FlytrapCare Carnivorous Plant Forums

Sponsored by FlytrapStore.com

Discuss non-carnivorous plants here

Moderator: Matt

By Sundews69
Location: 
Posts:  2377
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#427288
Yesterday when I went to Home Depot I found these cute little guys
I will get a clearer pic later
I will get a clearer pic later
16725063272799102547263949850066.jpg (723.53 KiB) Viewed 803 times
It claims they're notocactus magnificus but idk if that's accurate. Could anyone confirm? I really just now the basics for growing cacti (very little water, lots of light, etc.) And I will do more research but does anyone have tips for this particular species?
Last edited by Sundews69 on Sat Dec 31, 2022 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By DragonsEye
Posts:  1009
Joined:  Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm
#427423
Take any given advice with a grain of salt (an old school saying for all you young whipper snappers out there) as different folks often have very different growing conditions.

I don't know how your winter sun is. Here in the "mitten," our winter sun is extremely weak and rarely seen. Any succulents or cacti I have sit on the chilliest windowsills I can provide and make due with whatever meager sun nature provides. Because the light they receive is so weak, I give them little to no water for weeks or even months at a time -- even if temps are higher than I would like for them. When they do receive water, they only get sips. This prevents them from growing which is my wintertime goal. Though my cacti/succs admittedly do look rather peaked and have lost leaves by winter's end, they, at least, aren't etiolated (which is a much more difficult issue to remedy).

Once warm spring/summer temps return, I'd also suggest repotting them into a much coarser, inorganic media. Currently, it is a safe bet that they are in a heavily peat-based media. A completely inappropriate media for cacti and most succulents.
By SDK1
Posts:  44
Joined:  Sun Dec 18, 2022 3:48 am
#427442
Yep, those are a trio (or hopefully a 3 headed clump) of balloon cacti. Notocactus magnificus syn. Parodia magnifica.

DragonsEye has it spot on regarding care in general, but especially winter care in climates where cacti can't stay outside. It all depends on your climate and conditions. Obviously the massive grow operations like Altman's and Costa can grow plenty of cacti and succulents in 100% peat and it works for them. If I were to do the same thing it would end in disaster. Gonna echo DragonsEye again and say that a coarser, more well-draining soil mix is probably the first order of business unless you live somewhere super hot and dry like Tucson. Think something similar to Bonsai Jack's. I make my own DIY version of Bonsai Jack's and it works okay for me. I use 1/3 crushed granite, 1/3 calcined clay, and 1/3 pine bark (the pine bark is contentious in some circles but it works for me).

General cactus care will do just fine for N. magnificus. Acclimate it to full sun slowly, cacti can and will burn in full sun, especially that hot afternoon sun from about 12:30-2:45. If you live somewhere it doesn't feeeze in winter, it can probably go outside now, barring any freak winter storm.

Heat, heat, heat. I use a heat mat indoors for the cacti that I want to keep growing without dormancy and it makes a huge difference. When you repot it (which I'm going to differ from DragonsEye on and say to do sooner rather than later, just my preference so I can investigate the root situation asap and I don't have a good track record with letting new acquisitions sit in the peat heavy mix they come in) make sure you let it sit in the new mix for 1-3 weeks before watering. This lets any damage to the roots callous over and heal first.

The "little water" sentiment regarding cacti care is a bit inaccurate imo. They looovve water, they just want the water to leave their root zone after they've been given a drink. Drench and dry is the best method (IMO) of watering cacti. They'll be fine for months without water but I usually water mine about every week in the summer or leave them out in the rain (based in the Midwest so lots of rain most of the year).

N. mafnificus is a really rewarding cactus to grow, grows fairly quickly and blooms relatively easily once it's mature. Clumps pretty nicely with age too.
Sundews69 liked this
By Sundews69
Location: 
Posts:  2377
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#427514
Wow, that's a lot of info, thanks!

For soil, can I use a tiny bit of peat with lots of perlite and silica sand? That's all I have right now. Or should I order some of those items you recommended? Also, how on earth do you repot these?! It seems impossible with all the spikes lol. Would you recommend I keep these all in the same pot or put them in their own? Do I need a bigger pot or is this one fine? I do plan to get a terracotta pot in the near future but I don't know which size.

