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Cactus & Succulent Bargain at Wally World!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Patty S on November 10, 2006 02:59 PM
In the past I've picked up quite a few nice tropicals & other salvageable plants that Walmart hadn't cared for properly, & have been able to revive them, so I always check out their "abused plant" section whenever I go there.

Today I found these little 1 1/2 - 2" pots of succulents & cactus that were marked down to 50 CENTS EACH!!! (And they aren't "leftovers" ... there were several full trays of them, that appeared to be "new stock"!)
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I don't care that much for cactus myself, (because they don't like me & I don't care for puncture wounds!) but I bought 12 of them, thinking that I could use them in a dish garden arrangement for my daughter, who is a cactus freak.

I'm not real sure that I know exactly how to go about building an arrangement though, so I'm open for ideas. I found the 2 containers (shown in the pic) in the corner of the garden shed... I've had them for years & have never used them for anything, so I thought they might work for this. (I also have a terra cotta dish that might work out too, as I think I've seen nice looking succulent dish gardens in those.) [dunno]

Now that I look at the plants & the sizes of the containers, I think maybe all 12 plants might be a little overkill for one dish. I don't want it to look junky!

My main concern, although my daughter DOES know how to take care of cactus, is that those containers don't provide any drainage.
  • Does that matter?
  • Will terra cotta keep too much moisture in?

I'm also wondering about the planting medium. I thought the clear glass dish would look cool with swirls of different colors (earth tones) of sand, but do succulents like to be in just sand?

For "decoration" I'm thinking maybe small pieces of wood or pretty rocks. [dunno]

Any ideas?

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by Triss on November 10, 2006 03:12 PM
Patty, Those plants look great. Will be following this thread cuz I am going to hit WM myself and see if I can find any. Those arrangements, once done are going to make a great gift!

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by margaret e. pell on November 10, 2006 08:50 PM
Wonderful plants! Good drainage is ESSENTIAL for healthy cacti/succ's. Terra cotta is the best for them as it is porous(sp?) and does not hold water in. They are going to want some organic material in the soil, so just sand won't work. Maybe you could put small terra cotta pots with the plants in a good cactus soil in the clear container with the sand swirled around them? Decorating with sticks and stones is fun!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Patty S on November 10, 2006 11:35 PM
quote:
cactus soil
[shocked] Cactus soil?
(I've been to the desert... thought it was sand!) [Embarrassed]

Don't stop now; you have my attention! [grin]

Right now these little sweeties feel awfully dry to me. I'm telling myself, "They're cactus, they do dry! Maybe as with Orchids; when in doubt, DON'T WATER!"  -

But I don't know how long they sat at the store without water!
Should I?  -

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by plants 'n pots on November 10, 2006 11:55 PM
Should you know how long they sat at the store without water??? [Big Grin] [tongue]
That would be a pretty good trick - let me know how you do?!? [kissies]

But seriously... terrific finds for a terrific price!
Can't wait to see what you do with them.
I agree with Margaret about the clay pot being best, though I have been known to put them in ceramic pots without drainage. They do pretty well for a while, but usually bite the dust ( [Big Grin] ) sooner or later...

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by comfrey on November 10, 2006 11:58 PM
Patty you are correct...DO NOT WATER THEM! Great buy though, I found some of these at a WM awhile back for the same price and they had 6 shelves of them.

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by papito on November 11, 2006 12:26 AM
Text and photos of 11 Steps on How to Construct a Cactus Dish Garden at:

http://www.cactusmuseum.com/cdish.asp?PhotoID=1#phototop

quote:
Can't get out to the desert as much as you would like? Me too. Let's bring a small portion of the desert to us in the form of a dish garden. In the photograph above, are the materials needed to complete the task. From left to right:

* A Shallow Bowl (8 - 10 inches in diameter)
* Potting soil
* Large Stones
* Coarse Sand
* Assorted Small Cacti and/or Succulents
* Pea Gravel
* Mixing Bucket
* A Broom (not shown)
* Gloves (not shown)
* Water (not shown)
* Western-theme Decorations (not shown)
I have had no luck in caring for Cactus. Our son who used to work at Grand Canyon, AZ sent me miniature cactus in a round dish. As I remember, the watering instruction was to give the cactus a couple of drops of water every week.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by Patty S on November 11, 2006 12:38 AM
Lynne, I suppose I could ask the Brain Deads in the gardening department, but I think they'd probably just say  - "HUH?"  -

(Where do they get their "specialist" employees, anyway? Things are no better inside the store than they are in the parking lot! When I was there, they kept announcing over & over that somebody's dog was running around in the parking lot, so if anybody brought a dog that might have gotten out of their truck, they needed to go put him back!) [nutz]
I think I just hijacked my own topic!  -

quote:
they had 6 shelves of them.
Yup, same display, Comfrey!  - They had larger ones that were "marked down" to $1.00... but thrifty me wanted to get twice as many plants for the money! [lala]
quote:
the watering instruction was to give the cactus a couple of drops of water every week.
A few drops, eh? I think I'll go water them! [grin] Thanks!

