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Monthly Archives: August 2016

All about Cactus

Incomprehensible and assorted, it is difficult to give general minding tips to the prickly plant and succulent gathering. Rather, we should start by distinguishing your species. From little and fragile to bigger and all the more striking, there is a desert plant to suit each home. The most ordinarily known identifier of desert flora plants, is their capacity to store water for drawn out stretches of time. Prickly plant are referred to numerous as one of few plants that can make due in the dry situations of pastry land. What individuals don’t know is that it isn’t as easy to take care of a prickly plant as you think.

# Identifying Your Cactus

All types of cacti are succulents, however the defining factor of cacti are there areoles, which are not found in succulents. It is important to identify the specific species of cactus you are planning on keeping. For example, while many succulents grow in low moisture, high temperature, sunny climates, as seen in wild west films accompanied by cowboys and tumble weeds, some succulents actually grow in the rainforest (such as Epiphyllum). Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the native environment in which your succulent thrives, to provide the best possible growing conditions and achieve the best results.

# Different Cactus Types

  • Aporocactus Flagelliformis – Rat’s Tail
  • Cereus Peruvianus – Peruvian Apple
  • Opuntia Microdasys – Bunny Ears
  • Schlumbergera Bridgesii – Christmas
  • Hatiora Gaertneri – Easter Cactus
  • Disocactus Ackermannii – Orchid
  • Echinocactus Grusonii – Golden Barrel Cactus

# Creating the Ideal Environment for Cactus

Once you have identified your cactus type, you need to create the right environment for it. You are looking for an open and free draining pot, this will prevent waterlogging and best recreate the ideal habitat for your succulent. Cactis and succulents can be stored on a window sill all year round in the most part, however certain species such as Rhipsalis need to be positioned in a semi-shade environment, so ensure that you adhere to the requirements of your cactus. In terms of temperature, it is ideal to have a minimum of 8-10°C (46-50°F) at night time.

# Watering & Feeding Your Cactus

The appropriate ways to care for your houseplant varies depending on the time of year. From April, water frequently and allow excess to drain away. In winter however, watering can be reduced. The key is to allow the compost to dry out between watering sessions, this applies all year round. If possible, water using tepid rainwater as the minerals in tap water can build up and cause deposits, damaging the leaves of succulents.

Some species of dessert-cacti can be left without water between November and February, so do your research to ensure your water correctly. During this time, winter-flowering succulents will need to be keep warm and be watered regularly, followed by a resting period in the summer. In the summer months try to provide adequate ventilation for your succulent(s). Finally, in terms of feeding, do so once a month throughout April to September.

# Pruning Cacti

Depending on the specie of houseplant that you have, pruning can help you make the most out of your cacti. Not always a necessary process, but when needed pruning can help maintain a fresh shape and look to your cactus. The occasional tidy can neaten outgrown specimens and thin over crowded areas. To further look after your cactus, the occasional dust can help keep the houseplant looking fresh, use a clean dust cloth when necessary.

# Potential Cactus Problems

There are a number of things to look out for when growing cacti and actions you can take to limit potential problems. Here are the most common:

# Cactus Planting Conditions

As emphasised throughout this article, the conditions in which you grow and care for your cactus greatly affect their health. Watering especially deserves particular attention, for example, too heavy watering can cause stunted growth and cause blistering. While, not watering enough can result in limited growth and shrivelling.

As well as temperature and watering routines, humidity and brightness should also be monitored to prevent potential problems. In situations where humidity is too high or the area is too bright, Cactus Corky Scab can be a result. Signs such as brown patches are an indicator, these then gradually shrink and form a scab. To prevent further scabbing, subtly reduce the humidity and light – however do not do so abruptly as this can cause undesirable affects.

# Cactus Pests & Diseases

White patches may indicate Mealybug, while bronzed patches may be indicative of glass house red spider mite. Scale insects can be spotted on sighting of patching visible on the stems and leaves. Rot is a common problems amongst the succulent family, with diseases such as Erwinia, fusarium and botrytis often causing infection in under or over watered plants. Another cause can be cold temperatures. If you suspect your cactus may have contracted one of these common diseases, treat with a fungicide as soon as possible.

Do-it-Yourself Raised Flower Bed

# What you need :

  • 2 x wooden planks for the sides
  • 2 x wooden planks for the ends
  • Wood screws suitable for outdoor use
  • An electric drill

Note: raised flower beds should be between 6 and 12 inches high to give your plants adequate space for the roots to grow, so as a guide, the width of your planks needs to fall somewhere in this region. For flowers, the shorter end of this range will usually suffice.

# Method :

  • If possible, use a flat surface such as a patio, driveway or garage floor.
  • Lay out your planks in a rectangle, exactly how you’re going to be fitting them together
  • Take one of your end planks and place it flush against the end of one of your side planks, to form one corner of your planter
  • Using your electric drill, pre-drill holes straight through your end plank and into the end of your side plank – for a six inch high planter one at the top and one at the bottom will be enough, but for anything taller add one in the middle too. (Pre-drilling reduces the chances that the wood will split, and improves the hold of the screw.)
  • Repeat for all four corners of your planter, until you have something resembling flat-pack furniture – four pre-drilled planks with a corresponding screw for each hole
  • Now, using the pre-drilled holes and your drill, screw the planks together, one corner at a time – and your planter is complete!

