Pots and inert in the cultivation of succulents: can we recycle them or is it better to throw everything away?

Autumn comes into full swing and with the arrival of cold days, succulents plants require less “attention” from us. In this period, at least in Northern Italy or in middle-north Europe, the plants must already be in their winter location, protected from bad weather and excessive cold. There is time for repotting, since it is better to wait until mid or late winter for this type of operation. Watering is obviously suspended and all we have to do is carry out some preventive treatments to protect the succulents from fungi and mold during the winter months. So, what better time than this to dedicate yourself to tidying up the pots, jars, soil and materials needed for the substrates? And this is where a far from banal question arises for many growers: pots and aggregates (inert) are expensive, is it really worth throwing them away and buying new ones or is it possible to recycle all this material? The answer, clearly, is yes: recycling is a must, but be careful, under certain conditions and making sure that everything we are going to reuse is perfectly clean and free of parasites, spores, mold, dust, etc.

The following article is dedicated to this theme, which goes into detail about the cleaning and sterilization of vases (plastic and terracotta) and the materials used for the substrates (pumice, lapillus, gravel, etc.) which have been set aside after the last repottings carried out in recent months. (…)

Continue reading “Pots and inert in the cultivation of succulents: can we recycle them or is it better to throw everything away?”

Repotting a succulent plant: what to do afterwards and how long to wait before wetting the soil

Anyone who has been cultivating succulent plants for a long time – whether they are cacti or other succulents such as Crassula, Euphorbia, etc. – knows well what should be done after transplanting, and he certainly knows that these plants should not be watered immediately at the end of this operation. However, there is repotting and repotting: there is the “invasive” one and the one that involves simply moving a plant from one pot to another. There is repotting which involves total cleaning of the roots and that which involves only a superficial cleaning of the old soil. In short, there are many situations and one can proceed in various ways. However, there are some fixed points and they must be respected if we want to avoid the risk that following this operation the plant will go into stress or, in the worst case, die following a rot that started right from the roots.

This is why this article, certainly useful to the novice, can prove equally useful to the long-term grower. In fact, here we will see the various types of possible repotting, the precautions to use and, above all, what to do (not only from the point of view of watering) once the repotting of a succulent is finished. (…)

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Abbonati
To continue reading the article LogIn or Subscribe

Expanded clay and peat: are they really two materials to avoid when growing succulents?

Hated, mistreated, seen with contempt, often carefully avoided. Expanded clay and peat are two highly contested and criticized elements among growers of succulent plants and cacti in particular. Net of the chatter from the Internet, are these really two materials that should be forgotten with the cultivation of this type of plant? The question remains open and every grower has his reasons, but there is a fact: on the Net, as far as expanded clay and peat are concerned, everything is said. Above all, it is said that they retain humidity excessively and for this reason they should be banned from the cultivation of cacti and succulents in general. It is said that they favor the onset of rot, that they do not let the roots breathe and much more. Why then do many serious nurserymen (and expert growers with them) still make extensive use of those elements? Simply because, as in many factors of cultivation, the point is not so much the material itself, but the type of use that is made of it.

In this article, let’s try to understand if expanded clay and peat are really such “dangerous” materials for cacti and succulents, if and how they can be used and what their real pros and cons are. (…)

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Abbonati
To continue reading the article LogIn or Subscribe

How to grow cactus: the handbook with the 10 things you absolutely need to know to avoid mistakes

Full sun? But what do you want to know, the window on the landing is enough! Substrate? I buy it ready at the supermarket, it’s perfect. The pots? The smaller the better: never leave more than half a centimeter between the plant and the edge of the pot… And so on, by dint of amenities, false beliefs, hearsay phrases that rapidly becomes dogma because… because it was said by that guy on Facebook and it’s immediately clear that he’s someone who knows about it because his videos has the right lights and Kubrick seems to have done the editing for him. Joking aside, how much nonsense do we still have to hear today about the cultivation of cacti? How many improvised “influencers” ride the crest of social media driven by the Mistral of likes (yes, likes, which in jargon are called “the metrics of vanity”…) and, supported by legions of followers and big thumbs up, they deliver lessons and conferences winking from the monitors, revealing “5 fantastic tricks you don’t know about cacti” or “how to go from seed to flowering plant in 35 seconds”. Or, with an attitude halfway between the conspiratorial and the revealer of esoteric secrets, they promise to teach you everything, absolutely everything about the cultivation of these splendid plants. Then, perhaps, you dig a little and discover that the influencer on duty has been growing cacti for 2 or 3 years – a gift from grandmother -, keeps them next to the PC or television (“you know, they absorb magnetic rays”), he can’t distinguish a Rebutia from a Begonia and has never bothered to leaf through any book on cacti and succulents. There are also influencers for plants, right? No. There are likeable and well-prepared characters, there are pretty faces who know something, but there is also a lot of “fluff” (forgive the old reporter’s term). So much wrong information, so much confusion and so much unpreparedness.

So, without any desire to offer you “The Word” with this article, here is a handbook, a list of ten things you need to know (or you should already know!) if you really want to cultivate your cacti in the best possible way. Without tricks or deceptions: here we are at the fundamentals, come on. But without these you go nowhere. And I am convinced that even those who, scrolling through the 10 points will say “ah yes, I know” ten times, will find in this handbook a useful tool for reviewing, asking themselves a few more questions and pushing themselves to improve. And rest assured, what follows does not come from the web, but from 30 years of experience in the field, of experiments and failures, from discussions with growers and scholars far more expert than me and from reading a few dozen manuals in Italian, English, French, Spanish (and also German, although in that case, I confess, I limited myself to photographs and captions, not knowing the Teutonic language!) (…)

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Abbonati
To continue reading the article LogIn or Subscribe

Compositions with succulents: how to choose plants and what is important to know

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”