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#779378 - 08/26/12 11:42 PM How about a Cactus container or two?
Lestie - ContainerGardens Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 1028
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hello there Everybody,

Hope you are personally well, there seems to be so much that is testing us all at the moment what with the time of the year, the temperatures, the drought, hurricanes and devastation and so much more. I send my best thoughts to all who find themselves in any of these difficulties.

Are you too busy to garden? Not got much time at all but still want to grow something? Do have time and space and inclination but just beginning and want something easy to begin doing?

Well, to start off your thinking what about a low maintenance cactus and succulent container or two, maybe this is just the answer to your world tension.

Besides, maybe you do have time to garden, and you already grow things but just have not really thought about setting up a cactus patch or pot as yet.

Do you have a favourite cactus plant or succulent? Tell us here please - could be your favourite is one we have not seen or heard of before?

Cheers


Edited by Lestie - ContainerGardens (10/16/12 07:57 PM)
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Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

Container Gardening Site

Container Gardening Forum

"Things GARDENING are great ... they are my daily smiles on toast!" - Jennifer St John-Rose, formerly black thumb recently turned green.

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#793180 - 11/18/12 02:07 PM Re: How about a Cactus container or two? [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
Lestie - ContainerGardens Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 1028
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hi to you all,

I am looking for some ideas for cactus plants that creep or fall? Do you have any in your garden? or have you seen any? Am thinking of setting up a series of patterned containers using different heights and colours of succulents and cacti and when all is planted and looking good, I will tell you all more.

But for now, I would be pleased to hear from you re hanging ones that you know about, have seen or grown. Came across 'jelly beans' the other day ... pretty, colourful, creeping and small bits of big fun!

Thanks for the nonce and cheers
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Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

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"Things GARDENING are great ... they are my daily smiles on toast!" - Jennifer St John-Rose, formerly black thumb recently turned green.

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#793236 - 11/18/12 11:19 PM Re: How about a Cactus container or two? [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
Lori-Dreams Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chipmunk

Registered: 07/27/12
Posts: 1963
I was surprised to learn that there are a number of cacti and succulents that *do* trail or creep! I was never into cacti or succulents (with the exception of Kalanchoe and Jade plant) but now I see this is due to how limited my exposure to these species has been.

Here are some trailing and creeping cacti and succulents:

Disocactus (rat tail cactus)
Disocactus phyllanthoides
Epiphyllum 'Fruhlingsgold'
Epiphyllum oxypetalum
Epiphyllum phyllanthus (atypical form)
Rhipsalis
Schlumbergera

Some have the most gorgeous flowers. There are more types but these, to me, are the prettiest.
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#793238 - 11/18/12 11:59 PM Re: How about a Cactus container or two? [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
Lestie - ContainerGardens Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 1028
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hello Lori,

Thanks for stopping by again and a big THANKYOU for the information you left behind!

Now my fun starts too!

Cheers
_________________________
Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

Container Gardening Site

Container Gardening Forum

"Things GARDENING are great ... they are my daily smiles on toast!" - Jennifer St John-Rose, formerly black thumb recently turned green.

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#796846 - 12/19/12 03:33 PM Re: How about a Cactus container or two? [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
SandraJ Offline
Jellyfish

Registered: 11/01/12
Posts: 116
Loc: Oregon
I like cactus and succulents but I've often thought it was too wet in Oregon to grown them. Any suggestions on what to grow? Definitely would have to be in containers. What kind of soil should I use? Do all cactus and succulents need to be grown in warm weather? We don't get much snow here, but once or twice in the winter we may have a little snow that stays on the ground overnight. We do get lots of "almost freezing" temperatures and frost.

Thanks for any ideas!

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#799233 - 01/06/13 07:05 AM Re: How about a Cactus container or two? [Re: Lestie - ContainerGardens]
Lestie - ContainerGardens Offline

BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 1028
Loc: Johannesburg South Africa
Hello SandraJ,

I thought I would bring the mountain to you for a week or so - so I do hope you are visiting the forum often enough to read it all here - and by mountain I mean the article that goes with this thread.

There is a lot of info here, and in the meantime I will do some homework on the different cacti and succulent plants that will suit your cold climate needs.

By the way, what do you think of alpine flowers - they too are a good option for Oregon and similar low temp or snowy zones.

---------------------------------------------------------------

This post will only stay in this format for a week or so, so I hope you visit and gain somehow and that this makes something easier for your container gardening for a short while!

--------------------------------------------------------------

Cheers now

Not home much? Travel a lot? Work odd hours and weekends away? Treasure your black thumb but need something to grow? If you answered a yes for just one or two of these questions then maybe a cactus container garden would suit you.

It would be an easy waterwise project to set up and something interesting and alive to come home to –honestly, Cacti need low care and in exchange can offer delights and colour and achievement that many other plants in containers can’t. For those who haven’t considered this marvellous and wonderful cornucopia of plants which fall into this category, you are in for a treat … and once you venture into this horticultural patch you may be hard-pressed to leave it!

There’s life on them thar balcony and Cacti are easier to care for than Goldfish! I know.

We begin with a few words on Xeriscape (say zeriscape) gardening aka as Xerogardening aka Waterwise gardening; and for obvious reasons cacti fall under this heading.

Xerigardening covers smart water-wise garden practices and the use of those plants that do not need much water, or those that save water or those that allow you to use water with caution and wisely by smart placement or companion planting. And Cacti and many succulents belong here.

Anyway, it could be that you already know that there is more to being waterwise than just buying low maintenance plants that seemingly do not need much attention. Remember too that LOW maintenance is not NO maintenance so depending on your situation, you will need to choose carefully which plants to grow and where, as believe it or not, sometimes even a cactus garden may need watering twice a day. So, your particular needs and circumstances rule okay!

