Growing Cacti and Other Succulants in Wet Zones 5/6

Discussion in 'Cactus and Succulent' started by RonsGarden, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    It is amazing how may species of cacti are winter hardy in my zone 5/6.
    The more I research the more I find!
    There are various species of agave, and iceplants that should do wonderfully in my well draining sandy soil!
    Here is a list of cacti and succulant seeds I'll be starting this year!

    Cactus and succulent seed inventory December 2011
    Seeds from (http://www.mesagarden.com/)-> Mesa Garden NM, and (http://www.cactusstore.com/category_100/CACTI-SEED-INDEX.htm)-> Phoenix Desert Nursery AZ
    All are winter hardy in zones 5/6 ~~0F
    All require loose well draining soil especially during the winter months!

    Echinocerus clorantus SB136 - long twisted spines
    Echinocerus clorantus cylindricus - red spines, copper flowers
    Echinocerus coccineus - clump former, dense needle-like spines,
    Echinocerus coccineus (Mexican Claret Cup) clump former, 16"s tall, orange/red flowers
    Echinocerus fendleri DJF883.4 - tall clumper
    Echinocerus fendleri JHT554 from NM- giant stems, huge purple flowers
    Echinocerus fendleri kuenzleri SB353 -heavy white corky spines
    Echinocerus reichenbachii -Pink flowers, up to 16"s high, clumper
    Echinocerus russanthus -Northern Texas ~very fine red spines, dark flowers
    Echinocerus texensis NM, Texas northern M~Nicknamed the horse crippler! 12" and 8"s high, pink flowers and red fruit.
    Echinocerus triglochidiatus
    Echinocerus triglochidiatus v. gonacanthus
    Echinocerus triglochidiatus SB1598 - stems to 36 inches tall
    Echinocerus triglochidiatus mojavensis f. inermis -some spiny some naked
    Echinocerus viridiforus -yellow/ greenish flowers
    Escobaria vivipara JRT1111 CO- big stems, red flowers hardy down to -30F, eventually form a colony, slow clumper.
    Escobaria vivipara rosea DJF1366 AZ -thick spines, pink/rose flowers
    Gymnocalycium chubutense -Argentina~ dark grey brown thick stem, heavy grey spines
    Gymnocalycium gibbosum nigrum - nearly black stems, white flowers
    Mammillaria meiacantha RP89 NM -pink midstipes
    Mammillaria wrightii -bright puple flowers...best grown in soft sandy soil

    Opuntia erinacea ursina s. St George -dense white spines
    Opuntia imbricata - tall with purple flowers
    Opuntia Opuntia macrocentra SB994 CO NM - bright purple pads
    Opuntia phaeacantha DJF970 CO - 2ft tall

    Pediocactus simpsonii SB586 CO UT -dark grey spines

    Iceplants:
    Ruschia pulvinaris S Africa shrub iceplant, pink flowers

    Agaves:
    Agave montana ~ hardy to -12C Mexico~ Montana might be pushing it in my zone 6/5 Could grow to 5ft wide!
    Agave neomexicana ~ hardy to -20F, 20"s tall x 30"s wide, Texas, N Mexico
    Agave toumeyana s. Globe - AZ compact hairy rosettes
    Agave utahensis DJF1521 AZ -tiny rosettes
    Agave utahensis kaibabensis AZ -larger rosettes ~ 15"s x 18"s wide. Zone 5!
    Agave victoriae-reginae ~ grows 12"s x 12"s wide hardy to -10C

    This is not a complete list since I will be ordering others at a later date!

    I will be starting all the seeds inside under grow lights and move them on as they grow and develop into an area outdoors once the weather starts to warm by mid-April!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  2. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Seed starting medium is a peatmoss and perlite mix, but I have used a good seed starting soil-less mix. Pre-moisten the medium before use!
    I use shallow plastic pots, or trays and make the drainage holes larger to help with drainage.
    I surface sow the seeds and tamp them down them into the soil surface then use a spray bottle to wet them and moisten the soil, cover the pots and trays with clear plastic and place them under the growlights so they sit 2-3 inches away from the tubes! I carefully mark each pot with their name and date sown! Most cacti seedlings look identical to one another so it is best to label each pot or tray as I sow them!
    With some species the germination is quick (i.e Opuntia seeds that have been stored for 2 or more years) within 5 days. Others species will take 7, or more days!
    I keep the pots covered until tiny spines begin to develop then gradually remove the plastic from the pots.
    At this point the soil will need to be moistened and not to let it dry out.
    The seedlings grow and develop slowly and will take at least 2 months before they are large enough to pick out and pot up into small sized cell packs!
    I use a weak solution of water soluable fertilizer, preferably one low in nitrogen every other week at half strength.
    Fertilizer high in nitrogen produces weak and floppy seedlings that rot easily!
    The soil surface should be allowed to dry a bit (but the cell packs should not be allowed to dry out completely) before watering them! If too wet the seedlings will rot! To aid in preventing rot I sprinkle course sand over the soil surface.
    It is essential that the soil used is porous!
    ...
    More info to come!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  3. Crabbergirl

    Crabbergirl Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great info Ron! Thanks, taking this to facebook
  4. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Good idea Nancie!
    I will try to keep this thread clean of other postings, or replies that do not deal with winter hardy cacti and succulents!
    The thread will be more like a blog rather then random comments!
  5. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Opuntia 'Prickly Pear' seedlings I started 2 yrs ago.
    They are the easiest cacti to grow from seed.
    Photos of various cultivars and species.
    They are also the fastest seedlings from seed to 2 inch size takes 3 months!

