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Growing Notocactus PDF Print E-mail

Notocactus Cacti

Notocactus cacti are native to the Brazil and Uruguay where the land is quite dry and the daytime temperatures can get high.

They tend to be fairly short growing plants with cylindrical and spherical stems which are rarely branched.

Notocactus magnificus

They are upright growing plants but may occasionally grow sideways with the top half looking as though it is wilting, this is less common that the upright growth and usually only occurs in old plants.

Cristate (wavy edged) forms are avalible in some species but these are usually grafted plants.

This is Notocactus magnificus
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All of the Notocactus cactus are slow growing plants and make excellent house plants which in time will produce very large colourful flowers..

Growing Requirements

Temperature

The habitat where Notocactus come from can become very cold during the winter nights, often it will fall to just above freezing without harming the plants as it is also very dry. When growing at home it is best to avoid any frost as you may loose the plant but during the winter the temperature can be as low as 2C without any harm so long as the compost is very dry.

During the summer it is best to keep the plants outside where the temperature can rise to over 30C with no harm to the plant.

If kept in a greenhouse you will need to watch the temperature as under glass it can rise dramatically particularly if the windows and vents remain closed.

This is Notocactus leninghausii

Notocactus leninghausii

Pot Type

Notocactus cactus are best grown in a terracotta type pot which should have at least one drainage hole in the base and it should be unglazed. This type of pot allows good drainage and allows the compost (therefor roots) to breath.

Compost

Echinocereus prefer an open and free draining compost which should consist of:

  • 1 part John Innes no. 1 compost
  • 1 part peat or coir based compost
  • 1 part sharp sand or grit
  • 1/2 part broken crock pieces (small)

Watering

The plants should be kept almost completely dry during the winter months, only water them to prevent the roots from completely drying out, once a month should be fine. From March onwards the plant will begin to grow and watering should be increased gradually until late May when the plant should be in full growth.

Notocactus mammulosus As the compost is very free draining and the pot used is porous you can safely water this type of cactus at least once a week during the summer so long as the plant pot is allowed to drain and not sit in a tray of water. During hot weather you may need to water the plants once a day so long as the plant is actively growing. From late September watering should be reduced to force the plant to go in to a state of semi dormancy, by November you should be back in to the winter watering regime.

Lighting

Grow most species of Notocactus cacti in full sun during the summer and winter avoiding only the harshest summer sun, if kept too dark they may become overly lush and could be prone to rotting due to over watering, they will also be shy to produce flowers.

Feeding

If the compost is fresh then feeding may not be necessary at all, if the plant hasn't been repotted recently then half strength general purpose fertilizer can be used at watering time from May onwards once a month. Do not feed the plants from September onwards as this can cause lush growth which can be fatal during the darker colm months.

Repotting

Repotting should be done every other year or every three years, annual potting is not necessary. Remove the plant from its put by wrapping newspaper around the stem if it is very spiny. Carefully tap it out of the pot and remove the old compost to examine the roots, if any are damaged or showing signs of rotting they should be removed as close to the plant as possible.

Re plant the cactus using the same mix of compost as it was originally in (fresh) and use a pot just slightly wider then the width of the cactus. Do not be tempted to over pot as this will cause the unused compost to go stagnant and you may loose the plant.

Propagation

See propagation section for seed sowing and cuttings.

 



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