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Melo rescue

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Postby gemhunter178 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:12 am

Wow, nice save!
A cacti grower who likes Ariocarpus.
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby Traveller » Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:18 am

Is there any update on how your Melo went?
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby Steve Johnson » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:50 am

Traveller wrote:Is there any update on how your Melo went?

I was wondering about that myself. It's a good time of year if your Melo continues to pull through. My M. matanzus is coming out of winter here in L.A., and I can't wait to see what it'll look like in the new growing season. Fun swapping photos here, so give us a pic if your patient looks well.
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby SnowFella » Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:47 am

It's still going strong and funny enough has been my most reliable flowerer this summer, not a week has gone by without it throwing up atleast one new flower.
Still has the damage to the body but the cephalium as coloured up nicely and grown some, plus it's now started sprouting seedpods. Picked 14 or so out of it sofar but there's plenty more coming.
This was at the end of February, flowers and seedpods
Image

And last week, rainwet and with more seedpods poking out. Look close and you can see just how many spent dried up flowers that are poking out, when I got it there was no traces of spent flowers.
Image

For some reason it's a very hard one to photograph for me, seemd the red of the flowers and pods send my camera packing and I just never can get a photo that does it justice :idea:
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby Steve Johnson » Sat Mar 17, 2012 8:36 am

Okay, I'll take a stab at it (figuratively)...

The spination is reminiscent of Melo zehntneri, although that plus the color of the spines makes me think if M. deinacanthus could be a better candidate. See if this photo seems to be a match:

http://www.cactiguide.com/graphics/m_de ... _a_600.jpg

Edit -- spines look too small for a deinacanthus, so maybe it is a zehntneri.

Melos deserve their reputation for being difficult, since they're rot-prone and won't survive much below about 5C. To make it even more interesting, they also don't hold up well under extended periods without water. For whatever it's worth, two pieces of advice:

Critical boo-boo edit -- I posted this as -5C last night. I just corrected it above, and that is +5C (= 40 degrees F). Sorry about that!

1. Since it appears that your Melo was sunburned around the cephalium before it came to you, I'd be concerned about letting rot get into the damaged area. If possible, keep the rain off, and water the soil without spraying a garden hose.

2. Getting your Melo through the winter is a challenge, although by no means impossible if you're careful. The trick is to give it some light watering once a month over fall and winter. The soil needs to dry out quickly, otherwise you'll end up with soggy soil and a dead plant. The other side of this equation is to keep overnight temps at or above 15C while the soil is retaining moisture. I do this with my M. matanzus when I bring it indoors. If you can do the same, a week should be enough to ensure that the soil has dried out well before it's safe to put the plant outside before its next fall/winter watering. However, if your overnight temps are dipping below 5, it should be staying in anyway.

That bigbox store didn't do you or your Melo any favors, but definitely worth the effort to rescue it. If it doesn't survive, just remember that even more experienced growers can have trouble with them. But if it lives to see another growing season, you can be proud of your accomplishment. Please keep us apprised of further updates if you'd like -- and it would be nice to see photos of a positive outcome in the next growing season.

Best of luck!
Last edited by Steve Johnson on Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby hoteidoc » Sat Mar 17, 2012 2:11 pm

Way to hang tough & "never say die" , Snowfella :D I think poor plant was trying to reward you with "gifts" before it passes on to that Great Cactus in the Sky! Other rule to keep in mind -- you didn't lose a plant -- you got more! :D
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby SnowFella » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:24 am

Well, I try not to overthink the way I care for these guys so I'll likely give it the same treatment I did last winter. I did pick it up just as we were starting to see single digit temperatures overnight so pretty much from day one I kept it indoors during the nights and put it back out on sunny days, giving it a spash of water every now and then to keep the roots from drying out. Unfortunately it came in a hugely unsuitable pot and mix that just didn't dry out properly so once I got around to repotting it most of the roots were gone already.
Since the repotting though it hasn't show any signs of shrinkage so I've watered it more or less like the rest of my collection. This and a few others has got a fair few rain soaks through the summer, if you can call what we have had summer with near 550mm of rain since newyears.

Fun thing is though that I've talked some with the cactii supplier for that bigbox store and they swear it's been years since they sold plants of that size to said store, so it's likely been stuck on the cactii shelf at that store for a few years before I picked it up. And that's outdoors in whatever the heavens offers, rain, hail, sun and even slight snowfall...combined with the fact that they water everything equal, doesn't matter if it's a cactus or houseplant they soak them to the bone atleast 4 times a week.
So I have a feeling this one is a fighter and will keep on fighting! I'd love to poke into the soil around it to see if there's more roots but don't really want to disturb anything.
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby hoteidoc » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:39 pm

Super save, Snowfella! I missed the "middle page" of the thread where Melo "rose from the dead"! So apparently Melo Gods are indeed smiling down on your efforts! And want to "go forth & spread seeds"! :lol:
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby SnowFella » Mon May 07, 2012 10:41 am

Well, it's starting to be time to bite the bullet down here and bring this guy and it's fellow Melocactii in for the winter. Had 8 degrees outside overnight and the predictions are for continued cold mornings.

Here's all 4 in a temporary spot on the floor, the longspined one lost most of it's roots last winter and has really done nothing at all throughout summer. Starting to think it's a loss but still not giving up hope.
Image

Strangely enough though I took a quick peek into the propagation box where I sowed seeds taken from this rescue Melo a year ago and found a handful of new green little blobs apart from the now cute little spiny ones that has had near a years worth of growth behind them.
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Re: Melo rescue

Postby daiv » Tue May 08, 2012 10:47 pm

I agree - don't give up yet. You already proved that success is possible!
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