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This article is a part of Cultivar's projest: Cacti - Writing a Book Together
(section "Popular about cacti")

Cacti are blossom the whole year round

Georgy Volsky

About translation of this article:
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More recently, many thought that the cacti bloom or not at all, or die after flowering. But it is not. Following the great laws of nature, these plants bloom every year, give the fruit of the seeds and reproduce. Among thousands of species and varieties of cacti can choose plants that are replacing each other, will bloom continuously.

Bloom - this moment of maturity, plants, and the end of this period of winter holidays, the beginning of a new growing season. This is the highest rating of the cacti lower. Indeed, abundant blooms - an indicator of the health of plants, and hence the correct, diligent care. Great is the pride of cacti lower, which first blossomed cactus. But it worked only for four! During that same place «five»? Collect ripe seeds deflorate cactus, sow it, grow seedlings from the green ball the size of a pin head to the adult plants the size of a walnut or apple. And when the cactus, grown your own from seed, the first buds appear, you can feel cacti lower - excellent. Two conditions are needed to achieve this result. First - patience. Second - basic knowledge of biology, characteristics of flowering and pollination cacti.

The long winter months, when our holiday cacti are not passed through to them in vain. Over the window the snow, the frosty glass patterns. But note: the sleeping, lifeless at first glance, the cactus is in secret from your eyes are already emerging on the next flower. The plant forms a special, open, more recently, flowering hormones that contribute to laying the flower buds. Do not be a winter period of rest, cacti will never be gladdened us with bright colors. If you want to cacti began to bloom, be sure to provide them an opportunity to engage in preparation for flowering, freeing them from the less important day-to-day affairs - growth.

For this plant around mid-November until the end of February should be in a cool, light and dry place at temperatures ranging from 5 to 12 degrees Celsius. During the winter, you can only once or twice pour warm water large plants, but only a small bit once or twice a month. But it is very useful even in the winter of weekly spray cacti fine spray of warm water.

At the end of winter, more sunshine, hot air in your greenhouse with a cactus. As a feeling of spring offensive, the first sign of - increasing the length of daylight hours, cactus wakes up from winter sleep. And one day you suddenly notice the side or between the areola Rebutia papilla Mammillaria small pink protuberance. These buds. It is not necessary to assist the cactus bloom: this will make the spring and the sun. It is important not to disturb plants. The three commandments have to comply to do so. Do not move in relation to light a pot with cactus, ready to bloom. Do not disturb cactus transplant. Do not start at once abundant watering.

Not follow the first commandment - buds cease to grow. The second break - they dry up and no longer exist. Avoids third ban - buds are green and ... become kids! So, small wetlands, and regular spraying with warm water - this treatment of cacti with the young, newly emerging bud. In a few days and sometimes weeks, the buds increase in size, elongated in length, passing through the plexus thorns. Finally comes the feast: bud gradually deploys his lobes, and at noon at the bright sun flower is fully open. Sometimes it is dissolved very quickly, almost in front, sometimes slowly.

So, the flower open. Now look at it closely, well, at least on the example of a well-known to all Eshinopsis (photo 1). This cactus flower has a long tube, covered with green scales, which are covered with hairs and bristles. And Mammillaria flowers that appear in the axil between the papilla, almost entirely without the tube, sitting.

Receptacle, grounds the petals and stamen of the cacti are often brightly painted. It seems that the flower sits inside another! A white flourishing Gymnocalycium qwehlii (photo 2) red flower mouth.

At the base of the stamen in flowers of some cacti have special nectar chamber with glandule - nectary. Provided they have a thick sweet juice - excellent bait for the insects, which pollinate the flowers for most cacti.

But cactus flowers pollinate not only the different insects. Nectar serves good food and the smallest in the world of birds - humming-bird, as compared with our usual dragonfly rocker - a giant. Flowers of many Opuntia, Cereus cacti and other pollinate these birds.

