From the BCSS forum – Grafting with Tiles and Opuntia

Never having had any success with grafting on Trichocereus and having given up the idea of ever trying again, it was the discovery of the Enten met tegels video on youtube a couple of years ago that first made me consider giving it a go again but with Opuntia as a stock.

via CactusWorld – Online • View topic – Grafting with tiles (Enten met tegels).

A detailed photo essay of grafting onto Opuntia held with tiles and elastics.

Also of note on the forum is the large list of traders for Bristol Branch’s South West Cactus Mart on June 30th, 2012.  Reserve the date!

Stapelia gigantea landscape

Stapelia gigantea landscape

Arthur’s Aloe Erinacea in flower

Some pictures of Arthur’s Aloe Erinacea flowering. According to the Cactuspedia this difficult to grow aloe doesn’t flower until it is around 25 years old!

January Meeting – Plant Clinic

We had a very successful plant clinic with lots of trouble plants and solutions, advice and a few condolences.

Obregonia is an Obregoner.
Obregonia is an Obregoner

Dried out and died. No root system. Perhaps due to the mildness of winter so far. Perhaps mist with water now and then but not on rossettes or clumps. Also water early in the day so plants have time to dry out before the temperature drops at night.

Discoloured Ferocactus
Discoloured Ferocactus

Discolouration creeping up from the base. Grown indoors. This plant should be fine and just needs more feeding and water to support the fast growth of ferocactus. Switch to a plastic container to help with water retention and give it some fresh soil. Alternatively, it was suggested that a coat of paint would help!

Plant Feeding Discussion.
What do people normally use? Chempack 4 or 8, Tomato feed, and Chempack 0-10-10 where discussed. “What is in normal chempack?” went unanswered…

until now….
Chempack 4 is 15-15-30
Chempack 8 is 12.5-25-25

Crassula Buddha’s Temple.
Crassula Buddha's Temple

No this is not a new cultivar “Giant Poodle”! This a shot from after following the clinic advice on how to deal with my overly dried up plant. The dead leaves have all been removed and hopefully new branches will form from some of the growing points where the leaves were pulled off. There were actually already two more starting that were hidden by the dead leaves in addition to the one visible offset.
Other advice given was to re-pot plants bought from sellers right away in case they were in peat based potting mixes which although great for growing can dry out really badly. Decapitation was suggested – taking the top to re-root and then cutting the stem down to just above the offset to encourage the roots to support that branch’s growth.

Malcolm’s Dead Rebutia
Malcolm's Dead Rebutia

This plant was moved from greenhouse living to a very warm indoor windowsill. You can see that it is completely dried out even on the inside where a piece was pulled off. It is completely dead with no photosynthetic material left at all. It was possibly a red spider mite victim. To control red spider mite use some humidity. Misting every couple of days and a slightly humid environment from nearby water. In a greenhouse one solution is to soak the greenhouse base now and then.

Ariocarpus became Ariocrapus.

Completely dried out and hollow. A mystery casualty in a winter that has seen the deaths of a lot of Ariocarpii (is that the correct plural?).

Cintia knizei with black callus on top.
Cintia knizei with a black callus on top

The black callus on top of one or two of the heads can be prized off and there will be healthy tissue underneath.
Cintia knizei

This head is split and healed. The split was caused by earlier over watering.

Adromischus Bicolour
Adromischus sp.  Should I split it or leave it?

Healthy plant but Stuart wanted to know if he should split or leave it be. I can’t recall the decision. Adromischus can drop leaves when they get too dry and sometimes the stems will just rot out.

Crassula Ovata cv. with stem rot.
Crassula Ovata cv. with stem rot

These are the pieces from a large plant that started suddenly dropping branches and then completely collapsed. The stems at the base are squishy and soft indicating rot. To salvage the pieces cut higher up the stem with a sharp knife checking for any discolouration as you go. Sterilize your knife after each cut to avoid transferring the rot. Then let the pieces callus over and pot them up.

Crassula Ovata cv. with stem rot

You can see the brown discolouration in this picture.

Stapelia with black rot.
Stapelia with black rot.

These are the remnents from a large Stapelia that collapsed and rotted. This is the dreaded Black Rot that afflicts stapelia. Use the same technique as with the Crassula Ovata and make sterile cuts higher up the stem until there is no rot. Then just leave the stems on their side on top of some gravel rather than placing into the potting mix.

Some winter casualty reports are in early.


Gardeners who got caught out by the bad winter

Three head gardeners around the country compare notes on how the worst of the winter weather affected their gardens and greenhouses.

Plant explorer Tom Hart Dyke created a World Garden of Plants in the walled garden of his ancestral home at Lullingstone Castle in Kent.

Opened in March 2005, the gardens are full of exotic specimens arranged in borders by continent, but have not yet been tested in really cold conditions.

All that changed when Tom returned home last month from plant hunting in Peru. He says: “On December 18, within the walls of the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, the weather station clocked -15.5C (4F).

Damage to plants is significant, especially over Mexico, South America, Africa and Australasia – it’ll be fascinating to see what does and doesn’t come back in spring and summer in 2011.”

Even his heated “Hot and Spiky” house dropped to -4.5C (24F), so virtually every succulent was damaged although the extent of harm to the cacti will take longer
to assess.

“The heating couldn’t maintain the usual minimum of 5C (41F). But I’m curiously optimistic that, as this was for only one night, the cacti and succulents should bounce back,” he says.

Industrial Cactus Farming @ Ubink Cactus Nursery, Holland.

Some Cacti in Flower Slideshow Videos

Marianne Beleyav’s Collection: : St Petersberg Cactus Club

Alexander T’s Collection: St Petersberg Cactus Club

Lessons from Plants in Pain, or What We Talk About When We Talk to Ourselves

From the Science Essayist – an interesting article on inter and intra plant warning systems

In my favorite recent study, which delights me more because of how the plants defend themselves than how they talk about it, Lima beans infested with spider mites—as well as those exposed to leaves from infested plants—react by activating a set of genes that trigger the emission of a volatile organic compound. This compound, in turn, attracts spider mite predators that come and hoover up the pests.


The New ‘New Member’ Welcome Kit

Welcome/Cultivation Pack

Free to all NEW BCSS members. This will be available to existing members for £2 via the publications section of the BCSS site.

From around the web

Photo Galleries of UK Nurseries from 2007 including Abbey Brook,, Akamba, and Hollygate Cactus.

Growing Ariocarpus from Seed : Andreas Laras

Telegraph – Houseplants: Enjoy the garden indoors