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Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,

How To Care for Aztekium Cactus

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I share my tips and tricks on How to care for the Aztekium Cactus.

Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,
My 23 year old Aztekium hintonii grown from seed ( not by me ) 

I have made a video on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon on How To Care for Aztekium, and you can watch this video HERE:

ABOUT AZTEKIUM:

There are just three species of Aztekium, 1, Aztekium ritteri, 2, Aztekium hintonii, and 3, Aztekium valdezii.

Aztekium valdezii has only recently been discovered from 2011.

The Aztekium Cactus grows in its natural habitat in Mexico growing on steep cliff faces that consist of mostly gypsum and some limestone gravel.

Aztekium is extremely slow growing and forms into little clumps over many years, it is one of the slowest growing cacti both in natural habitat and in cultivation. 

I have grown my Aztekium hintonii for over 23 years, I got it as a young seedling that was grown from seed from a Cactus Grower in the U.K called David Quail, it was the just size of my thumbnail and in all of that time it has grown only about 2 inches in height and width.

Because of their extremely slow growth and difficulty to grow when young on their own roots, these cacti are often seen for sale grafted onto other more hardier cactus stock, but once established on their on roots they can survive long term as long as a very careful watering is maintained and a very gritty well draining soil is used.

Aztekium, Aztekium hintonii, Aztekium cactus,
My 23 year old Aztekium hintonii

HOW TO CARE FOR:

LIGHT:

Aztekium like most cacti need bright light with some sunshine to grow healthy, however these cacti prefer to be protected from very strong midday sunshine and prefer more shade than a lot of the other types of Desert Cacti, and Aztekium would be best positioned where they can get either early morning or very late afternoon sunshine.

WATERING:

Aztekium prefer soft water that is not alkaline and clean rainwater is best to water these cacti with. Its best to avoid watering these cacti with water than has a pH higher than PH 7, as hard alkaline water can cause damage to the roots. If you use tap water check that the PH is not higher than PH 7 and allow the water to sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine and other gases to dissipate.

If you are growing Aztekium that have been grafted, then the pH of the water is not as much a concern as most cactus stock used for grafting Aztekium are mostly Trichocereus or Pereskioposis, and these cacti are not so sensitive to water PH, however careful watering should still be given with all Aztekium cacti.

Water Aztekium from Spring through Summer ALWAYS allowing the soil in their pots to fully dry out before watering again.

Keep Aztekium totally dry throughout the Winter rest period with no water from Fall / Autumn and Winter, introduce water again from Spring when their active growing period returns.

SOIL:

The soil used for Aztekium must be extremely well draining, this is very important especially for Aztekium cacti that are growing on their own roots, especially when they are young as they can be very prone to rot, which is why they are often seen grafted.  If grafted onto hardier root stock such as Pereskioposis and Trichocereus they are far less prone to rot and grow faster, but as with all cacti except the epiphytes, the more well draining the soil the better.

Some growers of Aztekium like to add lie to the soil, but I have had success over 23 years of growing this cactus with my well draining soil mix that I use for most of my arid loving cacti.

Avoid using peat and houseplant soils for these cacti as they need a VERY well draining and gritty soil.

I like to use a soil mix of 3 equal parts of loam, horticultural sand and grit for my Aztekium hintonii, For more information on How I make my own Cactus soil click HERE:

FEEDING:

Feed Aztekium once a month in Spring until mid Summer with a good quality cactus fertiliser. Because these cacti are extremely slow growing its best to use the fertiliser at half the strength they recommend for normal cacti.

FLOWERING:

The flowers on Aztekium are very tiny and white or pink or lilac coloured, they grow from the top of the cactus when the plant is mature often after many years. 

Aztekium forms a woolly tuft and fine spines from the crown of the cactus when the plant is mature enough to flower.

I have not had my Aztekium flower for me in 23 years, but I hope one day to see flowers, patience is definitely the key when growing cacti haha, but I have heard of many growers who have had their Aztekiums flower after 10 years or less.

Grafted Aztekiums will flower much sooner than if grown on their own roots.