Flowers cacti may be disclosed at any time of day: day and night. White glitter in the dark velvet night tropical flowers of night flowers. They are white, as if phosphorescent color attracts butterflies night. Flowers larger than daytime. It is understandable: such a flower is easier to notice at night. Many cacti with flowers flowers at night with a strong pleasant odor. This is also a sort of "beacon" for pollinators.

You know, of course, Mexico's sprawling cactus Selenisereus grandiflorus, which means large flowering (photo 3). This is the famous "Queen of the Night." It flowers more than 20 centimeters in diameter, inner perianth lobes - white and gold, and the outer leaves open cup - golden-yellow. Adult plant "Queen of the Night" is sometimes zatsvetayut and in the rooms, especially if they are held in summer on the south window, or even better in the open air, for example, on the balcony. This cactus likes loose fertile land, abundant watering. Fluffy buds appear on the last flight, the flowers open in the evening, source of the smell of vanilla, and by the morning dawn fades. Large shrubs Selenisereus for the summer can be up to several dozens of flowers. For this period of flowering plants in the desirable food to the organic or mineral fertilizer.

Some plants of a group of flowering cacti day even his family name got over the fact that their flowers open only in full sun. Heliosereus (photo 5), translated from Greek means sun candle.

When will my cactus blossom? This question probably arises from the first cacti lower when talking about the blooms. But it is difficult to answer. Is difficult because of age, when he first laid flower buds and buds are formed, it is very different for different types of cacti. There is record and the speed and slowness. Seedlings Rebutia, Aylostera, Mediolobivia, Pigmeolobivia, Parodia, Turbinicarpus, Frailea, some Gimnocalycium in conditions often begin to bloom is already the second year of life. Most other cacti waiting for this moment, three or four years. Among the lingering flowers - known to all Eriocactus leninghausii, Notocactus scopa, many pubescence Cereus, Melocactus. They bloom only at the 10 - and 12-year life.

Duration of the flowering cactus are also very different. Do Selenicereus and Echinopsis flowers stay only one night, the Rebutia - two or three days, but a flower Echinocereus one can stand up to a week, opening to noon, and closing with the onset of dusk. The distinguishing feature of these long-flowers - green pistil stigma. But even if the flower is just one day - do not be disheartened: replacing a flower comes another. Healthy plant blooms intermittently almost all summer. Some cacti differ simply amazing ability to bloom, revealing at once the whole bunches of flowers. These include many of Mammillaria, Parodia, Gymnocalycium, Rebutia. Do not fall behind and residents plateau of Bolivia-Sulkorebutia (photo 4).

Cactus world - a world of contrasts. There are cacti and cacti-dwarfs, giants, naked and armed cacti powerful thorns. Here and flowers as if they reflect all the diversity within the barb family. Often the flower is larger than most plants, fully covering its top, as this Telocactus schwartzii (photo 6). But there are cacti with flowers not more centimeters in diameter. In the smallest cactus Blossfeldia liliputana living in Argentina, and the Lilliputian flowers: their petals 4-5 mm total length.

World cactus flowers - the whole wealth of different colors and shades. Cactus flowers are white, yellow, orange, pink, all shades of red, and even ... green! Do not believe it? Look at the picture 8: This Eshinosereus viridiflorus (green flowering). And he is not alone in this painting of flowers. It is a cactus only blue and blue flowers.

Most cactus fruit - berries. They vary in shape and size, ripen at different times. Do Notocactus, Gymnocalycium, Neochilenia they are ready by the end of autumn. As soon as the fruit will dry and crack a bit, you can harvest. Red berries Mammillaria can decorate the plant all winter. But in Melocactus, for example, long red berries protrude from the woolly cephaliy on top only after a year and a half. Ciak cactus fruit before fully ripe can not - the seeds do not grow.

Among the seeds cacti - also their dwarfs and their giants. Dry fruit Parodia contains infinite many seeds that are difficult to see the naked eye. Most cacti is black, brownish or reddish seeds of the size of a poppy corn. But in the big juicy berries Opuntia and Cereus you find the seeds of almost pea size. They have a tough shell of the seed, which accounts for its slightly cut or incise carefully, otherwise the seeds do not grow. Berries these delicious, juicy. And you can try a large cactus berry, but the other - foliate Epiphyllym, which blooms profusely in the windows of many large pink or red flowers.