The heat part worries me. Will 65-70F be ok for them temporarily? I also live in the Midwest (SE WI) so it is much to cold to have them outside. I have some very hot lights that I plan to grow petiolaris sundews under but that isn't ready yet and could be a while before it is.

So is this dormancy required like it is for VFTs? Is it a hot and dry dormancy or a cold and wet one?

How big are these when mature? Do you have a guess at how old mine could be? Is it close to flowering size?

Thanks for your help! I'm excited to get into cacti. My neighbor actually collected wild golden barrel cactus seeds while she was in Arizona a week ago. She said I can have some of the seedlings 😁
User avatar
By DragonsEye
Posts:  1009
Joined:  Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm
#427650
Sundews69 wrote: Mon Jan 02, 2023 4:46 am For soil, can I use a tiny bit of peat with lots of perlite and silica sand? That's all I have right now. Or should I order some of those items you recommended? Also, how on earth do you repot these?! It seems impossible with all the spikes lol. Would you recommend I keep these all in the same pot or put them in their own? Do I need a bigger pot or is this one fine? I do plan to get a terracotta pot in the near future but I don't know which size.
No peat. Perlite can be used though, personally, I have a strong dislike for the stuff. If the sand you have is very coarse, it might work. I pretty much use the same ingredients as SDK1: 1/3 crushed granite, 1/3 calcined clay, and 1/3 pine bark. The pine bark can be omitted -- just means you may have to water more often when it is hot. I would first try sourcing the ingredients locally before ordering online .... Considering the weight involved, shipping could get very costly.

For calcined clay, look for Turface MVP or Turface Quick Dry. Of the two, go with the MVP if you can find it. (It is a coarser material.) Check with local landscape companies or nurseries.

For crushed granite, check into any place that sells feed for farm animals. (You're in WI -- there's gotta be some close to you.) What you want is chicken grit. (Because chickens don't have teeth, they ingest gravel to help grind up their food in the gizzard.) Just check to see if the store has added/coated the grit with any vitamins or other supplements. You want just plain chicken grit. Turkey grit can be subbed if you're desperate but it is a LOT larger than chicken grit and so less desirable as an option.

For pine bark, you want fine grade bark. This you might find at a nursery but will more likely either have to make it or order it. It is used a lot by bonsai enthusiasts and some orchid growers so nurseries catering to those hobbies or Amazon may be your best bet. You can also make your own. Go to a thrift store like Salvation Army or Goodwill and by a cheap but sturdy blender. Buy some pine bark nuggets. Smallest bag you're likely to find would be a bag of orchid bark from Lowes or Home Depot or Menards. Put 2 or 3 nuggets in the blender and hit "chop" for a few seconds. Remove any pieces that are small enough. You want pieces that are around the same size as the chick grit ... roughly 0.5 cm across. Dump out any powder -- that will be useless for the cacti mix but may work as an addition to reg potting soil or just toss on the grass. Repeat as needed. (If the blender can handle more than a couple bark chunks at a time, go for it.) Btw, in said bag you will likely find horticultural grade charcoal and perlite chunks. If you break these in to smaller pieces (again about the size of the grit) you can add those to your mix. Just don't use the blender. It would likely obliterate the perlite and possibly the charcoal.

I would definitely go with a bigger pot once you have a coarse, fast-draining media created. You can use plastic or terra cotta. Just remember that media in a plastic pot will be much slower to dry out. As far as pot size, depends what they are currently in.

You can either leave them together or split them. If you split them, dust the cuts with cinnamon and leave them unpotted for a few days to allow the cuts to callous over.
Sundews69 wrote: Mon Jan 02, 2023 4:46 am The heat part worries me. Will 65-70F be ok for them temporarily? I also live in the Midwest (SE WI) so it is much to cold to have them outside. I have some very hot lights that I plan to grow petiolaris sundews under but that isn't ready yet and could be a while before it is.

So is this dormancy required like it is for VFTs? Is it a hot and dry dormancy or a cold and wet one?
Most cacti are opportunistic growers -- growing as long as conditions are favorable. So if you want them to grow throughout the winter, provide them with intense light for 10-12hr/day and heat. However, keep in mind that, like many perennials, cacti need a change of seasons in order to initiate bud development. Therefore, if they don't get a dormancy period, they are unlikely to bloom.

