When to pricking out cactus seedlings, how to do it correctly, and what potting soil to use

Speaking of cactus sowings, a classic question, and one not infrequently asked with a fair amount of (unnecessary) apprehension, is: after how long should seedlings be repotted? In other words, when do the young seedlings need to be repotted and perhaps divided into individual pots? Again, as with many other “cactophilies matters”, the answer depends on various cultivation factors. Based on experience, however, it is possible to give general indications useful to those who experiment with sowing for the first time.

Let’s see in detail, in this article, everything we need to know about this fundamental step for the proper growth of plants from our sowing. (…)

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Mammillaria luethyi, the incredible story of its discovery in the Fifties and tips for growing it

Unlike what usually happens with cacti, Mammillaria luethyi was first observed by a researcher not in its habitat but in a… coffee can. Weird? Wait until you read the whole story, then. Yes, because the discovery of this species of Mammillaria is relatively recent (half of the Fifties of the twentieth century) and still today we cannot certainly define it as a widespread plant in cultivation or regularly available on the market. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most fascinating species among Mammillaria, one of the most intriguing and undoubtedly the one having the showiest flowering, and at the same time delicate and charming.

As a counterbalance to these qualities, there are some difficulties in cultivation and the tendency of the root to rot: these aspects, in addition to the slowness in growth, make M. luethyi reserved for pure enthusiasts and experienced cactophiles, although with not a few difficulties.

The following article was published in Volume 61, Issue 2 (May 2021) of the Journal of The Mammillaria Society. Thanks to the editors for their welcome publication.

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Blooming cactus, a roundup of images and how to make artistic photographs

Looking for photographs for some upcoming articles, I came across some old shots of my cacti in bloom. With a good digital camera and the right perspective, able to bring out the natural shadow in the background, cacti in full bloom are truly unbeatable “models” for artistic photos. You only need to find an illuminated area, place the plant so that the background is almost completely in the shade, so as to be black or otherwise shaded, and that’s it. There are also those who place a cloth or a black card behind the plants, but if you can simply get the natural shade it is even better because it can give the photo those dark shades that a completely black background is not able to provide.

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