To get fruit from the cactus flourishing, it is necessary to gently move pollen from stamen to the stigma of a flower pistil of another. You can do this soft drawing brush. Such an operation is better to make several times intermittently. The point is that the period of maturation of pollen is not always the willingness pistil. If the brush has a yellow "dust" and the pistil stigma sticky, wet - expect good results for your pollination.

But not always, after pollination the fruit is fastened. Sometimes, sear the flower dries up and disappears immediately. And even the most offensive, when the ovary at the base of wilted flower starts to swell, the fruit matures and is ... quite empty. This often happens. The reason for this - self-fertilization. Not all cacti can tie the fruit of the seeds, if the spout pistil pollen came from the same plant, even from another flower. In this case, definitely need a second plant of the same species, and it should not be a "blood relative" of the first. Useless, for example, is not self-pollinate the plant with the pollen of another, if it is produced from the kids or cuttings first.

Most fans of cacti for cross-pollination contain two different plants of one species. But it happens that the first flowering earlier than the second. What to do? Pollen grains can be "inhibited" for several weeks. To do this, pollen caught in brush, it must be carefully moved to a clean dry test tube, and can be left in the test tube directly from the brush. Keep a supply of pollen must be dry in a refrigerator. Do not forget to put a note in the tube with the exact name of the cactus. Mixed pollen - get an unknown hybrid. When the time comes second cactus bloom, remove the pollen from the refrigerator, warm the hands and move the brush in the opening flower pistil.

If you do not have a second instance of the cactus, it is still possible to achieve cross-pollination, pollen exchanged with friends. Pollen can even be sent by post, in a letter sealed in small plastic or cellophane bags. Cross-pollination more desirable than self-fertilization. Seeds from cross-pollination, always better than rises, as seedlings, grown from these seeds, a more viable.

"But how is it that to make cacti bloom all year round?" - You ask, looking at the title of this article. Of course, a cactus is not a virtue. We need to find a small collection of cacti, that every month for any flowers the plant opened - big or small, white or yellow, night or day.

Very early spring, in February - March, the first buds appear in Rebutia. Their bright little flowers - the first messengers of spring coming. Then begin to bloom thin whip Aporocactus, opening their modest flowers Mammillaria.

At the end of March - April blossom spring flowering Brazilicactus, Ehinofossulocactus, Neolloydia. In summer, from May to August, replacing each other, how would compete tirelessly give their flowers Gymnocalycium, Mammillaria, Notocactus, Lobivia, Neochilenia, Astrophytum. All summer flowering Hamatocactus setispinus (setae thorn). Only in a very hot week in mid-summer respite from the cactus is in the growth and flowering. At the end of September is the time for autumn flowering species. These include Mammillaria plumosa (cirrus) and shideana (Shide), Dolihotele camptotricha (bent hair) and decipiens (specious). Beautiful red-purple flowers gives it later in the year the South American Neoporteria rapifera (with sword) and a rare nopal Neogomesia agavoides. These plants often remain in bloom until mid-November - would be good weather.

Comes the end of the year. In November - December intercede to watch epiphytic Rhipsalis, inhabitants of tropical rain forests of Brazil. Surprisingly beautiful flowering Rhipsalis. His flat or cylindrical stems from all sides are covered by small white or cream color. Stems flourishing Rhipsalis that are decorated with lace. At the same time, as a gift on New Year's Eve, presents its red flowers Zigokaktus ( "Decembrist"). His hybrid forms are white or gently-pink flowers. White flowering hybrid is a poetic name of "The Winter's Tale." In winter, flowering cactus and Shlyumbergera (photo 7). Cacti blooming in winter in late January, the baton pass a change of spring bloom.

So ended cacti year. And we finish our tour of the collection of cacti.


Cultivar e-magazin: Copyright (c) by Valery Kalishev, Chelyabinsk, Russia, since 2000.
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