Why Cacti and succulents? See people really like this group of plants because:

• They are adaptable to heat, can take intense sunshine during the day and near freezing temperatures at night,
• They can thrive with little maintenance in dry climates and conditions, they are fascinating and sometimes challenging to ‘watch’ growing,
• They often have bright and wonderful coloured flowers and blooms,
• They come in all shapes and sizes, textures, and patterns, with and without thorns and are very often described as foundation plants in any garden space – they seem to steady the look,
• They are used actively in architecturally designed (minimalist) garden spaces,
• They can be and are fine examples of focus and feature plants too
• They can be eaten and used for many medical and healing purposes and
• They come in an almost infinite variety; your choice is nearly endless.

I am sure if we thought more we could come up with other reasons … they are oh-so-pleasing and I really love them. There are not many other whole groups of plants and flowers that have all these properties to offer the minimalist gardener so freely! So then, let’s see what it would take to set up this type of container garden.

First things first – your CONTAINER/S.
I suggest and recommend ceramic pots which can be glazed or not depending on the look you are after or just plainly prefer. Plastic in this instance is okay, but only that, just okay. So if plastic is what or all you have then fine, use them, though there are other considerations with plastic. Ceramic lasts longest and look nicest for the longest time properties you seek for cacti pots and containers.

Next - ask yourself some quick questions to determine the size of your containers and therefore the choice of plants you have and thereon the maintenance and care regimen

How big is your balcony or ‘garden’ space? Are you living in a high rise apartment block? Where will you place your pots? Can your balcony hold the weight (substantial in many instances)? What about the spread of your plant/s? What height? What light do you have? Can you move your containers during the winter and out of the snow? Can you protect them in other necessary ways? What about pot shapes – go for smaller wide tops for shallow roots or taller or thinner for larger and deeper rooted tall growers?

By the way, many a cactus likes to be pot-bound or shall we say likes a tight fit. They enjoy being really contained so repotting won’t happen often unless you are cultivating cacti for size. They take a long time to need re-potting being slow growers in general and that is why you see how the prices differ between sizes of cacti plants in the shops. Essentially you are buying time with the bigger well established plants that really fill their pots, spikes and all! Protection is required when repotting one of those … and quite frankly, if you really feel you want to repot one, I would go to a specialist and pay for the service (unless you are one of those specialists yourself!)

Other considerations to do with growing cacti and succulents include:

SOIL:
Two aspects to keep in mind here is good drainage and not too much fertiliser. It does seem odd maybe but many plants in this group suffer if their soil is too rich or fertile or contain too much compost or water retaining mediums. Root rot happens slowly so you may not realise that you are watering too much so use your gardening notebook or remember to water only as much as you need to and no more – you will kill will kindness and a clay soil!

To a soil-less potting soil (available from the garden centre) add coarse river sand or crushed gravel in a 3 to 1 to 1 mix. I live in an area here around Johannesburg in Gauteng province) with hot direct sun days but nothing that can be described as a desert region like our Karoo, so for my succulent garden patches and containers I will add some light garden loamy soil to stretch the soils or I just use a measure of my quick draining Bonsai potting soil mix. I have a garden club colleague who happens to travel a lot and she adds water retaining bits of that green stuff called oasis or gardening foam or florists foam. She has a signature cactus garden so I can only say this tip works.

CARE:
Low care not 'no' care and once you have set up your container cactus garden with care and forethought then your care-quotient is to ensure correct watering, and that’s it really. That and keeping it/them tidy. Trim back ground covers, cut away dead and dying leaves and spent flowers. I like to show off my cacti, so a nice stone surround with clean white stone chips may be a cliché of sorts, but are clichés because they work and look good – I think cacti are proud plants (but then maybe they don’t know it!) and should be gussied up accordingly.

FEEDING:
Well under soil I suggested that cacti and succulent don’t like a lot of pampering, and they don’t, but that does not mean they can’t do with some food sometimes. I say here then that my regimen includes some food for them every 4 to 6 weeks or so of organic and liquid seaweed or kelp-based food. As with other good governance in your container gardening, do not feed onto dried out soil … only feed when soil is still moist.

THEME:
An idea may be to grow like with like for more than just xeri-watering reasons. Maybe only white blooming plants, or pricklies, or spreaders, or something connecting to make your collection interesting and challenging in some way. Perhaps you will only grow plants endemic to your region, or maybe choose a mix and match approach by adding containers that soften the thorny cacti arrangements somehow like using flowering plants that need replacing more often. I saw a cactus garden the other day in which the house-owner had added small herb pots (parsley and fennel) into her cactus pots. It looked interesting and was one of the many little surprises she had on her patio.

WATERING:
For those just starting a cactus and succulent garden in containers, you will need to water more often to give your plants a chance to establish themselves and their roots a chance to set the plant as it were. Then once at home, a thorough wetting every 10 to 14 days or so (you be the judge in your area) will give them a real soaking with drip trays underneath to catch any extra water. Let them stand a while (say 20 minutes or so) in the water then use that water elsewhere in your pots (don’t throw it away, water your other plants with it). Remember to that if you have marked seasons, less water is required when it is cold … so cut back end of autumn into winter and very early spring while things are cooling down or warming up and your plants are dormant. In general, let your established plants dry out between waterings.

Do you live in a very cold climate? Winter protection is required as plants can freeze solid and die – so please use your common sense and if you have a greenhouse (or similar) or can move your plants then do so, protect them … you must and they will expect it from you!


Edited by Lestie - ContainerGardens (01/06/13 07:30 AM)
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Lestie Mulholland - Container Gardening Editor

Container Gardening Site

Container Gardening Forum

"Things GARDENING are great ... they are my daily smiles on toast!" - Jennifer St John-Rose, formerly black thumb recently turned green.

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