Never, EVER, subject a cactus (or most succulents or most "house" plants in general, for that matter) to cold and wet conditions. That is a lethal combination for them. Rot would likely quickly set in and before you even realize something has gone wrong, the interior of the cactus can turn into putrid, mush. If you want to allow a cactus to go dormant, keep it in a chilly -- 40's, 50's, even very low 60's -- (not freezing) location and DON'T water it. I told you what I do above with mine. If the temps in my apt were colder, I could get away withholding water for the entire winter. Under these conditions, you shouldn't have to do much by way of supplemental lighting. The light received on a windowsill or next to some sliding glass doors will be fine. If they do get supplemental lighting, just make sure it's only for about 6-8hrs/day. (Daylight is one of the most, if not the most, seasonal cue for plants you wish to bloom.) A warm dry dormancy can also be done but you will need to give sips of water now and then, and, again, day length should be shortened so the plant "knows" it's winter.
Sundews69 wrote: Mon Jan 02, 2023 4:46 amHow big are these when mature? Do you have a guess at how old mine could be? Is it close to flowering size?
No idea.
By Bug_cemetery
Posts:  185
Joined:  Tue Mar 08, 2022 11:48 pm
#427663
Do the Montmorillonite Clay products like Oil Dry or the stuff for horse stalls work for succulent mixes? It’s easy to find around here at farm stores in the $12-20/bag range. I found a source for turface but it’s a commercial landscape supplier 45 miles away and not easy for me to get to during business hours.
By SDK1
Posts:  44
Joined:  Sun Dec 18, 2022 3:48 am
#427749
Yeah, the clay products work fine, just give them a rinse first to wah the dust off. Generally don't want to sift those because they have silica sand in them and you don't want that stuff airborne unless you're wearing an N95 respirator at the least.

I personally use SafeTSorb. It's an oil dry product from Tractor Supply. The fragrance free non-clumping kitty litters work too. The stall dry products are cool too. One is pumice based and kinda dusty from what I hear so would probably benefit from a rinse. There's another stall dry/stall refresher product that's zeolite based that I'd love to try. Grain size might be a bit small though.
By Sundews69
Location: 
Posts:  2377
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#428005
@DragonsEye, if I find orchid/pine bark locally, does it need to be really small or can it be chunky? And could I add crushed Oyster shells (usually used for chickens) in addition to or to replace the calcined clay if we can't find any locally?
By SDK1
Posts:  44
Joined:  Sun Dec 18, 2022 3:48 am
#428028
Sundews69 wrote:
For soil, can I use a tiny bit of peat with lots of perlite and silica sand?
Going to break some rules in the cacti+succulent world and say yes. Here's my view: you can grow any plant in any type of soil, it just depends on what your desired level of convenience is. The most important thing to know for growing plants, but especially cacti and succulents in containers of any sort (with a drainage hole) is that particle size matters first, materials matter second. Most of the generally recommended soils for cacti have large particles. When people talk about a soil mix that drains well, they're typically talking about one that is like 85% composed of tiny rocks. Sometimes it's pumice, sometimes it's crushed granite, sometimes it's clay, but it's basically always some type of material that if you had to describe it you'd probably look at it and go, "well this is just a bunch of tiny rocks."

Large particles=large(er) pore spaces in between the rocks. Those large pore spaces allow gas exchange throughout the root zone (which is good and very necessary for arid plants) *and* it forces water to drain from the mix instead of staying waterlogged for days. Once the particle size of about 85% of a given mix is greater than 1/8", gravity becomes stronger than the capillary force of water. This means water will fully drain from the pot and you won't have a waterlogged area at the bottom of the pot, also called a Perched Water Table (PWT). The PWT is an area that's anoxic. Anoxic areas are where the bacteria and fungi most commonly associated with root rot thrive. Get rid of the PWT and you reduce the risk of infection quite substantially.

If you want to use a fine particled mix, you just need to engineer some workarounds.

Examples

- use a wick - A wick "fools" the water into thinking there is a lower place to flow to. It will draw water down, out of the pot, reducing the PWT and drawing fresh air into the root zone similar to a vacuum effect.

