other cactus

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RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

McDonough wrote:

Baby cacti seedlings are just soooOOOO cute. Rick, how do you handle them in the fridge?  Don't they need more light? I'm interested in particular details about how you overwinter them in the fridge... and might such a technique be applicable to other plants?

Cohan is right.  When practically any plant is dormant, you don't need light.  Obviously, when a cactus shrinks down, you can be positive it is dormant.  My fridge is kept very cold: if you put a cup of water in the back, it will freeze on top.  And I am the only one here, so the door doesn't opened that often. 

I was pretty apprehensive the first time I put these cactus in the fridge last season.  I had only planted the seed the second week of July, and plants were so teensy, and even more so when they shrunk down!  These pics were taken in mid August 2010:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=501.msg5305#msg5305

Now compare that with this pic taken in mid July 2011, and how they shrunk to the image in my previous post, and you REALLY get the idea how teensy they were the first winter in the fridge.

             

Outside, pots sat under the roof eve for for several weeks before transferring to the fridge, and even then I put them in the fridge uncovered for a month before I enclosed them in a plastic bag.  Materials stay this way until removal in spring.  Remember that if you enclose materials and then put them in a colder temperature, you risk a lot of moisture condensation - in the soil and on the pot and plant surfaces.  Water that was water vapor and innocuous, becomes liquid that can be dangerous and promote rot.  The goal, in my opinion, is to reduce dessication, but not allow any free water liquid.  If your plastic bag has water condensing on its inner surface, than the humidity is too high inside the bag.

I regularly overwinter other plants that I expect to not survive zone 4 winter (but still need a good winter) in the fridge.  This also includes cuttings I root in the late summer, or cuttings that don't root until late summer/fall.  These new plants, I have found through trial and error (well, error, really) just don't ready themselves for winter, even though they are outside, and even though they will be perfectly cold hardy next season. 

When in the refrigerator, always err on the dry side.  It really is amazing how dry plants survive when temps are low.  Other seedlings that are in my fridge now, in their pots DRY are tender Gladiolus spp.  There will be a few others that are still in the unheated garage.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Cute little things :)
I just kept my cactus seedlings under lights and more or less watered for the first winter. Many xerophytes seem not as concerned about moisture while young, so I usually don't worry about giving them a dry season the first year. of course if they are kept growing/not dormant you need reasonable light-- though I found with my Escobaria (vivipara and missouriensis) and Echinocereus seedlings (no great depth of experience here, this is all more or less one batch) were just fine under not fresh fluorescent lights for a year and half until I put them outside..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

After sleeping on my last post, there was one thing I did forget:
The first time in the fridge, when the cactus was so excruciatingly tiny, in mid February I did take them out spritz them with perhaps a tablespoon of water per pot, let the surface dry, put them back in the sealed bag and back in the fridge.  But I made sure there was no residual condensation.

I don't plan on doing this now (the second winter).  Plants are much bigger.

My experience backs up Cohan's, regarding Escobaria.  Seedlings did not require lots of light inside the house in the young growing stage.  (I've germinated them in winter and late winter.)  Although, I never grew them for more than a few months inside, before transferring outside.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

DesertZone wrote:

Opuntia macrocentra/polyacantha cross, found two in the yard.

Those are very attractively spined badboys. ;) I hope the flowers are something special too. :)

Cohan and Rick
Thank you for your input.
I just don't have the patience it takes to start cacti from seed. The years required for the plants to reach flowering size doesn't fit well with my need, for instant instant gratification.  :)

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Weiser wrote:

Cohan and Rick
Thank you for your input.
I just don't have the patience it takes to start cacti from seed. The years required for the plants to reach flowering size doesn't fit well with my need, for instant instant gratification.  :)

I can certainly understand that! However there is no place I can buy hardy cacti in person, and one place in Canada I know of where I can buy anything interesting (Beavercreek) by mail-- but with shipping etc, it ends up expensive (not complaining about the prices-- I can hardly imagine how any money can be made at what he charges for Pediocactus, knowing the slow growth rate!) and so far, out of my budget. Ordering from out of country- when not simply impossible- ends up more expensive yet with cost of paperwork, so thus far, seed is my only choice for anything other  than Opuntia. I may some day save up for an order from Beavercreek (Pediocactus! so slow!)- but even then I will only be able to afford a few plants, and I really don't want one of those cactus gardens with one plant of each species...lol
On the plus side, the Escobarias and Echinocereus are not so slow :)

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Peden
Title: Member
Joined: 2012-01-04

Here's one that's fairly indelible; a lasting display: Escobaria missouriensis in seed. The fruit does not turn red until it has been through a winter so it takes nearlly a year from fertilization to viable seed.These were all grown from seed of a single plant in my garden so they may be children of E. missouriensis x E. vivipara or they "selfed". John Spain told me on a visit there that this is one of the best for New England. It's a great cactus. there is another excellent little plant in the photo: top left: Penstemon laricifolius. This one is ancient. They bloom together and its really quite something; small, but something. I may post a bunch of cacti on the desert thread. I'll try to get a bunch of seed of this on the exchange for 2012-2013. It's really easy to get going.

Michael Peden
Lake Champlain Valley, zone 4b
Four and a half months frost free
Snow cover not guaranteed

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Those berries are very ornamental.  I have to say I have never left my Escobaria vivipara berries attached into the winter because I collect them for seed, and now even to eat them ;D.  I wonder though, if yours really need to get that red for seed to be ripe.  I collect seed from E. vivipara when berries have a blush on them as in the pic below.  At this stage they sometimes spontaneously pop off by themselves.  Seed is completely viable at this time (no after ripening required), and no pretreatment needed either.

             

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

I agree with Rick. They don't need to stay on the plant all winter to be viable. I believe they change to bright orange/red as a way to get the attention of birds and rodents. This would help insure seed dispersal of the left over fruits from the last season. The bigger test is to try and pick the fruit. If it is ripe it will be easy to detach.

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

Peden
Title: Member
Joined: 2012-01-04

I treat seed of E. vivipara the same way; harvest in fall. This one though? I'll have to be more observant because I don't recall even seeing the fruit in fall despite having given at least a glance.

Michael Peden
Lake Champlain Valley, zone 4b
Four and a half months frost free
Snow cover not guaranteed

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

I don't know anything about the ripeness, but Panayoti a couple of weeks ago showed an E missouriensis (on Facebook) that was covered in berries which he said after that were shedding...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

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