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Echinocactus grusonii and Christmas Cactus

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by Savahnna Rose on October 24, 2005 10:25 AM
My mother came across an Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) sometime over the summer. It wasn't looking too healthy but she went ahead and took it and after a bit of care did very well over the summer. This is the first winter she's had it though and since she now had to bring it indoors, she's not sure of the care it would need. Can anyone advise on the lighting, watering, and needs/care that is needed for this plant during the winter? Also, she'd like to repot it but doesn't want to do so if it would likely hurt it to repot this late in the year. Any ideas?

Also, she has a Christmas Cactus. (Might be another name for it, that's all we've heard it called though.) She wanted to know if there was any advise on it as she's had problems with it before turning brown and rotty looking even though it didn't seem to be over watered. Right now it looks pretty good and is even starting to bloom but as the winter is setting in, and it had to be brought inside too, she's not sure of the care needed for it.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by cinta on October 24, 2005 03:23 PM
My cactus get watered once a month. Sometimes once every two months in the winter. It can take a cactus months to use the water so if you water them they rot.

In the summer the heat and sun dry the soil and plant quick.

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If you want the rainbow you have to put up with the rain!!
by tkhooper on October 25, 2005 12:26 AM
Hey Savahnna Rose,

If you google inside the website for christmas cactus you'll get Bills fact sheet on them and it is terrific. I'm sure it will give you all the information you need. There is all kinds of fun stuff you can do to them to get them to bloom repeatedly.

I don't have to much luck with cactus because I am alway running a humidifier for the tropical plants and the cactus doesn't like it lol.

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by Savahnna Rose on October 25, 2005 02:42 AM
Thanks guys. Any one able to add in to the information on the Echinocactus grusonii? I tried googling it, but only came up with pictures.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Savahnna Rose on October 25, 2005 02:47 AM
Quick question Tk. Any chance you can give me a link to his facts sheet? As I try to google it, I come up with many things, but nothing that seems to be what you're talking about and as I'm not yet familiar with the site, it might be very helpful if you could.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by Savahnna Rose on October 26, 2005 02:39 PM
As I've been looking around in hopes of finding more information on the golden barrel cactus, I'm starting to wonder if that's what it is. The plant looks very much like that of the golden barrel when it's small... but the one my mother has is more tall than it is round..

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon
by tkhooper on October 26, 2005 08:56 PM
September - Begin conditioning your Poinsettias and Christmas cactus to get them ready for the upcoming holiday season. Both of these plants are short day plants. Although they will eventually bloom, if you want the plants in bloom in time for the holidays they must be kept at about 65 to 70 degrees, and subjected to at least six weeks of 14 hours of total darkness per day (mid to late September). This may be accomplished by placing the potted plant in a closet or unlighted room, or by covering the plant with black cloth, black plastic over a frame or a cardboard box.The plant must then be returned to the light each day and given a minimum of 4 hours of direct sun, or 10 hours of bright light. The application of a 0-10-10 fertilizer this month and again next should help encourage the development of flower buds, then feed your plant every 2 weeks with a high nitrogen fertilizer once color has begun to show.
Christmas cactus needs the same general care, with the exception that they require cooler temperatures of about 50 to 60 degrees.

December - If you successfully kept last years plants alive, and have been keeping it in 14 hours of darkness since September, your Poinsettias and and Christmas cactus should be ready bring back into the living room by December first.
With the proper care, these Christmas plants will remain beautiful for many weeks.
They prefer to be kept on the cool side, 65-70 degrees during the day and 55-60 at night.
Keep them in bright, natural light whenever possible.
Keep them away from heat sources.
Keep them out of drafts.
Be sure to water them when they become dry.
Never allow them to stand in water for more than an hour.

Hope this helps.

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by Will Creed on October 27, 2005 08:59 AM
Hi Savahnna Rose,

Keep your golden barrel cactus in the sunniest indoor spot available. Do NOT repot it at this time because it needs to rest. Water it every 4 to 6 weeks. Don't fertilize it. Basically neglect it through the winter.

Keep your Christmas cactus outside until night temps start to drop to near freezing. The combination of dark nights (undisturbed by indoor lights) and cold temps will help set the buds. This is much easier than the rigmarole of covering your plant with a dark cover every night and uncovering it every day.

Once the buds are well set and looking plump, then it can be moved indoors to any location where you cane enjoy the show. After the flowering has finished, move the holiday cactus to a sunny spot and let the soil get very dry in between waterings. It will be in a rest period for several months so just try to keep it alive.

I have written an article on the care of holiday plants that I will send to you if you provide an email address for me.
by margaret e. pell on October 28, 2005 05:22 AM
Yes, yes. Keep the Echinocactus grusonii always, in every season, in as much sun as you can. Cacti rest in winter, which means they just stop. You won't notice anything since they don't have leaves to loose, or vines to die back, ... They just wait. Don't bother it (would you want to be repotted while you're sleeping?). 4-6 weeks for watering is a good guide line, unless it's tiny in a very small pot, and then you may want to water every 2-3 weeks. What you are trying to do is keep it as dry as you can without completely drying out the roots. If it looses its roots it won't die, it'll just take a long time in the spring regrowing roots instead of growing stem or flowers. Good luck!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Savahnna Rose on November 01, 2005 02:18 PM
Thank you all so much for your help. I really hope this will do well. Will, I would be thrilled if you could send me this article. I have PMed you the e-mail address that you can send it to. Thank you so very much.

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"I consider the day misspent that I am not either charged with a crime, or arrested for one." -- "Ratsy" Tourbillon

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