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Experimenting (and starting small)

Discuss hardy cacti grown outside all year.

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Experimenting (and starting small)

Postby RayC » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:34 pm

I've gotten a start on trying to have an outdoor cacti patch here in cold/wet New England.

I bought a Opuntia humifusa locally (only sorta native here) and had planted it on a downward (south facing) slope in my regular soil, that was before I learned about raised beds and such and during rainy June it didn't do much of anything.

I have since created a small raised bed with large rocks surrounding and filled with rocks, sand and just a bit of humus. I replanted the op h and with a bit of cactus fertilizer (2-5-7 I think) it is much happier and growing new pads. I also got one more op and a couple cold hardy Echinocereus to try.

Right or wrong I also tried to suround each of them with some flat rocks intended to direct rain water away from then by at least a few inchs.

After a lot of searching I also have found a nursery not to far away that has a few hardy op's listed as being available and hope to take a drive up there soon (with the intention to see how they grow them in the field).

There is one 50 or 60 year old oak tree in my yard that is going to pay the price for its location and open up at least a couple more hours of sunlight for the area ( its a leaner so would be a good candidate for falling if a long overdue hurricane hits).
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Postby ihc6480 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:19 am

Growing cacti outdoors is a live and learn experience sometimes :wink: If your going to grow opuntias you'd be wise to put top dressing such as river rock or something similar around them as most Opuntia once established the pads that hit soil will take root and basically start a new plant.
O. humifusa should do well and a great cactus to start with.
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Postby Andy_CT » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:21 am

I'm sure you'll have success with the raised bed. One thing id say is you don't need to protect the O humifusa from excess rain. As long as heavy rains are draining away it will enjoy every drop, in fact it may not appreciate being deprived of rain when its growing season. I've personally been slightly slacked jawed by how fast my 3 clumps of humifusa have grown this year, its my first full year of growing them 'correctly'.

What Echinocereus's did you get and did you get them locally? A nursery in Simsbury had some Escobaria Vivipara, my avatar picture is one from there.
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Postby Andy_CT » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:35 am

ihc6480 wrote:If your going to grow opuntias you'd be wise to put top dressing such as river rock or something similar around them as most Opuntia once established the pads that hit soil will take root and basically start a new plant.


Plus I personally had a problem with squirrels digging in the soil which led to them actually nibbling on the pads! And cats were starting to use the loose soil as a bathroom. top dressing has put an end to both of those issues.
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Postby RayC » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:52 pm

Andy_CT wrote:What Echinocereus's did you get and did you get them locally? A nursery in Simsbury had some Escobaria Vivipara, my avatar picture is one from there.


I got a Echinocereus caespitosus and a Echinocereus ‘White Sands’ to try from the coldhardycactus place.

I did hear of a place with cacti in Simsbury but wasn't sure they had hardy ones .

There is a place in Southhampton Mass I plan on going to (not far from me) that has the op's
Image
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Postby Andy_CT » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:53 pm

RayC wrote:
Andy_CT wrote:
I did hear of a place with cacti in Simsbury but wasn't sure they had hardy ones .


It was Warner nursery in Simsbury. They had 6-7 vivipara's when I was there late last summer and I bought the nicest looking one. This spring I lost control and bought another, I think there was only two left and they weren't looking too hot. The one I got this spring shrunk to half its original size within two weeks, I thought it was a gonner but now its sending out 5-6 pups and its still shrunken!!
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Postby RayC » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:09 pm

Lets see if this works:Image

Kinda rough looking but being a test it should do. The surface of the bed is about 12 inches higher then the surrounding land (on bottom of pic) a little less towards top, plus there is a bit of slope on the bed,
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Postby Andy_CT » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:41 am

Nice one Ray. I'll be interested to see how the white sands trigloch does, almost tried that one myself.

Here's the new small garden I made this spring. its pretty busy as it contains: 2 clumps of O. humifusa, O. mackensenii, O. fragilis, O. humifusa X fragilis, O. 'Smithwick', O. cymochila X polyacantha, O. hybrid "red gem", E. vivipara, E. fendleri, E. Reichenbachii caespitosa, E. triglochidiatus 'inermis', E. Coccineus, 4 sempervivums , Sedum sarmentosum and a Sedum angelina cristate. Plus in the bowl is E. Reich. Baileyi

Image
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Postby CoronaCactus » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:28 pm

Nice test garden Ray!


Looking good Andy 8)
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Postby ihc6480 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 9:54 pm

Nice starter gardens Ray and Andy. Watchout though as the garden will take over your yard easily with time :)
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Postby RayC » Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:14 pm

looks great Andy
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Postby Chicago Cactus » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:40 pm

Watchout though as the garden will take over your yard easily with time

I've fallen victim to that as well. :lol:


[/quote]
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Little update

Postby RayC » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:38 pm

The afore mentioned oak tree is now a memory. I also managed to scrounge up a few more light colored rocks to hopefully ensure there is enough light on the garden (placed them on north side and north of east/west to catch a few rays when only filtered light available)

Image

I also took a ride to a local nursery that had a few outdoor cacti, and of course ened up with a couple more
O Phaecantha purple flower, O humifusa orange flower and another with red centered flowers. Of course the garden need a little expansion also for them :roll:

Image
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Postby Andy_CT » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:45 pm

Nice! Orange Humifusa is a new one, that should be interesting to see :D Phaecantha is another on my list.

Can't wait to see how they do through the winter and next spring
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Postby ihc6480 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:54 pm

RayC wrote:
Of course the garden need a little expansion also for them


Ya think so :lol: I can vouch that opuntias require some expansion and some more expansion and yet some more :lol:

Heres a phaeacantha started from a single pad thats now 3 years old. It covers an area about 3 feet in diameter and about 2 foot tall and it just keeps growing.Image
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