seeds:
The main requirement for pollination of flowers to obtain seeds is the principle of species purity. In other words, amateurs should not allow random and non-random hybridization of plants, which will subsequently lead to the degeneration of the species in a series of subsequent generations.
If you really want to experiment, any meaningful hybridization mentioned above should be well documented. Such a hybridization should contain the initial idea for the sake of which all this is done.
Seeds, in the origin of which the amateur is not sure, should be ruthlessly thrown into the garbage can.
The following are tips for experienced collectors on how to care for cacti for further hybridization.
Care for indoor plants with cacti at home: hybridization of flowers
The main part of cacti lovers and collectors do not exist by themselves. Each of them is connected with thin threads of relations with one or another colleague - he exchanges plants or seeds, sells or gives his surplus, he buys seedlings and seeds.
All this provides a certain continuity when any new material enters the collection and is distributed.
Plants can travel in whole groups and generations of lovers for years and decades! And it depends to a certain extent on each of us on what collections of lovers in the future will be filled with — beautiful and dignified material or vegetable surrogates.
By analogy with objects of art - true masterpieces or fakes, even if of outstanding quality.
When caring for cacti at home, unconscious color hybridization is not always the right way. Getting more and more hybrids of most species of cacti is the way to nowhere!
For thousands of years we have destroyed the existing genetic complexes responsible both for a certain appearance of the plant, and for its certain adaptations to the conditions of existence.
If the second factor in the collection conditions can be partly neglected, then, speaking about the appearance of plants, in just a couple of decades you or your colleagues will encounter a situation where cacti that have nothing in common are distributed in collections of entire countries and continents. common with their ancestors and specific descriptions.
Most compassionate lovers are not at all inclined to destroy such hybrids in their collections. And this is understandable - many of them are really cute and pleasing to the eye. Therefore, their number must inevitably increase.
Partly, the situation is saved only by the fact that the collections also perish and disappear, taking with them the garbage accumulated over the years. Therefore, focus better on decent care when growing cacti in home cacti, rather than breeding new hybrids.
Nevertheless, in cacti farming there are a significant number of areas based precisely on the hybridization of cacti. This includes the cultivation of varietal epiphyllums, prickly pears or echinopsis, and the maintenance of cultivar lines of hybrid astrophytums, which in some countries are almost a certain element of national culture and traditions.
Fans of hybrid astrophytum is becoming more and more in our country.
But most of them forget that there can not be many real achievements in breeding. Breeding always goes in a certain sensible direction, and it has a lot of waste. The latter are usually destroyed, but in the wake of the current boom, waste inevitably begins to spread through collections.
As a result, a significant part of lovers, hunting for new and original material, completely ceases to distinguish the quite obvious distinction between the beautiful and the ugly. Therefore, it is clear that hybridization and its fruits should be used with extreme caution.
Hybridization is just one of the possible tools with which you can feel yourself in the role of a creator and surprise others. But the true creator can feel himself growing any non-hybrid plant, forming it and achieving a rich flowering.
And hybridization is most likely, in most cases, this is only a wonderful illusion that we are able to compete with nature in an attempt to create something more beautiful and perfect.
In the final section of the article are recommendations for beginner collectors how to care for cacti in the fall.
How to care for cacti in pots in the fall: tips for beginners
Autumn care when growing cacti at home should be focused on preparing succulents for wintering. This is an important annual event for each collection. Wintering cacti is a necessary and necessary measure.
As a rule, in the period from late autumn to early spring, due to the climatic characteristics of their region, amateurs cannot provide the plants with the necessary temperature and light conditions for steady and harmonious growth.
A way out can be immersion of plants in winter rest. By providing almost complete cessation of growth and metabolic processes, we help cacti to avoid the ugly growth in conditions of apparent deficit of sunlight.
How do the plants prepare for wintering in the fall?
First of all, in the summer we have to make sure that by winter all our plants remain as healthy as possible, without problems with the root system and the aerial part of the stem. All cacti should timely receive the last watering of the season - without mineral supplements or at least without the nitrogen component.
In order to care for cacti in pots in the fall as efficiently as possible, after completing the watering the plant should be kept warm enough for a long time, which will not only allow the soil water to be completely consumed after the last watering, but also put the plant-pot system into a practically dry state.
The soil should be completely dry, and the cactus partially lose water, an indicator of which is wrinkling of the stem from easy to medium. In this state, it is extremely useful for plants to be able to stand at relatively low temperatures, typical for this time of year - with night temperatures falling to + 7 ... 0 degrees, and daytime temperatures to + 12 ... + 18.
In such conditions, part of the cacti in the collection can still grow actively, while the other will begin to slow down its development. After some time, it is found that almost all of the wards slowed down their growth, and only brightly colored bunches of the last thorns this year speak of traces of past activity.
Autumnal coolness and strong temperature fluctuations in no small measure contribute to the formation and maturation of tissues, hardening of the plant as a whole. As the tissues lose water, the readiness of the cactus to endure ever lower temperatures, up to slight night frosts (to -3 ... -5 degrees), grows.
Temperature hardening is extremely important for the coming long wintering period, during which certain days may occur when the temperature in the greenhouse or on the balcony drops below zero (extremely low temperatures, breakage of the heating system, etc.).
Properly prepared in autumn, the collection will survive such days without loss, while specimens that did not get rid of excess fluid in the stem in advance are at risk of serious injury.
When the collection is prepared for winter rest, you can finally go to the "winter mode". During this period, if possible, it is necessary to ensure a relatively low, but stable temperature, if possible, without sudden jumps to one side or the other, although strong unplanned warm-ups are quite possible on sunny days.
For most species, the optimum temperatures are + 7 ... + 10 degrees with possible short-term fluctuations from + 4 ... + 5 to + 11 ... + 12 degrees. More thermophilic species (for example, from Brazil) will prefer temperatures above + 16 ... + 18 with fluctuations from + 14 to + 20 ° С.
Some cacti (for example, non-porters or “soft” copies) should be placed in such a way that during the autumn and winter, when clear days occur, avoid direct sunlight, which, together with the warming up of air in the daytime, can induce plants to become premature and undesirable growth.
Watch the video “Care for cacti at home” to better understand all the subtleties of important agro-events: