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Protect cactus from mid-day sun

The columnist, a GD Block resident and secretary of Bidhannagar Horticultural Society, shares innovative tips on gardening

Arijit Poddar | Published 10.06.22, 10:37 AM
Various kinds of cactus flowers that can be grown in the township

Various kinds of cactus flowers that can be grown in the township

They look nothing like your typical leafy plants and often come in bizarre shapes. Perhaps ,this is what sets cacti apart from others species in the plant kingdom. But the beauty of cacti is their blooms and gardeners wait months to see cactus flowers.

Cacti are thorny leafless plants that produce flowers. They have their own beauty but some cacti can flower spectacularly, provided they receive proper care. They mainly display these striking flowers in the summer. Some species produce flower more abundantly than others such as Gymnocalycium, Lobivia, Mammillaria, Notocactus, Rebutia, Sulcorebutia, Echinocerous.

Save your cactus from the rain, follow a few tricks and watch it blossom the most beautiful flowers.

Here’s how to grow cacti-

Media: Use 80 per cent coarse sand, 20 per cent well-matured leaf mould and mix thoroughly. Add one teaspoon calcium carbonate powder (chuna), 4/5 granules DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) and 4/5 granules NPK (Suphala) 10-26-26 fertiliser. Do not use any kind of soil for cactus. They like well-drained media.

Temperature/ light: Cacti can tolerate high temperatures and light but keep them away from direct midday sunlight, or else they would suffer sunburns. Left to themselves, in nature, they grow among the tall grasses or between rocks and hence are spared harsh sun rays.

Watering: Proper watering is the key to growing cacti. Over-watering can kill them and under-watering will result in wilting of the cacti. Do not water from the top or it will rot.

Over-watering will produce cracks in the plants. Water the cactus well weekly in summer months (March to October). In winter (November to February), water them in gaps of three or four weeks accordingly, to keep them barely alive.

Fertiliser: From March to October use 4/5 granules of DAP and 4/5 granules NPK (10-26-26) fertiliser per pot.

Use a stick to make a hole in the media and insert the granules. This way, the cactus can use the fertiliser directly.

Keep in mind that cacti do not like high nitrogen fertilisers. They grow in arid regions in nature where humus is very less in the soil and so prefer inorganic fertilisers.

Withhold fertiliser from November to February. This winter rest will initiate flowering in good time.

Last updated on 10.06.22, 10:37 AM
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