- use small pots, not much bigger than the current root mass - Water will sit *for days* in areas of the pot that aren't colonized by roots. Reduce the amount of space not colonized by roots and you reduce the potential for harmful microbes to proliferate.

- increase the light/heat - more light = more photosynthesis. More photosynthesis means more water utilized as a byproduct. Heat means... well you probably get that one

- increase airflow - again, probably self-explanatory

- use an airpot, a netpot, an orchid pot, a terra cotta, etc. - any pot that exposes more of the soil mix to air will aid in drying it doan more quickly. I will say, I don't have luck with terracotta pots without the use of a wick. The edges dry down very quickly but the central soil mass stays saturated so long that the roots don't grow there in my experience.

Using a fine particled mix, particularly a peat based one comes with ostensibly more challenges than a gritty one though. So it may be convenient to use what you have on hand but less convenient to try and cultivate it in such a mix for an extended period of time. When things go south in a fine particled mix, they tend to do so rapidly, leaving you with little time to salvage healthy plant material. You have a smaller margin of error than in a gritty mix. This is a tradeoff you have to consider and really what I'm getting at by saying, "you can grow anything in any soil, it just depends on your desired level of convenience."

Sundews69 wrote: That's all I have right now. Or should I order some of those items you recommended?
Up to you, I'd start looking for sources for some of the ingredients just to know.

Sundews69 wrote: Also, how on earth do you repot these?! It seems impossible with all the spikes lol.
I like using my old welding gloves. Real thick leather works alright with parodias usually. You can also use some old towels, some padded tongs or sonething like that. I ususlly just use my bare hands because I'm used to it and a bit of a masochist at this point I guess. Some cacti have unusual bacteria living on the tips of the spines that cause your body to release endorphins when they get ya. Bit of a rush.

Sundews69 wrote: Would you recommend I keep these all in the same pot or put them in their own?
Up to you, they'll grow fine either way. Personally I love clumps.

Sundews69 wrote: Do I need a bigger pot or is this one fine? I do plan to get a terracotta pot in the near future but I don't know which size.
Small particle mix --> pot not much bigger than the existing root mass. Large particle mix --> whatever you want *in theory*. I usually go about 1/2-2/3 bigger but if you do so, prepare to see minimal above ground growth until the roots have colonized the new digs. Plants direct energy to the roots first, leaves second.

Sundews69 wrote: The heat part worries me. Will 65-70F be ok for them temporarily? I also live in the Midwest (SE WI) so it is much to cold to have them outside.
That's fine for growth, will need lights at those temps though, otherwuse they'll stretch, looking for light. Witholding water will help them not stretch.

Sundews69 wrote: I have some very hot lights that I plan to grow petiolaris sundews under but that isn't ready yet and could be a while before it is.
I wouldn't bother. Hot lights sound like $$$$$ to me. I'd use LEDs and a heat mat if the goal is light and heat.

Sundews69 wrote: So is this dormancy required like it is for VFTs? Is it a hot and dry dormancy or a cold and wet one?
Idk much about VFTs but I thought some guy from the ICPS proved VFTs don't need dormancy, right? Doesn't matter I suppose. DragonsEye knows what they're talking about; cacti are *opportunistic* growers, they don't really need a dormancy, it's a trait that naturally came about to help them survive extreme conditions. It does seem to be integral for flower bud formation but ehhh, Parodias flower pretty freely once they reach maturity all through summer. If you're going to induce dormancy it should be cool and dry.

Hot and dry is ok
hot and wet they love 8-)
cool and dry they can handle
Cool (cold, really) and wet is a recipe for disaster

Sundews69 wrote: How big are these when mature? Do you have a guess at how old mine could be? Is it close to flowering size?
1. Not sure, they can get to be pretty large though. Check Llifle.com for pics.
2. Hard to say, with lots of fert, water and light they could reach that size in a year or two, maybe less.
3. Might need another year or two but they bloom from a fairly young age/small size.

