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cactus soil

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by Erinne on October 05, 2005 04:43 AM
I've been offered some cactus cuttings (or whatever they should be called). What sort of soil mix should I use to pot them? I'm really broke right now, so if I can mix it from what I have on hand (peat, sand, generic potting mix, etc), that'd be nice. When I was a kid I managed to kill almost all the cacti I tried to grow, so I want to get this one off to a good start.

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by RugbyHukr on October 05, 2005 06:00 AM
Look up cactus potting soil , and then copy it's recipe.

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by margaret e. pell on October 09, 2005 05:51 AM
Hi, Erinne! Many of the plants I grow are cacti, and I've got more alive than I've killed. Most of them, if given enough direct sunlight, have truely amazing flowers! This is what I do for soil. I'm sure someone will have something else to say, but I listen to my plants. I start with organic potting soil with NO additives: not Schultz, Miracle Grow, whatever. I'm lucky in having an organic farm near by, their food is way pricey, but their potting soil is good; McEnroe's, in case you're close or they ship farther than I know. To this I add 40-50% drainage material. Drainage material = a fairly even mix of small size lava rock (I get it in plastic bags at the local nursery - make sure you rinse it before using), grit, and coarse sand. Where do I get grit and coarse (COARSE, Not Fine!!) sand? Well, about once a year I buy a bag of "traction sand" at the hardware store - available most readily in winter - and then - my family makes endless fun of me, but they also like the cactus flowers, I sift it. I sit outside on beautiful weekend days, while they watch TV and play computer games, and sift sand. What doesn't go through the coarse seive is grit. What doesn't go through the fine seive is coarse sand. The fine sand I dump. Remember sandcastles at the beach? Fine sand holds water. For cacti, you DON'T want to hold water. Some people use pearlite, I don't. It slowly floats to the top, discolors, and looks ugly. It's not naturally occurring, nobody evolved needing pearlite. Sift the sand you have, never use fine sand for cacti, keep them in smallish terra cotta pots; never plastic or glazed ceramic until you feel a lot more secure about watering. With this mix and good sun, you'll probably need to water once a week. Good luck! What kind do you have? I'm interested to know! MEP

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by Cricket on October 09, 2005 06:23 AM
Very thorough instructions on making cacti soil, Margaret! Thank you for taking the time to write them out. [thumb]
by oldcrow61 on October 10, 2005 05:41 AM
Hi Erinne: I don't know a lot about growing cacti but my mother grows them in ordinary potting soil and has great luck with them.
by cinta on October 10, 2005 08:06 AM
Margaret gave you good instructions and if you have the money resources to get the mixture it will be great.

I use potting soil and aquarium gravel. 75% soil 25% gravel. The trick is water. If you give them too much they are dead. I water my cacti, succulents once a month in the winter. If it is cloudy as it is in my town I just mist them.

Put the cuttings in the dry mix until they root. It can take a long time depending on what you are trying to root. (I had one take 2 months) I take a squirt bottle and mist the cutting twice a week as long as they do not look shriveled up they are doing fine.

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