Exotic succulents in nature grow in extreme conditions, surviving where other vegetation dies. They are not afraid of prolonged droughts and even if the above-ground dehydrated part dies, cactuses are reborn from the root like the phoenix from the ashes. Many of them prefer sandy or stony soil, carry the scorching sun and other climatic tests.
So why, having such extraordinary abilities, a home cactus on the window refuses to flower, wither and get sick? Is it really so influenced by careful care and comfortable conditions? As practice has shown, to make this unusual flower feel “at home” in the room, it is necessary to bring the indoor microclimate as close as possible to the natural one, not forgetting the needs of the succulent pet, including the need for a cold winter.
Overwintering of cacti
All plants and cactuses are no exception, they spend a lot of effort during the period of active vegetation – on growth, development, flowering. And if ordinary indoor flowers are easy to restore, the succulents need a longer time. As a rule, most of them prefer to rest in winter, going to a state of stagnation. All biological processes in the tissues are slowed to such an extent that the cactus stops growing and does not bloom.
In the natural environment, the plant is guided by the change of seasons. Thus, in the Northern Hemisphere it goes to the stage of rest in winter, while in the Southern Hemisphere summer comes.
Harsh climatic conditions often force these succulents to “rest” regardless of the season. For example, in extreme heat and prolonged absence of rain, cactuses completely stop using valuable moisture. But, this “extreme” they are able to survive with hidden mechanisms.
And when growing cacti at home, proper overwintering is considered one of the most important stages in the life of the plant, which will directly depend on whether it entered into bloom in spring.
Most often, cactuses stay for the winter where they stand in the other seasons – on the window sill. However, in this case, they should be fenced off from room heat, using glass or film.
All cacti are different, but most often the optimal winter temperature for them is +10 degrees. Experienced cactus growers know what is most suitable for this or that variety:
You need to take into account the horizontal and vertical temperature gradient. The indicator decreases from room to window – by 3-4 degrees and increases from the pallet to the top of the stem – by 4-5 degrees.
Varieties that do not flower without colder overwintering – echinopsis, chametsereuses, cactus matukana – are placed closer to the glass. The rest of the species are far away from it.
Succulents wintering at higher temperatures – above +10 degrees, it is recommended to arrange a special shelf above the window sill.
If the climatic conditions allow and there are no severe frosts in winter, these exotic plants can be carried in autumn on a glazed balcony or loggia. If the temperature drops below what the succulents can withstand, you can provide the vegetation with additional heating, for example, a gasoline generator for 5 KW.
An additional shelf and glass hood will be needed for the winter period for cacti of valuable thermophilous species – ariocarps, roseocacti, neohomies, burdocks, etc.), sprouts of the first year, succulents, which are strongly withering during the winter.
Using glass or plexiglass, you can make with your own hands greenhouses in which cactus seedlings are grown. Transparent hoods should be the same size as pallets.
Ensuring a microclimate
Covering exotic pets with hats in autumn, do not forget that while the ground is wet, the water will evaporate and settle on the surfaces in the form of condensation. It should be removed and open the hood for drying, otherwise in the damp and cold succulent plant will rot.
Located on the window cactuses in winter should be protected from frosty street air. Therefore, the windows must be insulated.
In addition, put the pots with the wards better not on the window sill itself, and in a pre-installed common tank tray, equipped with ventilation holes.
It can be purchased in the hardware store or department for florists and gardeners, as well as there is an opportunity to make their own hands, using as a basic material plywood or wood stove. The second option allows you to make structures exactly to the size of the window sill:
The bottom of the pallet is sawn out of the plates, according to individual measurements.
Small bars are nailed to the outer side of the bottom and several bars are nailed in the center so that the bottom does not bend.
The side walls are also made of bars, which are joked at a certain distance. Through these intervals, cold air from the glass penetrates the room without lingering over the succulents.
In such a pallet good air circulation is ensured, the temperature gradient decreases and the index becomes more stable at all levels.
Winter watering mode for cacti
Succulent leaders are familiar with the features of these “thrifty” plants, and they know that if you water succulents and cacti on a par with other room flowers, especially in winter, it is unlikely that even the most resistant will live by spring. Care should be taken in this matter; the main guidelines are plant species and air temperature.
Cactuses, which do not water at all when wintering in the cold:
Matukans and submatukans
Cactuses that have some special needs, in addition to the lack of watering when in cold:
Pelusions – the optimal temperature during the wintering should vary from +5 to +10 degrees.
Pellets of the articulate or Tefrocactus articulateus need cold – the thermometer column is down to 0 degrees, the maximum they can withstand is -5 degrees; of course, no moisture is introduced.
Cefalocereus – winter in dry and cool, at a temperature of +15 degrees.
Echino cacti – if the air temperature is +8 – +10 degrees, you do not need to irrigate, if +14 – +16 degrees, water is brought once every 4 weeks, a little by the method of bottom watering, that is, through a pallet.
Cactus, which should be watered even in winter:
Watering rare and scarce, literally 5-10 ml of water per month. It is brought near the walls of the pot, away from the root neck, as many cactuses do not tolerate its moisturizing while in the cool.
Control over the winter collection
Almost all cactus owners have faced the fact that not all specimens are well tolerated overwintering. Only in the process of trial and error it is possible to choose the ideal conditions for each flower, based on its individual needs.
It is recommended to regularly inspect the succulents. And if the overwintering plant strongly hang stems, it should be removed from the window, held at room temperature and a little watering.
If the state of the cactus has stabilized and the tissues have spread, you can put it in its original place after the drying of the substrate.
But when a green pet is poured, and continues to pine and shrink, it requires emergency measures – heating in hot water and transplanting into fresh soil mixture.
Rotten plants need to be cut, the affected roots, and if necessary, parts of the stem are removed. After heating and drying, the specimen with the remaining healthy part of the root system is planted in new soil.
If the root is not preserved, the stem tip is rooted. And although in winter this process does not always bring positive results, for flower growers method is often the only way to save the succulent.
Breeding out of the winter
March is an important period in the life of cactuses and their owners, when one should be vigilant. At this time in nature there are significant changes: the sun bakes quite intensely, the air temperature rises, the daylight becomes much longer. All this leads to certain inconveniences for cacti not yet out of hibernation, and it is worth taking care of some things:
During the winter, the succulents slightly weaken and weaned out the sun’s rays. Therefore, flower growers need to get them used to the sun again, especially if we are talking about cacti with a weak edges.
To create a scattered sunlight is enough to place a sheet of white paper or a grid with small cells between the glass and the plant. Excellent for this purpose agrotex – non-woven covering material of white color.
On average, the period of habituation lasts a week and a half, the duration depends on the weather. At this time, the plants are not watered, if possible maintained winter temperature – +12 – +15 degrees.
After getting used to the sun, you can plan the first watering. Initially, the succulents are irrigated from the sprayer with a small nozzle, you should do it slowly, in the morning or evening hours.
Succulents can only be fed when they have fully “woken up” and have started to grow actively. At this time, they need macronutrients and trace elements more than ever.
Wintering cacti in their home cultivation causes a lot of questions and not in vain. They really need certain conditions and sometimes a well-organized winter holiday depends not only on the flowering of the plant or its absence, but also on its full growth and development. It is important to consider both general recommendations and the special needs of a particular succulent.