Succulents outdoor all year? Here are the ones that resist and the story of my “resurrected” Echinocereus

Many succulents, whether cacti or other succulent families, tolerate the cold well. Not all cacti and not all succulents, of course, but many species can face the winter without problems even outdoors not only in the regions of Southern Italy, but also in many European states or in Asia and in northern America. The story of the Echinocereus laui in the photo above contains a very important lesson from this point of view. With the exception of epiphytic cacti (Schlumbergera, Epiphyllum, Rhipsalis, etc.), for species such as Melocactus and Discocactus and for succulent plants native to Madagascar or some African regions (Adenium obesum, Uncarina, Aloe, many Euphorbia and almost all Asclepiadaceae), many succulents can spend the winter months at temperatures close to zero Celsius degrees, as long as the soil remains dry at least from October to the end of March. However, there are some cacti and some succulents capable of surprising us and surviving the rigors of winter without problems, in some cases even in damp soil (therefore partly exposed to the elements).

Among these, some species of Echinocereus, as the plant you see in the photo, which I had given up for dead, and whitch instead was reborn after two winters spent entirely outdoors, exposed to the cold and humidity whitch characterizes northern Italy. In this article here is the history of this plant and a brief overview of the succulent plants that we can keep outdoors all year round. (…)

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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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Be careful of winter blooms: rot can start from here. Here are the species at risk

Unfortunately it is a less rare phenomenon than one might think. The flower itself, the maximum expression of the plant, its instrument for reproducing and safeguarding the species, can transform itself into its executioner. With cacti, plants that require seasonal rest corresponding to the winter months, the flower can sometimes be fatal. It obviously only happens with those species that flower in mid-winter, therefore a small minority compared to all cacti. But it is often precisely from there, from that flower that blooms in November, December or January, that the rot is triggered and which, if neglected or not seen, can lead the specimen to death. This is what happened to two of my Ferocactus latispinus in recent days. Or rather, in the past few weeks, except that the damage has become apparent recently. And now it was too late to intervene and save the plants.

In this article we look into this phenomenon and see what can be done to prevent it or, at least, be able to intervene before the rot passes from the flower to the plant. (…)

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