Spring is here, what to do with cacti and succulents? All out or is it better to wait?

Spring, the so-called beautiful season, has now begun: what to do with cacti and succulents? Should you take plants kept indoors outside during the winter? Remove covers or layers of non-woven fabric? Resume watering? Fertilize plants?

Spring is the season of recovery for all plants, and succulents are no exception. Many species are already in full bloom, such as Stenocactus, Strombocactus, many Turbinicarpus and several Mammillaria. Be careful, however, there is a difference between flowering and vegetative growth: a plant can flower even if it has not fully resumed vegetating. Simply, this is its flowering period and the plant respects it even if it is still coming out of the winter “dormancy” state. As regards temperatures, obviously there is a big difference based on the area in which it is grown, so in some regions of the South the night-time minimums can already be above 10 degrees, while in the North we still have relatively low values, around 2 or 3 degrees. This factor is fundamental to understanding whether we can move our plants outside or not. Equally important is the time to resume watering. Can we start watering cacti and succulents these days or is it better to wait a little longer? Finally: with the start of the summer, is it necessary to carry out some treatments with plant protection products or can this practice be avoided?

Let’s see everything in detail in the following article, so as to move correctly and avoid problems or rot damaging the plants. (…)

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Here comes autumn: what treatments can we do to protect succulents and reduce losses?

With the beginning of autumn almost all succulent and cacti begin to prepare for the vegetative stasis which will last until February/March. In the winter months, cacti (with some exceptions such as Melocactus, Discocactus and epiphytes such as Epiphyllum) and many succulents (with the exception of those originating from the southern hemisphere or areas such as Madagascar) stop growth and go dormant to recover energies and be able to flourish during the following season. In these months the plants should be kept cold and should not be watered. However, it is useful to carry out some preventive treatments to prevent the formation of mold or fungi during these months, thanks to the winter humidity, which, when the temperature start to rise, triggers rot. Warning: preventive treatments with chemical products can be useful but do not necessarily have to be carried out. It is simply a preventive measure, since the best form of defense is always the spartan cultivation of plants accompanied by a good exchange of air during autumn and winter. There are growers who limit these treatments to the essentials, perhaps favoring products with a low environmental impact (I myself have adopted this decision for years) and growers who abuse chemical products in the hope of thus making their plants invulnerable to animal parasites, fungi and mold.

In this article, which completes what has already been explained in other articles (which you will find thanks to the internal links) we see what is advisable to do in these weeks to protect the plants and limit losses due to rot or parasites as much as possible. (…)

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Where to keep succulents in winter? Outside, on a landing or in the house? A practical handbook


A practical handbook and an in-depth analysis on a much debated topic among those who grow succulent and/or cactus plants. Here’s what you’ll find by reading this article, designed specifically to help those who, with the first drops in temperatures, are starting to wonder where to place their succulents when the real cold arrives. Unless you have a greenhouse, perhaps equipped with a burner regulated by a thermostat, the question is in fact more than pertinent: during the winter it is better to keep the succulent plants outside (sheltered from the rain), or in a cool environment such as a landing, an internal staircase or even a garage? Or should we bring all the plants indoors? It is good to clarify immediately that the answer to these questions cannot be tranchant or “absolute”: obviously the correct winter location depends on many factors, starting from the area in which the plants are grown (North or South Italy? North or South Europe? Sea or high mountains?) to arrive at the type of plant (Cactaceae, succulent native to Africa or Madagascar? Sempervivum, Crassula, Euphorbia?). In short, the range of cases is very broad and as always there are no absolute rules. Luckily there are many fixed points and many precautions that should be respected to ensure that our succulents pass the winter securely and take advantage of the vegetative stasis to be able to flower again the following year.

The following article answers these questions, and you will also find an indication of the correct measures to be taken to ensure that cacti and succulents overwinter in the best possible way, have abundant blooms and, above all, you’ll find a practical handbook with an indication of the best location for cacti and succulents organized in alphabetical order, so as to facilitate the identification of the plant, understand in which minimum temperature range it can stay and where it can be placed (for example outside, on a landing, or directly inside the house). (…)

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Sowing cacti: how to prepare plants for the first winter and the “trick” to help them in the first few months

For any plant enthusiast, whether succulent or not, planting is an extremely important point of arrival. An arrival point which, in many cases, soon turns into a starting point which accompanies the enthusiast for most of his life. It is undeniable that there is no comparison between a purchased plant and one we have seen born, grow and develop from a tiny seed, even more if we have collected that seed from one of our plants. This is somewhat the “magic” of sowing: closing a circle born of a flower with another flower, the one produced by the plant originating from that first seed that we have been able to germinate, become a plant and lead to full maturity. And all this without going into detail about the satisfactions that are obtained by trying to select particularly interesting species, from flowers of unique colors to peculiar or almost unique thorns or stem shapes. As regards the procedure for sowing cacti and succulents, many novice growers “get lost” in the proverbial glass of water right after the phase least subject to our control, i.e. germination: we cannot in fact force a seed to germinate, although there are good practices that favor the birth of plants.

For many, however, the critical issues begin after that moment, that is to say in the first months of life of the plants, which are indeed delicate months because the seedlings are still weak and easily subject to rotting or parasitic attacks. It is above all to these growers that the following article is addressed, with a little “trick”, to be understood as advice, on how… to make life easier for seedlings and how to let them pass the first winter unharmed. (…)

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Towards summer: useful tips for taking care of cacti and succulents and avoiding nasty surprises

After an almost non-existent, anomalous and ugly spring (at least here in Italy), the temperatures have risen considerably and we are heading towards summer. In some respects, the most delicate period for cacti and succulents, i.e. the transition between the end of winter and the vegetative restart, is now behind us and the next few months will be rather “quiet” for those who cultivate these plants. In fact,  the main commitments will concern watering and fertilization, since repotting should by now be completed and treatments against pests and parasites can be given when necessary and not systematically. Even in the period of full vegetation of cacti and succulents, however, there are pitfalls and there are some elements and factors of cultivation to be taken into due consideration.

We see them in detail in the following article (…).

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