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by Tonya on November 11, 2006 01:24 AM
Love the assortment, Patty!! Great buy!

Cactus soil= potting soil(plain) mixed with small(tiny) gravel or very coarse sand to allow for good drainage. I don't know what the "experts" would say about it, but I have used fish gravel as the "mixer" for the soil. I always use a terra cotta unglazed pot so that they dry out well in between waterings. Keep in mind- they thrive on neglect!! My kind of plant! [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

Make sure you get pics of the arrangement!

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by Triss on November 11, 2006 01:28 AM
I LOVE that link to set up a cacti garden. Thanks for that one!

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by angelblossom on November 11, 2006 07:02 AM
Patty.... I just made mine I didn't have a drain hole in my pail so I used horticulture charchol, then a layer of sand ,then catus succulent soil,, and didn't water for 3 days: then I only watered very lightly. I just planted what would grow tallest in the back, what would grow widest in the middle and all the little ones around the front and sides.. and topped of with rolled pea gravel, and threw a few larger stones I had here and there...,
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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up!  -  -
http://photobucket.com/albums/e374/2thtek/  -  -
by Triss on November 11, 2006 07:39 AM
Looks good Diane. I wanted to use my Wild Willy in one as well. Yours look right at home in the desert!

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by Patty S on November 11, 2006 08:54 AM
Wow Diane, your pic looks fantabulous! [clappy] Thanks!

I've been accused of going overboard on occasion, but I don't know if this today would dump me back into being guilty of that, or not...
 - I went BACK TO WALMART & got 20 more cactus!!
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They're not for me though! [grin] Our garden club is hosting a holiday luncheon in a couple weeks & I thought that with a little fancying up with colorful cellophane wrap & ribbon (& maybe a touch of glitter), they'd make nice little favors at each place setting! I called the lady who is in charge of the luncheon, who agreed with me & asked me to go get them.

When my garden helper/Granddaughter & I got them home, we had to re-pot them because we discovered that unlike yesterday's haul, the soil in these was very wet... in fact, a couple of them are going back, because they're mushy at the bottom & I saw no sign of roots. For lack of "cactus mix", we used a mixture of light (peat based) potting soil, sand & Perlite. I hope that getting them out of the wet soil & into a dry medium didn't happen to late... I have no idea how long they'd been "soaking".

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by plants 'n pots on November 11, 2006 09:44 AM
Patty - I am the green eyed monster here - so jealous!!!

You MADE me go into WalMart today while I was in that shopping center! [tongue] [Frown] [Razz]
This one only had 6 very sad looking pots of cacti - pathetic I tell ya!!!

I'm glad you went back for more.
Not glad some were too wet. I hope your new soil perks them right up, and that the garden club loves them!

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by angelblossom on November 12, 2006 12:34 AM
Patty Oh What a great idea for party favors!!!

It sounds like your soil mix will be fine Patty.

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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up!  -  -
http://photobucket.com/albums/e374/2thtek/  -  -
by gomerp618 on November 12, 2006 01:26 AM
I went to Walmart myself today and picked up 13 of them... getting ready to do some combinging and playing around with them today. Gotta love a bargain!

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Lord, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am!
by Patty S on November 12, 2006 11:26 AM
I decided to make a few small dish gardens instead of only 1 big one... but my terra cotta dishes aren't deep enough! Instead of spending more money, I decided to build up the sides with rocks, using my trusty dusty glue gun......

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(I see that the candy canes that my little helper hung on the cactus needles show up in the pic!)

It's more work than I thought it would be, so I only have it half done... need to let my fingers cool off for a bit. (I think that hot glue can alter a person's finger prints!) [shocked]

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by Triss on November 12, 2006 11:29 AM
That looks great Patty! Clever idea!

