Growing cacti beginners most often begin to engage in the home. To do this, they equip special shelves or use conventional sills for succulents. Having grasped the basics of care when growing cacti, some “prickly collection” are moved to the balcony. But real professionals use for these purposes greenhouses, where a special microclimate has been created.
How to grow homemade cacti or greenhouse, and this article is dedicated.
Where can I grow cacti at home and how to do it right
At home, you can grow cacti in the same place as many other flowers - on window sills and balconies. New technologies for balcony-window glazing are aimed at increasing noise insulation and heat saving. And almost all types of household glazing are made with glass.
At the same time, the spectral composition of transmitted sunlight significantly changes, as well as the illumination decreases significantly even in comparison with the usual single-pane window glass. This is the very rare case when scientific and technical progress goes to the "cacti" hobby rather to harm than to good.
Therefore, an amateur who is limited only by a balcony space has a unique opportunity to create year-round conditions for growing cacti on a balcony in a city apartment with minimal energy consumption for heating.
But this is on the one hand, and on the other - the owner of modern glazing sadly notes that most of the cacti began to grow clearly worse compared with the times when the antediluvian frames with single glass or frames stood in the windows, there was no. Then direct sunlight fell on the plants in the summer, and they were fully exposed to daily temperature drops.
We can say that in terms of creating conditions for growing domestic cacti, such lovers are in the least favorable position. Even worse, when your windows are oriented to the east, west and even more so to the north. However, in such difficult cases, all is not lost.
Additional artificial lighting and the correct selection of species for cultivation allow you to grow a sufficient number of species, even in the most neglected cases! But, of course, most of the most light-loving plants will have to be abandoned, sadly.
But small benefits of care in such cultivation of home cacti are also available. First of all, it is an opportunity to start and finish watering earlier, thus increasing the growing season of cacti.
The second tangible plus is that plants are always at hand, and you can quickly respond to any problems, be it unexpected pest reproduction or seemingly unreasonable at first glance, stalling growth and development.
To grow cacti as the right technology suggests, you need to create decent conditions for succulents. One of the most serious problems when placing plants on a window sill or balcony can be overheating on the most sunny days and in hot weather (especially in spring), as well as burns of plant tissues as a result of exposure to the “low” spring or autumn afternoon sun.
This problem, especially relevant for small volumes of air, is easily solved if normal ventilation is organized during hot hours by opening windows or turning on a domestic fan.
How to grow house cacti in winter?
On particularly cold days, it is necessary to completely eliminate the possibility of drafts and the freezing (freezing of ice) of window sills and windows near the places where plants are located.
Such freezing is capable of destroying a significant part of the collection during 1 — 2 days, especially its non-frost-resistant species or specimens that did not manage to get rid of excess water in the tissues in late autumn.
When growing cacti at home on window sills and balconies, where windows or window windows usually open in summer, you need to protect succulents from attack by pests that can fly here with air streams from nearby poplars or other trees (for example, spider mites).
If 1-2 prophylactic sprays per year are enough for the villa collection, then, having a city collection, 3-4 may be necessary!
And although every window and balcony lover dreams of a real and large greenhouse outside the city, nevertheless, if you properly maintain plants and care for them, even in extremely cramped conditions you can grow decent and beautiful cacti that will adorn any collection.
The following describes how to grow cacti in greenhouses.
Growing cacti in the greenhouse (with video)
A large and modern greenhouse is the dream of any cacti lover.
Many start with a small window sill or balcony, but often very quickly reach the maximum that they can provide - both in the number of plants, and in their size and external condition.
Therefore, we gradually begin with white envy to look at our colleagues, who are less constrained in terms of space for the placement of cacti and more freely simulate certain growing conditions, despite the weather outside the window.
The simplest option, but more preferable than a window sill or balcony in a city, is a light greenhouse at a dacha or country plot where plants are taken out (taken out) for the summer.
Its main advantages are the low cost of construction and operation, speed of assembly, all the delights of daily temperature difference and the absence of summer problems associated with overheating of plants.
The disadvantages in the areas with late frosts are the late exportation of cacti and the extremely delayed first watering and the beginning of the growing season. In cold summer, parts of plants (for example, ferocactus or leuchtenbergia) may not have enough total heat for budding and bud development.
An intermediate option is quickly erected and relatively inexpensive polycarbonate greenhouses with frames of different strengths and, accordingly, prices ranging from thin profiled galvanized iron to high-power welded structures (with or without foundation).
In such a greenhouse, cacti can be placed during the spring and autumn season, while the temporal boundaries of placement can be extended by 1,5-2,5 a month compared to the greenhouse - up to 7 months in central Russia.
Its main drawback is the need to remove the plants with the onset of frost. Probably, such a greenhouse alone will not be enough if both plants that love strong temperature drops and more heat-loving plantsvisibly suffering from cold.
The way out of this situation is the construction of an additional greenhouse for cold-loving species.
The most convenient option is a year-round heated greenhouse, which will allow, without much fuss, calmly and steadily, year after year, grow and multiply the collection. The disadvantages of this option are quite high initial costs for design and construction, as well as relatively high operating costs.
Design issues must be approached with the utmost seriousness. Otherwise, any small design errors can lead (at least in the first years) to large losses, which will require additional forces and means to eliminate these errors.
Year-round greenhouse allows you to extend the growing season to 7-8 months (compared to 4-5 months in an unheated seasonal greenhouse), which seriously accelerates the process of growing cacti from seeds to adulthood and flowering.
So, for example, in the conditions of a seasonal greenhouse, one can obtain own-rooted and flowering Tephrocactus geometricus in the fourth season, and in a year-round greenhouse - in the third season (reduction of the growing time by 25%).
Currently, year-round greenhouses are becoming more and more in Russia, and especially in Ukraine, so they are not so difficult to see with my own eyes and to receive competent advice, both on their construction, and on design and operation.
However, thinking about the greenhouse and the concomitant expansion of the collection, do not forget about the main thing. A large and modern greenhouse greatly simplifies the life of a cacti collector, but not enough to significantly reduce its own time spent on maintaining the collection.
The growth of the collection will be accompanied by a constant increase in not only the money spent, but also the forces to maintain it. And it is very disappointing to make sure that the most magnificent conditions for growing are not able to compensate for the lack of proper attention of the collector to the plants.
A good greenhouse itself is not an absolute guarantee of the excellent quality of the plants housed in it.
This video details the cultivation of cacti: