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Valerian flowers & Cactis?
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Culture general

Because of the fact that the members of the opuntia-family are domiciled all over the american continent it is nearly impossible to give You an universal cultivation-tip for all sorts.

There are only a few warmth-needing sorts from the more or less subtropical areas of South America that need temperatures of more than 10 degress C and also a little water during the wintertime e.g. sorts of the genus Brasiliopuntia, Consolea and Tacinga.

The biggest part of my collection spends the wintertime dry at temperatures of +/- 5  degrees C, whereas some genus need prematurely (towards the beginning of March, when the first periods of nice wheather take place) a lot of water for a rich florescence e.g. the genus Corynopuntia, Cylindropuntia, Pterocactus and Micropuntia.

Others like Maihueniopsis, Cumulopuntia (not all sorts) and Cylindropuntia (also not all sorts) have to be stimulated to bloom by dryness and You may give them water first if the sprouts are well developed – this can endure until You have to stay tough !!

The plants of the genus Airompoa normally bloom very rich and more times a year particularly at a higher age.
Younger plants have to be treated as described above although there are forms that show their flowers willingly if they are watered precocious.

The more or less hairy sorts of Austrocylindropuntia from the Peruan Andes cannot endure any standing heat and have to stand absolutely airy and sunny.
Abundant watering from July to January causes fast growth and the hairiness from sort to sort more or less significant.
The typical building of pads normally depends on the sort and can not be lead back to influences of the cultivation.
The pots have to be deep and wide enough in order that the nearly always forming bulb-root can sprout and grow.  
From January to the beginning of the buds in May the plants have to stay absolutely dry, although one could watch flowers on plants that were outplanted in the greenhouse.

In spite of the “usual” cultivation there were even more flowers and the plants were grown stronger.

During the wintertime they necessarily need a bright plce and temperatures lower than 10 degress C.
Sporadic frost with a warmup during the day will be tolerated.

Sowing of matured, perennial seeds with the best results is possible during wintertime at temperatures of 15 to 20 degress C.

So called “hardy” Opuntias survive depending on the sort more or less protected in stonegardens or in front of full-sunny housewalls. On not suitable places the plants have to be protected against humidity in autumn and winter (until March) by covering them with foil or glass.
The plants become even more good-looking if they spend the wintertime in an unheated greenhouse or a foil tunnel planted in not too small pots or cases.
A protected, sunny balcony is also very suitable.
Remind !! The substrate has to be nutritive and permeable at the same time.

Outdoor-plants have to be supplied with a full-component fertilizer in the early springtime and in the summer (e.g. “Nitrophoska permanent” or “Triabon”, 30 – 50 mg/m2).

  The substrate I use in my collection for all my plants is compounded of so-called muffled dig-out soil, weatherworn granite sand (or other more acidic sand types) and compost (best quality !) in a proportion of 1:2:1 parts.

Some sorts, e.g. the “real” Tephrocacti like “articulatus”, “weberi”, “molinensis” or aoracanthus” like a more acidic soil, so I mingle my substrate with some peat.

So far also all other sorts liked my more acidic substrate, even it is often recommended to mingle the substrate with some calc.
The first watering is supplemented with about 30 drops of an extract of valerian-flowers.
It furthers the blossom, restrains fungus and activates the life in the soil.

Remind !! Mr Baudrexel from the “Oberländer Kakteenfreunde” discovered a new source for the  real extract !


Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Förderung der Biologisch-Dynamischen Wirtschaftsweise

C. v. Wistinghausen
Brunnenhof Mäusedorf
D-74653 Künzelsau
Tel. 00497940-2230

You also can order Mr Wistinghausen’s extract in my Online-Shop (the extract will of course be delivered with a prescription of use).

The second watering is supplemeted with a concentrate of brown alga (depending on the sort about 100 ml on 10 l of water).
From time to time during the season You have to spray the plants with the same mixture )may cause brown spots, depending on the product).

Normally I use a light concentrated fertilizer that is more or less poor of nitrogen.

If mineralic substrates are in use You have to fertilize more often.

© 2000 by [ Michael Kießling]
Stand: 28. January 2008 11:11:01