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by plants 'n pots on November 12, 2006 11:45 AM
Looks great, Patty - what a neat idea.

But... I don't see any candycanes???

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by Patty S on November 12, 2006 01:13 PM
You gotta look closer, Lynne... they're itty-bitty!
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(Maybe it was just cuz I knew where they were! [dunno] ...I also lightened it a little, just for you.)

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by angelblossom on November 13, 2006 08:55 AM
Very creative building a rock wall there Patty!! [thumb] [grin]

the candy canes are itty bitty where ever did you find them sooo tiny!???

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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up!  -  -
http://photobucket.com/albums/e374/2thtek/  -  -
by Patty S on November 26, 2006 01:07 PM
Kick me hard... I was asked a question 2 weeks ago & am just now paying attention! (Sorry Diane!) [Embarrassed]

Those itty bitty candy canes came from a close-out sale when one of our dollar stores shut down last year. The kids & I had already used most of them up on different craft projects, but we found one package of 24 when we cleaned out the craft cabinet a few weeks ago. I'd like to find some more but I'm batting Zero so far... I even checked out Michael's & they don't have them. That dollar store still has a branch open about 100 miles from here, so if I take my daughter to the Dr in that town this coming week, I'm hoping that I'll be able to take the time to swing by the store & see if they have any. They're so cute on the cactus, but there needs to be more than just one!

The "walls" that I built up on the sides of the terra cotta dish worked out real well (but it took forever) & I finally got 2 of them done & loaded.

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Now I'm wondering what the heck I was thinking when I bought a dozen cactus plants for "a" dish garden!
(Obviously wasn't thinking of a big enough dish!)
I'm going to make one more of these, & I'll put it in the silent auction at our garden club's Christmas luncheon. We do that every year & the proceeds go to the local Children's Christmas Fund.

I'm still working on prettying up the 20 little cactus pots for the luncheon. A gal pal & I got half of them done last week, but we quit when my hands gave out on me! I still have 10 days to git 'er done, & will try to remember to take a pic.

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by angelblossom on November 26, 2006 10:44 PM
Wow those look awesome Patty and that's a lot of wall building!! My goodness no wonder your hands got tired! [Eek!] but the results looks great [thumb]
Your auction is a wonderful idea with the proceeds going to children [kissies] [angel] [clappy]

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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up!  -  -
http://photobucket.com/albums/e374/2thtek/  -  -
by plants 'n pots on November 27, 2006 01:46 AM
Those planters look great, Patty!
Very creative, and different looking.

I'd be curious to know how much something like that brings in for you at the silent auction - it's a very nice idea indeed!

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by Triss on November 27, 2006 12:55 PM
Those turned out great Patty!

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by Patty S on December 03, 2006 09:17 AM
I couldn't make another dish garden, because 23 people signed up for the Luncheon & I'd only bought mini 20 cactus plants for the Garden Club event. As it turns out I had 3 left from my personal project, so I was able to use them.

If someone brings a last minute guest she can have my table favor, as I really don't want to see another cactus for a while! (The little invisible slivers that some of them attacked me with just about drove me nuts! Rubber gloves helped, but I kept forgetting to put them on!)

So, now I'm all done with my cactus projects!  -
They're all gussied up & ready for Wednesday...
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As a matter of fact, I can take most of December off, because every bit of my shopping is done & everything is wrapped!
(Including the ribbons & pretties!)  -
All they need is a tree to go under, so I can have my couch back!
(This is the first time I've ever had this much done BEFORE the 24th!)
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by plants 'n pots on December 03, 2006 12:29 PM
Patty!!! Those look fantastic!!!
What lucky people at your luncheon!

I think it's great that you're finished with all your shopping and wrapping. You can sit back and enjoy the season now, without that hanging over your head! [thumb]

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 - Lynne's knitting journal  -  -  -
"I'm spayed, declawed, and housebound - how's YOUR day going???"
by Triss on December 03, 2006 12:52 PM
Patty, beautiful!!! WOW you are ALL done??? Wanna come on up and help me too???

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by Christina Wellman on December 04, 2006 01:37 AM
Help! I have a Christmas cactus that was very big and beautiful... I put it in a new pot with that new potting soil from Miracle Grow that retains moisture. Now my plant is dropping it's leaves and it looks like it is rotting ... Did I mess up by doing this and how can I fix it so my plant does not totally die? I have had this plant for over a year now and it has trippled it's size. And this is the first time that the whole palnt would have bloomed... Please help my save my plant, before it is too late!!! Thank you, Christina
by chermoni on December 04, 2006 04:02 AM
Reading through this post makes me want to build a cactus garden now. Only trouble is I'd have no where to put it. Maybe I'll make one for my mom for christmas.