# Pefect Placement For Your Raised Flower Bed

Unless your raised flower bed is narrow enough that you can reach the far side easily, consider leaving a little space around it for access. Avoid any area of your garden that sees heavy footfall. When deciding where to place your raised flower bed, choose somewhere that gets a lot of sunshine year round.

Once you’ve decided where your raised bed is going, you need to prepare the area. This means clearing weeds and preferably any large rocks or stones. If using an area that is currently lawn, you can place your riased bed on top and score around it as a guide to show you exactly where you’re going to have to remove turf from.

The Proper ways to Watering Plants

watering-plantsOrdinary precipitation will keep most plants developing in open air quaint little inns glad for the majority of the year. Just in hot, dry summers supplementary watering is required. Plants developing in pots, hanging crate, tubs, window boxes and different holders will require watering routinely.

# Water roots not surface

In the event that your garden is experiencing dry spell, water plants altogether once per week as opposed to damping the surface each day. Every day spills that simply wet the surface simply urge roots to create close to the surface. On the off chance that you sink a pot or tube next to plants the water you convey will go a few centimeters subterranean level where it goes instantly to roots bypassing the surface.

You can get a specialized extension to convert any standard hose into a versatile and useful watering device. They have a switch for either watering only or watering and feeding, and a rotating rose head that gives three different spray patterns; a soft and easy sprinkler for delicate flowers; a high volume jet for established shrubs, plants and lawns and a flat wide spray pattern for beds and borders.

# Plants growing in outdoor beds and borders

Shrubs, trees and herbaceous plants: Most permanent trees, shrubs, fruit bushes and plants that appear every year have a good deep root system. You can help water retention of the soil with a

 mulch 

of organic matter applied around the root area each year. This reduces waste from surface evaporation and will gradually be pulled down below the surface by worms to increase the water-holding capacity of all soils. Apply in early spring when soils are thoroughly wet.

Flowering bedding plants: Flowering bedding plants and vegetables growing in garden soil will need watering occasionally as they have a limited root system. Depending on the weather, they may need watering once a week in a normal year, and more frequently in a summer drought.

Fruit and vegetables: Moist soil conditions are top priority when plants are small and again when the crop is swelling. See that seedlings and small plants are well watered just after they have been transplanted. If you add a dose of soluble plant food to the watering can you will also be feeding the young plants when they need it most. Watering fruit plants and bushes as the fruit swell is beneficial if rainfall is lacking. Some vegetables including runner beans, tomatoes, marrows, courgettes and sweetcorn will produce a heavier crop if they are given supplementary watering.

# Plants growing in pots and containers

Flowering bedding plants: Plants growing in hanging baskets, pots, window boxes and other containers will need watering as the compost dries out. In the height of summer this may mean watering daily. To reduce evaporation from terracotta pots, line them with polythene before planting. Planting in good potting compost will help watering because the material will absorb twice as much water as ordinary multi-purpose composts. For thorough watering a saucer below each pot will retain water for some time and be gradually absorbed by the compost from below. Tip out any excess that sits in the saucer for more than 1 hour.

Vegetables: Plants that appreciate good drainage and regular feeding will produce a good crop when grown in pots and containers. Tomatoes, chilli pepper, sweet peppers, French beans and aubergines are guaranteed performers when grown in an assisted vegetable growing kit. While runner beans need a larger container such as a half barrel to provide the cool root run that they prefer. Again use the best compost you can afford and keep the compost moist at all times.

Roses and shrubs: Keep the compost moist at all times as dryness at the roots will tend to encourage powdery mildew to form on rose leaves.

Acid-loving plants: If you are growing rhododendrons, azaleas and other acid loving plants in containers plant them in an ericaceous compost and try to use rain water stored in a water **** to keep the compost moist at all times. Rainwater is naturally acid whereas some drinking water is generally more alkaline. If your kettle furs up, then your tap water is hard and not really suitable for use on acid-loving plants growing in pots.

# Feed your garden in just 15 minutes

Watering patio pots, hanging baskets and flowering garden plants is an essential part of modern-day gardening and most of us have a hosepipe to help with the job. Now it is possible to purchase an extension feeder that can be quickly fitted to the end of any standard hose and turns it into a valuable watering and feeding tool.

These feeder extensions come complete with a free hose connector and is filled with plant food so it is ready to use when you buy it. Features include an on/off trigger set into the easy-grip ergonomic handle with locking device, a switch for either watering only or watering and feeding, and a rotating rose head that gives three different spray patterns; a soft and easy sprinkler for delicate flowers; a high volume jet for established shrubs, plants and lawns and a flat wide spray pattern for beds and borders.

The plant feeding extension is designed to automatically dissolve and dispense soluble plant food and soluble lawn food. Feeding or watering the whole garden in just a few minutes is now effortless and fun – it can take only 15 minutes to treat the average sized garden.