How to care for echinocactus gruzoni at home
Echinocactus gruzoni are unique plants, vivid representatives of the cactus family, resembling barrels with their spherical forms. Against the background of other indoor plants, the groves look spectacular and bright: echinocactus is not covered with unusual leaves or exotic flowers, but it is he who will be the first to catch the eye. Read more about this succulent, and how to care for it, read on.
A spherical exot migrated to us from the Mexican lands, where under natural conditions it reaches very impressive dimensions: its length and diameter can grow up to 1 m, or even more. At home, the diameter of the culture does not exceed 40 cm. Its glossy stem takes the form of a ribbed barrel of dark green color. Spiky balls, as a rule, grow solitary, without having “children” near them. Occasionally, echinocactus clusters form a whole family. This species was found at the end of the 19th century and named after the German botanist Herman Gruzoni.
Did you know? The prickly cactus culture is a long-lived: a plant can reach even 500 years of age.
The balls of adult plants have from 30 to 40 ribs. A peculiar decoration of each rib are areola tightly seated on it with an edge. As you approach the top of the ball, the distance between the areoles decreases, and at the very top they close, forming something like a cap. Each areola has a strong spine. And the areoles themselves, and their edge, and thorns are yellow in color, which contrasts brightly with the dark green gloss of the stem.
Usually, there are four 5 cm central spines and ten radial, 3 cm each, on the edge of the echinocactus. As they grow, new areoles appear, and, accordingly, spines (although this process becomes slower every year: after 5 years of age, only 1-2 areoles per year are formed on the Georgian).
Did you know? The original appearance of echinocactus has caused its various names to appear. So, the plant is called the "golden barrel", "golden ball", "golden ball", "hedgehog flower." Jokingly, the Georgian people call it a “mother-in-law chair”, or “a mother-in-law pillow”.
|Root system||Surface type. The roots are short.|
|Stem||It takes the shape of a ball, the diameter and length of which can reach 1 m or more|
|Leaf shape||Instead of leaves - needles, from 3 to 10 cm long.|
|Leaf color||The needles are colored yellow, and with age acquire a tan|
|Flower shape||They have a felt-pubescent tubular shape, with lanceolate petals elongated at the tips|
|Fruit shape||Small, about 2 cm long. Covered in white villi. Contain a lot of oblong dark seeds|
|Fruit color||Chocolate brown, tends to black|
|Taste||The plant is inedible.|
House growing conditions
When creating simple conditions, you can easily grow groves on the windowsill at home (especially since he does not put forward special requirements).
Placement and lighting
Echinocactus gruzoni is a supporter of good lighting, which needs to be provided constantly. It is advisable to put a photophilous flower on the southern windows. Despite the attachment to sunlight, after the winter period, the culture should be gradually accustomed to the hot sunlight in order to protect from burns. In the summer it will be useful to carry out the groves in the fresh air. If the "hedgehog flower" receives an insufficient amount of light, then the thorns will begin to fall. New ones will grow in their place, but they will be too thin and pale.
Unlike many representatives of the flora, which usually go to rest in winter, echinocactus tends to hibernate both in winter and in summer, when the temperature rises above +30 ºС. At such high temperature indicators, flower growth first slows down, and then stops altogether. Allowing him to hibernate in the summer is undesirable. In winter, the "thin armchair" is recommended rest. To do this, it is advised to relocate the plant to a cool room, the temperature in which is kept at + 12 ... + 14 ºС, but not lower. The optimum temperature indicators for such a cactus are + 23 ... + 27 ºС.
Important! Cactus frostbite should not be allowed. This can provoke the appearance of brown spots on its green stem, which adversely affect the decorative characteristics of the groves. C branches can even die.
The culture is not demanding on air humidity, it easily tolerates too dry air in the room. But this feature should not be abused: from time to time it is recommended to spray the flower, trying to imitate the dew. In winter, there is no need to additionally moisten the air near the plant. To cleanse the dust from dust, which often accumulates between the ribs of echinocactus, it is recommended that he organize a warm shower, or remove dust with a toothbrush. It is especially useful in the summer.
Care involves watering, fertilizing and transplanting. Read more about each step.
Did you know? On the windows of flower shops you can admire the "hedgehog flowers" with needles painted in different colors (red, blue). Such a diverse range of colors is the result of the use of dyes.
Echinocactus is an ideal flower for those who forget about watering their indoor plants: he does not need them. So, in the summer it is recommended to moisten the grooves only once a week. It is necessary to monitor the soil: if it is not completely dry, then there is no need to water, because excessive moisture can cause diseases of the root system (root rot). With the onset of cold weather, when the temperature in the room where the cactus is located drops to +15 ºС, the number of irrigations is reduced by three times.
Important! When watering the echinocactus of Georgia, make sure that water does not fall on the stem, as this can provoke rot and often the death of the entire pot. Pour water onto the soil. The best method of watering is drip.
Remember that during the period when the “golden ball” is actively growing (spring – summer), it needs to be fertilized every 4 weeks. In flower shops, purchase a special cactus or succulent top dressing that contains the right amount of essential trace elements (calcium, phosphorus), and, most importantly for cacti, has a low nitrogen content. The list of the most popular and effective ones is Gilea, Master Agro, Agricola, Stimulus, Loren, Scott Everris, Florovit. In autumn and winter, when the echinocactus switches to rest mode, it does not need to be fertilized.