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  6. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  7. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Here's another order from MesaGardens.com that I'm waiting for!

    MesaGardens January 2012
    I added the catalog number for those who wish to order these species from MesaGarden.com
    Small barrel type cacti:

    410.1523~~Escobaria vivipara JRT1112 Fremont Co --- large stems/barrels with white spines

    The species below are classified as Mesembryanthemum....
    Common names: Ice Plants, Living Stones which mimic their native habitate
    Theses species are winter hardy to zones 5/6
    ****Soil requirements is gravelly sandy well draining soils which is the same for all cacti and succulents***

    1314~~~~Aloinopsis peersii --long thick taproot, bonsai type
    1315.1~~Aloinopsis rosulata --alligator leaves
    1316~~~~Aloinopsis schooneesii --thick knobby leaves, yellow/red fl
    1522.58~~Hereroa glenensis --short curved bumpy leaves
    1524.115~Hereroa -sp --Klein Tafelberg, Calvinia, should be very hardy
    1781.7~~~Nananthus transvaalensis CM45 --long pointed leaf, many white spots
    1841~~~~Rabiea albipuncta --thick leaves with raised white bumps
    1870~~~~Titanopsis calcarea -blue grey leaves with grey white spots
    1870.15~~Titanopsis calcarea Oorlogshoek --beautiful ochre black
    1871~~~~Titanopsis fulleri --small leaves, many dots, warts tinged red

    Been very busy sowing cacti and agave seeds from previous seed orders from MesaGardens.com and CactusStore.com.

    It can be difficult to sow the seeds (especially the small ones) so that they are evenly spaced (around 1/2 to 1" apart) so the seedlings will have lots of room to grow, and develop before I'll need to divide them and pot them up individually, (which will take 3 to 4 months)!

    I'll update info on the latest order as soon as I research for detailed info on each of them as well as their cultural needs/requirements!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  8. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    I came across this excellent article:
    http://www.ccss-online.org/pdf/DonsHardyCactus.pdf
    You will need to download Adobe if you do not have it!
    There is a lot of insights and knowledge here if you are ever planning to grow winter hardy cacti and succulants.
  9. Crabbergirl

    Crabbergirl Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Ron. It is something I want to do, but have just not got the time to get into. I did haw ever begin reading and the information is great.
  10. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hey Nancie!
    You could take a short cut and purchase potted plants from the sites I listed!

    Update: The agave germination was great, though some are still not showing since they take longer!
    The first leaf is developing on some of the species and even have tiny teeth!
    Will post photos when they are a bit larger! The second leaf should have a spine on the end....will be interesting to see them develop... each species is a bit different in the spines and dagger on the outer end!
    Cacti seeds are germinating well and still waiting for some of the slower species!
    Photos will follow soon!
  11. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Went through all the pots checking to see how things were doing.
    Opuntias tend to be the quickest to germinate in 5 to 7 days, but have 2 species that are just showing an eruption of the soil! They should be up by tomorrow at 14 days!

    Here's some of the photos of the more advanced seedlings:
    The first 4 are agaves, that last one is one of the larger growing Echinocerus ~ E. texensis

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  12. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Here's 4 of the more advanced cacti species seedlings:
    I/~Escobaria
    2/~Echinocereus
    The last 2 are Opuntias!

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  13. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Most of the other cacti species are tiny and will take a few weeks before they are large enough to make out in photos!
    A few are very slow!
    One of the agave pots ~ A. Montana is just sitting there with no evidence of any germination going on. I may have to put the pot in the fridge for a few days if there is no germination by next week! A cool down usually triggers germination!

    I have one cacti species (Pediocactus simpsonii SB586) that I had to sow and then place the pot outdoors for germination in the spring! It requires oscillating temperatures to break dormancy with germination occuring in the cool of spring!
    All the others are warm germinators!
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2012
  14. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Update photos from today:
    Almost all the seedlings are doing well, all except for the seeds I ordered from www.cactusstore.com! The germination rate for these is not great with 30 to40% germinating and a few with 0%!!!
    Seeds from www.Mesagarden.com 95 to100% germination! Now I know which company I will recommend and order from in the future!

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  15. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    More photos from today:

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  16. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    ....and 2 more....

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  17. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Another update on the cacti and succulent seedlings:
    I love the first 2 which are Titanipsis ...they are growing faster then I thought they would! I have 7 other species of them.
    The next 3 are species of Opuntia (prickly pear cacti)

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  18. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Here's a few species of cacti, as the grow and develop you can see how they are different once they get past there first 2 months....

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  19. RonsGarden

    RonsGarden Super Moderator Staff Member

    Here's an Opuntia with actual leaves. Most have very tiny leaves which die and fall off after their fist month, This one is the odd ball species and will shed their leaves once the pad matures!
    I would say that all the ice plant species look identical after they germinate and for their first month, or so untill they start to send up foliage so properly labeling is really important since each have slightly different cultural needs!
    Agaves all look very similar, showing just subtle differences for the first couple of months!

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  20. Crabbergirl

    Crabbergirl Super Moderator Staff Member

    Om My Ron! That's a lot of cactus! Very cool. They look great too.
    I have been toying with the idea of a rock bed, just don't know when I will find the time.

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