TEMPERATURE:

In Spring and Summer Aztekium can take high temperatures but they must be protected from extreme heat and strong midday sunshine, especially if they are grown behind glass in glasshouses or windowsills, and they like to have plenty of ventilation.

In Winter its best to overwinter Aztekium cool and dry above 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit

PROPAGATION:

Propagation of Aztekium is done by seed that are very dust like, but it is extremely difficult and slow to grow from seeds, although germination rate can be high at first lots of seedlings will often die within the first few months of germination. 

I have never tried to grow these from seed myself but when my Aztekium flowers for e in the future and I get seed I will definitely have a go at trying to grow this amazing and unique little cactus from seed.

If you want to grow Aztkium from seed or any other type of cactus from seed read my page on this website Growing Cactus from seed  by clicking HERE

Here is a video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon on How To Care For Aztekium Cacti and you can watch this video below:

 

Thanks so much for reading Guys and Happy Growing to you all <3 

 

 

Puna clavarioides, Dead man's fingers, Mushroom Opuntia, Maihueniopsis clavarioides, Opuntia clavarioides, Opuntia ruiz-lealii,

How To Care For Opuntia Puna clavarioides -The Dead man’s fingers Cactus

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I will be talking about a rather unusual and very unique little Cactus called Puna clavarioides also called The Dead man’s fingers Cactus, Mushroom Opuntia, Maihueniopsis clavarioides, Opuntia clavarioides, Opuntia ruiz-lealii, Opuntia Puna clavarioides.

I have filmed a How To Care For video on this Cactus on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and you can watch this care video HERE

Puna clavarioides, Dead man's fingers, Mushroom Opuntia, Maihueniopsis clavarioides, Opuntia clavarioides, Opuntia ruiz-lealii,
My Puna clavarioides aka Maihueniopsis clavarioides.

ABOUT :

This weird and wacky Cactus is the type species of the genus Puna  also known as the genus Maihueniopsis. 

The Puna genus of cacti are some of the most diverse cacti of the opuntiads and are closely connected to Opuntia, Tephrocactus and Austrocylindropuntia.

These Cacti are all part of the very large group of the Opuntioideae Family of Cacti. The Opuntioideae  Family of Cacti are commonly known as ‘The Prickly Pear’ 

Puna clavariodes is a low growing geophyte cactus that grows in clusters up to 15 cms tall, with conical shaped stems of reddish brown to dark green to grey colour that emerge from tuberous roots.

In natural habitat this Cactus is found in Argentina growing in high altitude on rocks and sand between 2,000 -3,000 metres above sea level in a very dry arid environment.

The Puna clavariodes Cactus although part of the Opuntioideae Family of Cacti does not have glochids that are more commonly associated with the Opuntioideae.

The flowers on this cactus are a yellow /green colour and about 4 cms in length.

This Cactus is rare in cultivation and therefore not commonly seen for sale and when it is for sale it is more commonly sold as a cristate form that is often grafted onto a grafting stock cactus such as Trichocereus spachianus.

CARE & CULTIVATION:

LIGHT:

Puna clavariodes  likes a bright and sunny position all through the year, but can tolerate some light shade too but these Cacti grow better in full sun as long as they are protected from very strong heat.

A bright sunny greenhouse or a south facing window is ideal if protected from heat and sun scorch from glass on very hot Summer days.

WATERING:

Water well in Spring and Summer but ALWAYS allow the soil in the pot to fully dry out before watering again as these Cacti are very prone to rot if kept too wet due to their tuberous root systems.

Clean rainwater is always preferred if it is available, but tap water is ok as long as the Ph of your water is not too high ( above 7,5 pH ) Its always best to let tap water sit for 24 hours before using it to allow some of the chemicals to dissipate. 

Keep this Cactus totally dry over the Winter dormancy period with no water given whatsoever.