Transplanting is the most difficult step in caring for a sore throat, since moving a plant shrouded in sharp prickly needles from one flower pot to another is quite complicated and sometimes painful. Even using gloves made of thick fabric and a layer of newspapers, you can not save yourself from cactus acupuncture. Despite such inconveniences, it is necessary to transplant a "hedgehog flower" every year until he reaches 4 years of age. After this, the transplant is carried out every 2-3 years. Engaged in such work is recommended in the spring.
Important! Gruzoni feels excellent in flat shallow pots, which are most suitable for its superficial root system and spherical dimensions. The diameter of the pot should be 5 - 10 cm larger than the diameter of the cactus stem.
Some cactus growers, transplanting groves, use a peculiar design of wire: they make holders and loops from it that pass between the needles. Then they lift the echinocactus, grasping the holders, and transfer it to another pot. This procedure requires special attention and accuracy. It is not recommended to transplant echinocactus into unglazed clay or ceramic pots, as they have pores through which water vaporizes, air circulates, and, as a result, the roots of the culture are cooled. And cold and high humidity are its main enemies.
When transplanting, the main thing is not to damage the root system, because the plant reacts very painfully to even the most harmless damage to the roots, can be sick for a long time or even die. Echinocactus is a touchy flower. He does not welcome any manipulations with himself, even the simplest turns of the pot: the weight should always be turned towards the light the same.
Important! It is recommended for 30 - 40 minutes to put the soil in the oven to disinfect and protect the plant from diseases and pests.
The first stage of transplantation is the extraction of the cactus from the pot along with the soil, after which it must be left for 2-3 days to dry the soil on the roots, and the wounds obtained during the extraction will heal. The bottom of the container for echinocactus should be well-drained. For this purpose, it is covered with expanded clay (1-2 cm). Then spread a ball of soil mixture, the thickness of which depends on the length of the roots: they should be freely located in the substrate and not bulge up. After laying the roots, lightly sprinkle them with soil (sprinkle until they are completely covered). Then the soil is tamped. The root neck should be wrapped in sand.
How to grow from seed
Thanks to almost 100% germination, experienced cactus growers recommend growing Georgian leaves from seeds that can be purchased at the nearest flower shop or ordered online.
Important! When the diameter of the seedlings reaches 4-5 cm, they are dived a second time. The substrate is now taken already as for adult plants.
Read more about the main stages of the seed technology for growing echinocactus:
- Soaking seeds. Before sowing echinocactus seed in the soil, it must be soaked in water at room temperature (3-4 hours).
- Sowing time is the middle or end of spring.
- Sowing method: the seeds are simply spread on the substrate, without any recesses. As a substrate, it is better to take ordinary sand.
- Sowing storage: the container with sown seeds should be covered with a film of polyethylene and put in a room that is well lit.
- Sowing care consists in airing the seedlings and spraying them with potassium permanganate for preventive purposes (to avoid the formation of putrefactive mold). Watering the sowing is not recommended.
- The appearance of sprouts must be expected from 10 to 30 days.
- Dive. The first pick is done immediately after germination (before the seedlings are covered with thorns).
Possible growing difficulties
The main difficulty in growing cacti is the risk that they may become ill or succumb to pest attacks.
The main pests of echinocactus include:
- cactus scale insects. They look like small plaques that cover plants. The threat of scale insects is that they secrete substances that become a favorable environment for the reproduction of the fungus. To eliminate scabies, the plant needs to be brushed with a hard brush with a toothbrush. The procedure must be done carefully so as not to damage the surface of the stem;
- spider mites that form a thin web on the flowerpot body. The activity of pests provokes the appearance on the stem of the echinocactus of brown spots with dead tissue. To eliminate them, spraying with infusion of chamomile or tobacco with soap will help. After 2 days after spraying, the scrubs are washed using warm water. Carrying out the procedures, the soil must be covered so that moisture does not get on it;
- worms. The pest can be recognized by white plaque that forms on the body of the plant. Worms drain the flower, it becomes weak and dries out soon. Remove these parasites with a wet swab.
Important! If the listed insecticides do not help, then you can use insecticide solutions (for example, Actellicum (0.15%)).
The plant may suffer from diseases and health disorders:
- blackening of needles. This is possible when the flower is too old;
- wrinkling of the trunk. Occurs as a result of a lack of moisture. The way out is to water;
- if the Georgian is not enough light, then its spines become thin, pale, they stretch out, begin to fall out. The ball itself takes the form of a cucumber. In this case, the cactus should immediately be relocated to a room where there is more light;
- brown spots on the flower’s body can indicate rot, hypothermia, and burns. When hypothermia, the cactus should be rearranged in a warm place; if he got a burn, he is a little shaded. If the “golden ball” is damaged by rot, then only a kind of “surgical intervention” can save it: it is necessary to cut out the rotted areas and sprinkle the wounds with wood ash, which contributes to the rapid healing. Such a procedure will negatively affect the appearance of the flower, but it will live;
- growth retardation occurs when echinocactus is too hot. It should be relocated to cooler conditions;
- waterlogging of the soil and excessive watering cause root rot. Such a diagnosis is a signal for an immediate cactus transplant. In this case, you need to inspect the roots, remove the rotten and sprinkle wounds with wood ash;
- the one-sidedness of the cactus barrel indicates that it is reaching for heat. To align the flower, it must be rotated from time to time, although it does not welcome such manipulations.
Find out how and how to feed indoor plants at home.
Echinocactus gruzoni is a find flower for those who do not have time to pay much attention to representatives of the flora. He does not need special care. All that he needs for a full life is sufficient light.