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Cheryl's Photobucket
My journal

Yesterday is history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.
by Patty S on December 04, 2006 06:44 AM
Christina, margaret e. pell is the Cactus lady around here...  - Oh Margaret, where are you?

I'm not a Cactus person... I tend to overwater green things unless they're Orchids, so Cactus plants hate me, because they like water even less than Orchids do!
I only bought these because they were so cheap ...and I can't wait until Wednesday, when I can unload them (& get my 10 bucks back from the Club Treasurer) before I kill them off!  -

It's my understanding that cactus soil needs to be kept VERY dry...
quote:
Originally posted by papito:
... Our son who used to work at Grand Canyon, AZ sent me miniature cactus in a round dish. As I remember, the watering instruction was to give the cactus a couple of drops of water every week.
Judging from that, my guess is that the potting soil you got "that retains moisture" may have been a big mistake, since Christmas Cactus IS a Cactus!  - (I found Cactus Mix for mine at BiMart, so I'm thinking that they probably still have it at the store there in Klamath Falls too.) Tonya mentioned that Cactus thrive on neglect... I think you might be loving your Christmas Cactus to death!

What kind of a "new pot" did you put it in? Margaret mentioned on page 1 of this thread that a pourous (terra cotta) container is best, & I take that to mean "non glazed".
My question for Margaret is: When a pot is glazed on the outside, but not on the inside, is that still OK for Cactus? [dunno]

Also, the 11 pages of the link that Papito mentioned on page 1, How to Construct a Cactus Dish Garden, gives some pretty good clues on Cactus care.
quote:
Originally posted by Triss:
WOW you are ALL done??? Wanna come on up and help me too???
Sure! ...As long as I can bring the basketS of ironing I have backed up here, & you can catch me up on that!  - [grin]

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by Jiffymouse on December 04, 2006 08:53 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Patty S:
Christina, margaret e. pell is the Cactus lady around here... Oh Margaret, where are you?

i do concur with christina about margaret being one of our best cacti people [thumb]
quote:
I'm not a Cactus person... I tend to overwater green things unless they're Orchids, so Cactus plants hate me, because they like water even less than Orchids do!
I only bought these because they were so cheap ...and I can't wait until Wednesday, when I can unload them (& get my 10 bucks back from the Club Treasurer) before I kill them off!
It's my understanding that cactus soil needs to be kept VERY dry...
quote:
Originally posted by papito:
... Our son who used to work at Grand Canyon, AZ sent me miniature cactus in a round dish. As I remember, the watering instruction was to give the cactus a couple of drops of water every week.
Judging from that, my guess is that the potting soil you got "that retains moisture" may have been a big mistake,

i agree with this statement also. it is very easy to love any plant to death (been there, done that [Embarrassed] )
quote:
since Christmas Cactus IS a Cactus!
actually, they are epiphytes, a "cousin" of orchids. but, they do respond well to being treated much like a cactus with regards to soil and water.
quote:
(I found Cactus Mix for mine at BiMart, so I'm thinking that they probably still have it at the store there in Klamath Falls too.) Tonya mentioned that Cactus thrive on neglect... I think you might be loving your Christmas Cactus to death!

if you can't find cactus soil, mix some coarse sand or pea gravel with the soil you have to promote better drainage.
quote:
What kind of a "new pot" did you put it in? Margaret mentioned on page 1 of this thread that a pourous (terra cotta) container is best, & I take that to mean "non glazed".
non-glazed is right, but because cc's are epi's, they can have glazed pots IF they have very good drainage.
quote:
My question for Margaret is: When a pot is glazed on the outside, but not on the inside, is that still OK for Cactus? [dunno]

