PLANTING YOUR SEEDS:
With a little
patience and effort, you should have no problem raising beautiful cactus
from the seeds. Please remember that cacti seeds will sprout over a
period of time, so don't be disappointed when only a few first start to
sprout. The others will arrive given time. Usually most of the seeds
will sprout between 3-10 weeks.
heat will give faster results, but is not an absolute necessity. If you
can provide bottom heat, then by all means do so, if you cannot, then
use shallow containers that can be covered with glass or plastic. The
containers should be large enough to allow for 2 inches of crushed
gravel or sharp sand (aquarium sand will do fine, to facilitate
drainage. On top of the sand or gravel, you will need to place about 2
inches of sterilized soil.
We recommend a
mixture of 1 part sharp sand and 1 part peat humus. it is very important
that the soil is sterilized. Heating soil in an oven at 200 degrees for
15 minutes is a good way to assure it is properly sterilized.
Soak the soil
with water mixed with fungicide (if you have it). This will prevent
damping off later on. Allow excess water to drain off. Press seeds
lightly into soil and cover with about 1/8 inch of soil. Cover with
glass or plastic and place in warm location. Keep soil damp, but not
wet. We suggest misting the surface regularly.
After the seeds
have begun to sprout, leave the glass or plastic in place for about two
weeks. In the meantime make sure the container does not receive direct
sunlight as this may kill the plants. When the cover is removed, make
sure that the plants do not receive any strong drafts or sudden
temperature changes. It will take a couple of days for the seedlings to
TIPS ON CARING FOR YOUR PLANTS:
Never use tap
water or alkaline water. Rainwater is best but tap water that has set in
an open container for 2 days will be fine. This allows for the chlorine
additives that most municipal water systems use to evaporate from the
tolerate high alkaline soil. Check your soil for pH if you have problems
with cacti .
mixed in with your water often when watering. This will help prevent
"damping off," a soil borne affliction that has killed many a seedling.
Use very weak
solutions of plant food when feeding. Too much fertilize will distort
young seedlings to direct sunlight. They need bright, diffused sunlight.
way to kill a cacti is over watering it. Let soil dry out before
re-watering. Remember, these plants are natives to the desert.
susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, white flies and spider mites. Treat
soil with systemic insecticides and add paradichlorobenzene crystals to
soil if possible. Organic gardeners my prefer to use natural pesticides
or predator bugs when necessary.
If a plant
shows signs of rot due to over watering, cut out the affected part
If the top of
the plant is cut off, let the dismembered piece air dry for a few days
then repot. Often it will reroot itself.
is often a sign of too much sunlight. Move plants to a more protected
let plants spend first winter in original planter the seeds were sowed
in. If overcrowding will not allow this, try to disturb the roots as
little as possible.