Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How You can Set up a Cactus Garden

Cactus: a quick look

Cactus plants native to Americas come in all sizes and shapes and some with beautiful flowers – color ranging from white to yellow and red to magenta. The spines we see on them are only modified leaves. Almost all cactus plants have thick and fleshy leaves that help store water.

Some of them grow tall, tree-like. Others grow in short clusters; a few others develop like a single globule. Most of them grow in extremely dry conditions. Many species of cacti are ornamental plants.

Types of cactus

The desert cactus would certainly be the first recall to your mind. Another is jungle cactus that grows in rainforests and other environments.

Best time to develop your cactus garden

Early summer is the ideal season to develop your cactus garden. Spring is another excellent time of the year when cactus plants grow actively.

Materials you need

- Diverse cactus plants to create maximum interest and effect

- Cactus potting mix/soil with a mix of rough materials to aid fast drainage (consult with a gardening specialist to make the best soil recipe)

- A pair of heavy duty leather gloves

- A long-sleeved dress to keep thorny spines out of your way

Choosing cactus

Take into account climate, available space and the kind of growing conditions they require while you zero in on the variety.

Prepping cactus soil

If you are not going in for readymade cactus potting mix, make your own batch by mixing two measures of potting soil, two measures sand and one measure porous gravel. Compost and peat are good additions to make it nutrient rich. Top off with river rocks or aquarium stones for a finished look.

Planting tips

Cactus would love to thrive in your yard, if it is exposed to the hot sun throughout the day, and is covered with very dry sand. A sloped area is ideal that allows good runoff. You should plant cactus, in moderate seasons, preferably close to a wall, which can help reflect additional sunlight and heat on to it.

Dig the planting hole keeping the root system in mind. Space out to suit the particular kind and its physical dimensions. Set the plant into the ground; fill in with soil and turn on the hose to firm up the sand and keep the roots in position. Let there be moisture no more than just sufficient for a month for the plant to begin growth.

Cactus plants hate to sit in water. If you are going to plant in containers, make certain there are many drainage holes, covered by a layer of pebbles. Pebbles make proper drainage easy and keep the soil from clogging up the drainage holes.

Make it an annual routine to repot potted plants for a change of soil. Check the root system for possible pest infestation.

Maintenance and aftercare

Though cacti are tough plants that require low-maintenance, adequate light, warmth and ventilation are a must for them to flourish well. Put your cactus pots in sunny south- or west-facing window sills for best possible light.

Water adequately, in the growing season in spring and summer. Give them a good soak in each watering cycle, ensuring a good runoff. Allow sufficient gap between watering cycles to prevent root rot. Let the soil go completely dry before you take to the watering can.

In summer, you can water when you see a spot of dryness on the surface. Allow them to rest and go dormant in winter. Do not water on a rainy day.

Light fertilizing is recommended with a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing months. With good care, make cacti the exotic part of your landscape.