Oldie Newbie Needs Help

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JohnWest
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Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Sat May 26, 2018 11:19 pm

Although I collected cacti as a kid, I’ve long forgotten anything I once knew.

Please can some of you cacti enthusiasts come to the aid of this ancient specimen which I have just inherited (I think it is going on 40 years old), as shown in the pictures below. I'm sure that this plant would benefit greatly from some TLC, perhaps drastic TLC? The pot is 120mm (5”) diameter

I’m guessing that it really needs ‘pruning’ and re-potting to restore its vitality, and a number of good cuttings could be obtained, but some expertise is needed to do this to best effect and that it would be easy to do a lot of harm. No one in our village gardening club was keen. I’m open to suggestions via the forum, but alternatively, if there are any members living in the North Oxfordshire area, I would be very happy to bring it along for some ‘surgery’.

Many Thanks

JW
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RAYWOODBRIDGE
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby RAYWOODBRIDGE » Tue May 29, 2018 9:44 pm

First thing to do John is put it into the daylight, that has been growing in the dark or deep shade, don't put it in bright sunshine just a place where it will get 2 or 3 hours sun to start with,
It could also do with repotting into a slightly larger pot, with a free draining compost, 50 percent compost 50 percent grit is a basic mix to start with.
Next year most off those thin pale green shoots can be cut off and thrown away. By then you will be in a better position to judge what you have got, and what you can do with it.
The shoot at the front of the photo has red spines at the top and I think most of the other stems would also have had them had it been it better light.
Ray

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Cactus only collection mainly from seed, Echinocereus incl.Wilcoxia and Peniocereus.
Echinocactus,Astrophytum,Ferocactus,Stenocactus,Thelocactus,Opuntia,Cleistocactus,Oreocereus, Lophophora & Ariocarpus. Also Rhipsalis, Lepisium and Disocactus
JohnWest
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Tue May 29, 2018 11:28 pm

Thanks Ray

For most of its recent lifetime, it was placed on the kitchen window facing directly south, so got 100% full sun.

Unfortunately, my house is such that it can only be in a north facing window or south facing window, for the last few months it's been close to a south-facing window, but perhaps only getting good light late in the day. I'm struggling to figure out the best way of keeping it.

Is there no chance of getting new plants from the various off shoots?
Thanks

J
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rodsmith
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby rodsmith » Wed May 30, 2018 8:37 am

JohnWest wrote:Is there no chance of getting new plants from the various off shoots?


Hi John

As an experimental measure I suggest you cut off (cleanly) the thin top growth on the tallest part of the plant and allow it to callous over (about a week). Then stand it on a pot or other container containing grit or cat litter, which is very slightly damp. You should see roots appearing after a few weeks at this time of year, then you can pot it into a free draining compost (John Innes No. 2 + grit should be ok). If this works to plan you will eventually get a normal diameter growth on top of the slender one which you can eventually remove and root separately. At that stage you can probably dispense with the existing plant.

Meanwhile, the area on the main plant where you have removed the top piece should sprout some new growth(s) after the top growth has been removed. Once this (or these) is/are large enough they can be detached and treated in the same way as the larger growth already removed. I hope this info is clear, if not please come back to me. Good luck.
Rod Smith

Growing a mixed collection of cacti & other succulents; mainly smaller species with a current emphasis on lithops & conophytum.
JohnWest
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Wed May 30, 2018 8:28 pm

rodsmith wrote:
JohnWest wrote:Is there no chance of getting new plants from the various off shoots?

At that stage you can probably dispense with the existing plant.


Hi Rod, thanks for that suggestion, but my top priority (might be a bit irrational, but never mind) is the well-being of the original plant.

Now, my un-informed guess was that would involve some pruning, and if the cuttings could be rooted, then that was a win-win outcome. But the 'parent' comes first.

J
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rodsmith
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby rodsmith » Thu May 31, 2018 7:45 am

JohnWest wrote:...but my top priority (might be a bit irrational, but never mind) is the well-being of the original plant.

Now, my un-informed guess was that would involve some pruning, and if the cuttings could be rooted, then that was a win-win outcome. But the 'parent' comes first.

J

"Pruning" cacti is a bit different from the pruning we undertake with our garden and other indoor plants. If you remove (prune) some of the growths on your main cactus plant, you will find that most or all of the remaining limbs will sprout and these will produce a myriad of smaller growths that will in time, if left, lead to a forest of new growths. Once a cactus becomes etiolated due to lack of light or winter growth in low light conditions, it is impossible to recreate its original shape except by rooting one or more of the offsets. It is your plant and you must do what you think best. I'm just pointing out the possible outcomes. I'll be interested in due course to see how this evolves.
Rod Smith

Growing a mixed collection of cacti & other succulents; mainly smaller species with a current emphasis on lithops & conophytum.
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Thu May 31, 2018 10:38 pm

OK Rod, your answer seems to confirm that I was right to get some expert input on this rather than just whip out my knife.

In his reply, RayWoodbridge suggested getting the plant back in to good light (which I have) and waiting till next year to do anything.

Is there an optimum time of year to do this kind of work? It’s an interesting option as it means I could duck out of having to make decisions now :wink: .

J
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Thu May 31, 2018 10:52 pm

Ray also suggested re-potting; do that now and go from 5 to 6 inch?

J
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rodsmith
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby rodsmith » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:11 am

The best time to re-pot or pot-on cacti is when they are growing, i.e. during the summer, so now would be ideal. Use a pot that is between one and two inches greater in diameter than the current one. Leave for a week after potting before you water to avoid root rot. Then place in a warm sunny position and wait to see what happens.
Rod Smith

Growing a mixed collection of cacti & other succulents; mainly smaller species with a current emphasis on lithops & conophytum.
JohnWest
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Re: Oldie Newbie Needs Help

Postby JohnWest » Sat Jun 02, 2018 1:38 am

OK Rod, I'll take a look and see if I have a decent 6 or 7" pot that's not in use.

We may be moving house later in the year, so doing something for this plant now is good; later on it may fall down (or off) the "to do" list!

J

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