Sundews69 wrote: Thanks for your help! I'm excited to get into cacti. My neighbor actually collected wild golden barrel cactus seeds while she was in Arizona a week ago. She said I can have some of the seedlings 😁
No problem. Raising cacti from seed is very fun and very rewarding. Next thing you know you'll be getting into grafting :D
DragonsEye liked this
User avatar
By DragonsEye
Posts:  1009
Joined:  Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:22 pm
#428039
Sundews69 wrote: Thu Jan 05, 2023 9:45 pm @DragonsEye, if I find orchid/pine bark locally, does it need to be really small or can it be chunky?
In the state the chunks will be coming straight out of the bag, they will be far too big with some of the finer stuff that will have sifted to the bottom.

For the best soil structure, you ideally want all the particles to be roughly the same size. If they aren't, the smaller particles will inevitably work their way down to the lowest levels of the pot and can clog up those open spaces so vital for good drainage and an oxygenated rootzone. You can see this media migration happen very easily. Get a clear jar half-filled or so with gravel and top with a thin layer of peat. Put the jar on a surface that vibrates a lot (like a running lawn mower) or simply give the jar repetitive small side to side shakes for awhile and you will see the peat disappear from the surface and eventually occupy the bottom of the jar. Now, you obviously would not be subjecting your cacti to this, but, as you water, the water itself will cause this migration to happen. This is why fine materials like peat can pose a real problem. (Btw, this whole particle migration thing is incredibly common in day to day life. Anyone who has opened a bag of gravel/rocks or large chunked mulch has likely noticed that most of the small stuff is towards the bottom of the bag. Same is true if you have jars of spice blends for cooking or if you are a consumer of loose-leafed teas.)
Sundews69 wrote: Thu Jan 05, 2023 9:45 pmAnd could I add crushed Oyster shells (usually used for chickens) in addition to or to replace the calcined clay if we can't find any locally?
You can always give it a try. Just make sure there are no additives, rinse the material to get rid of all the dust and tiny particles, and that the particle size is in the same ballpark as that of the other ingredients.

A caveat to SDK's comment that cacti like hot and wet.... for many cacti, this will not necessarily be the case if growing in an area of high humidity. (This is one of the reasons they make poor subjects for terraria). I have known a number of folks in the humid southern states who have issues with cacti falling victim to rot outdoors because of their humid, wet conditions. Under such conditions, large particle-size for the media components AND excellent air circulation become extremely important.
SDK1 liked this
By SDK1
Posts:  44
Joined:  Sun Dec 18, 2022 3:48 am
#428054
DragonsEye wrote: Fri Jan 06, 2023 2:47 pm

A caveat to SDK's comment that cacti like hot and wet.... for many cacti, this will not necessarily be the case if growing in an area of high humidity. (This is one of the reasons they make poor subjects for terraria). I have known a number of folks in the humid southern states who have issues with cacti falling victim to rot outdoors because of their humid, wet conditions. Under such conditions, large particle-size for the media components AND excellent air circulation become extremely important.

Ack, true, I should've contextualized it in a better way. Wasn't thinking through it fully, many thanks DragonsEye!
By Sundews69
Location: 
Posts:  2377
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#429318
Brought home another cacti!! It doesn't say what it's called other than it's a cactus. Could someone help ID him? Here's what he looks like
20230126_170056.jpg
20230126_170056.jpg (4.32 MiB) Viewed 404 times
20230126_170053.jpg
20230126_170053.jpg (5.6 MiB) Viewed 404 times
By Sundews69
Location: 
Posts:  2377
Joined:  Fri Dec 03, 2021 5:57 pm
#429333
Awesome! I love how fuzzy it is. My mom is bringing home these to: pilosocereus gounellei, Echinocactus grusonii, and ferocactus gracilis. I'm really excited!

As a note I have tried misting them the past few d[…]

Webbings

The larvae of fungus gnats are a hazard to your[…]

Trying to ID this Sarr

Hi all, I bought this Sarr last year at the annual[…]

Also the 2 in rhe orange are from Lowe’s tha[…]

Good idea, I’ll stick with the one in curren[…]

Photo update 3/21/23:7B55EBD8-8E82-4CE3-9DC4-37[…]

Utriculata Hitchhiker?

That looks about right. I've got a pot of interme[…]

Thought the mailman was losing mail again but he's[…]

Support the community - Shop at FlytrapStore.com!