Sunday, 18 April 2010

Prickly characters

I spent this afternoon re-potting and tending my cactus collection (or what's left of it). I'd kept most of them on the kichen windowsill, which is one of the warmest places in the house, and most seem to do well enough there. In the pic there are a couple of tall spiny ones which I think I may have known the proper name for at one time, as well as two more bushy-looking ones, one of which is labelled a Haworthia. And I've taken some cuttings from a three of the Opuntias: two had almost shrivelled to a dry shell and the third (sadly the biggest) had sagged badly in the middle and collapsed under its own weight. Whether they'll take root properly or not I don't know: I think it's usually better to try and wait until root hairs start to form before trying to pot cactus cuttings, but I suspect the tiny pads might shrivel completely before that happens.

My other big Opuntia is still alive and kicking on the other hand, although it, too has got very top heavy and unstable propped up in the corner of the kitchen windowsill. I've repotted it into a clay pot instead of a plastic one to try and give it a bit more stability. It's about 28" (71cm) high not counting the pot, and has grown four new pads in the four or five years that I've had it. I think it's tending to "bolt" a bit in the constant artificial light: if the weather's halfway decent this summer I'll pop it out on the balcony and give it some fresh air. The other two small cacti next to it seem to be doing OK, despite those awful Simpsons pots that they live in!

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