Better to set the record straight right away: the topic of compositions has very little to do with the spirit of this site. In fact, we are just the opposite: on the one hand, the spartan approach that aims to obtain plants similar to those in habitat and that is the basis of my cultivation method; on the other hand, cultivation for aesthetic purposes only, which I do not practice but which we know very well is widespread. But life, as you know, is never all black or all white; some nuance must always be there…. So, here is an article accompanied by a video of mine on how to make a simple succulent plant arrangement. After all, an eye for aesthetics never hurts, and even I, who love “lived-in,” nature-like plants, do not disdain a well-done composition, as long as it is no-frills and made with respect for the needs of the individual plants. Warning: the theme may seem obvious and the subject matter very simple, but it’s not so and you will understand why in the next lines.
Assuming that in plant compositions everyone is free to do what they want, this is just an aesthetic field, that is, related to personal taste, if you want to make compositions that will last over time and that will not make the plants suffer or die quickly, it will be wise to choose the right essences judiciously and place them in the correct substrate.
Let’s see in this article how to correctly choose the plants for our compositions (…)
Continue reading “Compositions with succulents: how to choose plants and what is important to know”
Who hasn’t happened at least once to observe in some office, apartment or even non-specialized nurseries (or garden) those cone-shaped cacti with thin spines and pale green stem? Cacti with a rounded base and an elongated apex, tapered to the point of giving the plant an almost pyramidal shape. The novice grower may think that is the normal bearing of the plant, but the grower with some experience – or even just a critical mind – usually is horrified at such plants. If anything, he or she may be saddened, because he or she knows full well that that is not the normal bearing of the cacti at all, but simply the outcome of what is technically called “etiolation” or, commonly, “spinning.” By the way, the photos above and those accompanying this article are of plants in a nursery and not mine, I want to make that clear right away!
Why does this fate happen to some cacti? How to avoid etiolation and how to distinguish it from normal growth or from growth that is simply dissimilar to normal? Is it possible to remedy the damage caused by spinning on a cactus? We answer these questions in the following article. (…)
Continue reading “When the cactus “spins”: what is etiolation, how to prevent it and contain the damage”
Even in Northern Italy or, generally speaking, in Europe, September is usually a good time for cacti and succulent plants in general. Temperatures drop considerably, there is still plenty of light, and many plants start to vegetate again after the slowdown or stagnation of August when the highs are very high, and many succulents stop to save energy. However, September is also an important month ahead of the fall and winter season, when cacti and succulents stop growing altogether and allow themselves a long period of “rest” while waiting for the new growing season. It’s therefore decisive to accompany the plants on their journey and make the right treatments to arrive in the fall with healthy specimens and ready for the months of drought. Fundamental, for example, is the irrigation regime in this period.
In this article, we see what you need to do this month for keeping cacti and succulents in perfect health, even preparing them for winter diminishing the risk of rot and loss.
Continue reading “September is a brilliant month for all cacti, but pay attention to proper care ahead of autumn”
Mammillaria, Turbinicarpus, Ancistrocactus, Echinocereus, Lobivia. These are just some of the many kinds of cacti that bloom in the month of April, in late spring. In this time of year, with the increase in temperatures and with the first waterings, it can be said that the cactus blooms really come to life to follow one another continuously until summer.
In this photo gallery we see some of the blooms of these days in my greenhouse.
Continue reading “From mid-April the cactus blooms come to life: a photo gallery”
Bright blooms, fleshy and brand-new leaves, sparkling spines sprouting from the vegetative apices: for succulent plants, spring represents a real rebirth. Here in Europe, the vegetative stasis that characterizes the winter of most succulent families ends between the second half of February and the beginning of March, when the plants gradually resume vegetation and reactivate the root system. For some families, the restart is evident: this is the case of Cactaceae, which already in February show new spines and often the first flower buds (genera such as Stenocactus, many species of Turbinicarpus, some Mammillaria, etc.). Also, leafy succulents such as Crassula, Echeveria, Portulacaria, Aloe, Adenium are well-known for producing new shoots, new branches and leaves. For other species as the Agavaceae family, the recovery is less evident: it slowly forms fresh sprouts at the centre of the apical rose, destined to be noticed only in a few months, when the separation of the true leaves will take place.
Whether the recovery is sudden and flashy or slow and hidden, in March it’s essential to devote some extra care to succulents: in this way, it will be possible to obtain healthy and robust plants that show their full potential development and flowering.
Now let’s see everything we can do at this time of the year, especially if we don’t have a greenhouse and we grow on the windowsill, on the balcony, on a terrace or in the garden. With a warning: whatever you have to do, with succulents and cacti, you must not be in a hurry: hurry to water, hurry to treat, hurry to move the plants… Getting caught up in the rush, the anxiety, the fear of doing something wrong, is the best way to run into mistakes. So let’s see how to avoid them. (…)
Continue reading “Preparing cacti and succulents for spring: exposure, fertilizing, here’s what to do”