Growing up, moving out

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that I've grown cactus from seeds before. Twice. (If you haven't done this, give it a try, as those little prickly plants are adorable!) I had to give the first batch of cactus away as they weren't cold-hardy species.


The second batch was cold-hardy though, and I finally decided to repot them. Not that most of them really needed it.


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Before I get into details, here's what they looked like back in February:


So tiny, and innocent.


Now they've grown up -- at least one of them has. Guess which one is an overachiever?


Maybe it's the others that are underperforming, but the end result is I've got one that wants more space, so I decided to repot them all. First though, a look at each of the small ones. I'm pretty sure that each of these is a different species, although I have absolutely no idea what they are. Counter-clockwise starting with the bottom one (in the above photo):





The first and third may be the same species, but they do look a little different. It's so hard to tell when they're so small.

So, back to their living conditions.

They're probably fine in this tray, but this is a dangerous place for cactus to live, as there are no drainage holes at all. Much too easy for a plant to rot its roots in too-wet soil. So I want to put them into pots that I can actually water without worry.

First, the big guy. That's bubble wrap protecting my fingers:


I wasn't sure what to expect as far as roots go, but I wasn't too concerned about damaging them as I know cactus are tough.

He got his own pot:



How much more growing can he do before the season ends?

The small guys are staying together in a pot of their own, mainly because I didn't have clay pots small enough for each of them. Plus I don't want to have five separate pots to keep track of -- two I can manage.

Surprisingly long roots for such a little cactus:


After a good soaking, they're looking quite happy!


I haven't decided what to do with these over the winter yet. They're supposedly cold-hardy, but without knowing the exact species do I want to risk them outdoors in our winter? They're so small too! I guess they take it "in the wild" -- if they are truly cold-hardy species -- so maybe I'll just give it a shot.

I certainly won't have a shortage of plants that I'll need to overwinter indoors, so if they don't make it through the winter, do I really want them around?


I still have some time to decide. I'll transition them outdoors soon, as I'll need to get them acclimated before colder weather sets in. Grow little ones, grow!

I sure like these little balls of spines.


(If anybody has any ideas about IDs for these little cactus, please let me know in the comments!)

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Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (August 14, 2012 at 11:12 AM)  

Awesome! I still have the one survivor from the first batch of seeds. The largest one in this batch looks like a claret cup to me (Echinocereus triglochidiatus).

Steve Lau  – (August 14, 2012 at 7:41 PM)  

I haven't really been successful with cactus since it is very hard to get them to over-winter even with good window light so I've stuck to indoor succulents such as epiphyllums. Growing them from seed sounds challenging.

Stiletto  – (August 15, 2012 at 12:49 AM)  

With such tender loving care, I'm sure your spine-balls will flourish.

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