i'm not margaret, but the answer, is the bottom glazed too? if it is, then no, don't use it. if it isn't, then go ahead and use it, it will be fine, it just won't dry quite as quickly.
by margaret e. pell on December 04, 2006 09:02 AM
"Oh Margaret, where are you?"
At work, reading, cleaning the house(ok, that one is pretty lame), cooking, letting my kids/husband know I'm interested in them, too... Laundry. That was a big one today. Sorry.
"When a pot is glazed on the outside, but not on the inside, is that still OK for Cactus? [dunno]"
Well... The problem is the water, not the pot. You can grow cacti in plastic if you can refrain from watering often and still remember to water sometimes, as long as the soil does not hold water. It's just a lot easier to grow them in unglazed terracotta. I like to "tend" my plants, so I have adjusted the soil and pot size/type so that just about everything, except those with dormancy needs, can get watered at least every other week. I grow everything from a philodendron in an 18" tall and wide plastic pot (it's about 5' tall with a 2' spread) to 2 year old cactus seedlings in 2" x 2" terracotta that won't get watered again until spring. Cacti and any (but not all) succulents are resting now. Put them in what pot you want with a quick draining soil (I use a nice organic potting soil about 1 or 2 to 1 soil to drainage material [a mixture of coarse, NOT fine sand, aquarium gravel, small lava rock, small pebbles, whatever. I have a personal bias against pearlite, but some people like it]), water them once until it drains through, then not again until March.

Ironing!?!?! But that's rediculous! Why would you do that?

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Patty S on December 04, 2006 10:49 AM
 - Boy! We caught a couple ladies on a roll there!

Thanks for all your comments, Jiffy & Margaret... you two are real warehouses of knowledge, once you get going!

My daughter gave me a terra cotta cactus dish that she doesn't want anymore. (The reason I know its a cactus dish is because there's a desert scene **with cactus** glazed on the outside!) [grin] It's really cool... Saguaro cactus images were etched into the glaze before it was fired! Neat effect!
It's not glazed on the inside, or on the bottom.

quote:
Cacti and any (but not all) succulents are resting now.
Even when they're indoors? (How do they know it's winter?)  -
When I had to repot a lot of the little cactus plants after seeing that they'd been soaked down at WalMart, I watered them (...cuz that's what you do when you transplant things!) I just "sprinkled" them, & they seem to be OK so far... but next time, should I NOT do that?
(Man, I hope I don't find out later that all those ladies at the luncheon got DEAD cactus for party favors!) [Embarrassed]

Margaret, what's your bias against Pearlite? [dunno] I don't know much about it... other than it's NOT Vermiculite, which I was glad to see discontinued from potting soil & other household products (like air fresheners for vacuum bags). After living in Libby, Montana when that stuff was being mined, I have a real hate for that killer! There's a lot of Pearlite in the Cactus Mix I bought, but usually when I want a "lighter" soil, I pick apart Styrofoam peanuts & add it to the potting soil... cuz I'm too frugal to pay for stuff like that!

quote:
Ironing!?!?! But that's rediculous! Why would you do that?
Trust me, I don't "want" to, but I do it anyway cuz my hubby wont!  -
Actually, he has to wear dress shirts at work. I don't care how "Wash N Wear" the label says they are, they need touching up along the buttons & collars, or he'd go to work looking like he doesn't have a wife!

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by margaret e. pell on December 05, 2006 12:39 AM
Cacti need a summer/winter cycle to bloom. Without it they will grow fine, may even pot out a flower once in a while, but won't do the really spectacular blooms they are capable of. I keep mine by windows where it is much cooler at night in winter than on summer nights, and I don't water them. Many cacti can stand brief freezes if they're dry. It never actually freezes by my windows, but it does get cool. They also get fewer hours of direct sunlight, as we all do in winter. Yes, we turn the lights on inside, but they aren't bright enough close enough to the plants. At least, I had some georgeous flowers last spring/summer with this treatment. Now that I have a digital camera, I'll take pics next year. And, above all, cacti are at least somewhat forgiving You did not give your ladies dead cacti, but what happens next is up to them. They looked beautiful, as do your dish gardens!

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may God bless the WHOLE world!
by Patty S on December 05, 2006 02:18 AM
Thanx, Margaret. If these plants survived ME for a month, the least the ladies can do is to not love them to death! [grin] I'll tell them to put them in a window & not water them until St. Patricks Day.... or Easter.

I'm still wondering about your take on the Pearlite... [dunno]

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by margaret e. pell on December 05, 2006 03:21 AM
Mine go from Thanksgiving to Valentines' Day dry, except the seedlings which get a bit once a month.
My dislike for perlite is this: it always, eventually, floats to the top of the soil and discolors, looking ugly and leaving the lower soil levels without drainage material. I grow lots of my cacti/succ's in small pots and the weight of all the grit and stuff helps keep them from tipping over. Mostly, I just find it unsightly on the top. That's all.

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may God bless the WHOLE world!

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