SOIL:

Puna clavariodes likes a very well draining mineral soil as this cactus is very prone to rot due to the tuberous root system and a well draining soil is a must. I like to use a soil mix of 3 equal parts of a Loam based soil with with Horticultural sand and grit. Check out my page on this website on GROWING MEDIUMS for more advice on How to Make Your Own Cactus Soil.

RE POTTING:

Re pot only in Spring and Summer when this cactus is actively growing, this is because it is a slow growing cactus and because of the tuberous root its best to keep this plant in a clay pot that is deep enough just to cover the tuberous root, it is always safer to under rather than over pot.

Do not water this cactus for the first 2 weeks after re potting to allow the roots and tuber to acclimatise. 

FERTILISING:

Feed Puna clavariodes in Spring and Summer every month with a Cactus fertiliser diluted at half strength, this is because this cactus is a slow growing plant and does not require lots of fertilising.

FLOWERING:

Puna clavariodes flowers in Spring and Summer with yellow blooms. A dry winter rest period will help to encourage blooming the following year.

TEMPERATURE:

Puna clavariodes likes to be kept above 5 Celsius / 41 Fahrenheit in the Winter months, but can take lower temperatures than this if growing this cactus in a very dry arid climate.

Protect this Cactus from very high Summer temperatures above 32 Celsius / 90 Fahrenheit.

Here is a video that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon on How To Care For Puna clavariodes and you can watch that video below:

Thank you so much for reading and HAPPY GROWING GUYS 😀 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Cactus Plants to Grow for Beginners

Hi Guys 😀 

In this Blog I am going to be talking about the Top 5 Cactus Plants that are great for beginners.

There are many amazing cactus plants that are available to buy and grow but if you are new to the hobby and passion of growing these incredible plants it can be a bit difficult to know what types of Cacti to begin with as some are much easier to grow and get to flower than others.

I have a lot of favourite Cacti that I can recommend that are easy growing for newbies to the hobby, but not all of them are easily available to purchase in the garden shops or online and if I was to pick just 5 of the easiest Cacti to find and to grow these are the Top 5 that I recommend. 

1, REBUTIA

This Cactus Genus is often overlooked and yet it is one of the most beautiful and easy growing of cacti to grow especially for beginners. Rebutia are often nice and compact small clump forming growing plants that are ideal for windowsills and apartments, they are low maintenance and as long as you give them a cool and dry winter rest period they will often flower abundantly from spring and Summer with a multiple of beautiful small blooms. 

Rebutia like a sunny position in Spring and Summer and like to be grown in a well draining Cactus soil with a monthly fertilising once a month from Spring until late Summer.

Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Rebutia albipilosa Cactus with a beautiful abundance of bright orange blooms: 

Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Rebutia Perplexa with a bright pink bouquet of flowers: 

2, MAMMILLARIA

 

Mammillaria Cacti are fantastic plants for beginners and they are very commonly seen for sale in Garden centres and online cactus nurseries.

Mammillaria are very easy flowering as long as you give them plenty of sunshine and they love a cool Winter dry rest period. Some Mammillarias can grow large over time and some can stay small and compact too depending on the variety of Mammillaria.

 Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Mammillaria carmenae Cactus Plant with a Garland of white flowers :

3, ECHINOPSIS

 

Echinopsis Cacti are often known as ‘The Sea Urchin Cacti’ or ‘The Domino Cacti’ due to many of the globular type of Echinopsis resembling a sea urchin in their appearance. Echinopsis cacti are also very readily available for purchase in many Garden centres and online nurseries and can be found in many forms and in a huge variety of differnt flowering colours, they are very highly hybridised and because of this almost any colour of flower can be seen with this Genus from white to yellow to red and pink and orange.

Echinopsis is also an easy one to get to flower and as long as you can give them a cool and dry winter rest they will flower often multiple times from spring and Summer often with highly scented blooms.

Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Echinopsis subdenudata Cactus with a fountain of beautiful blooms:

4, GYMNOCALYCIUM

Gymnocalycium Cacti are wonderful globular Cacti that are also very easy flowering plants. Most Gymnocalyciums prefer a bit more shade than others but they will often let you know if they need less sun by taking on a slight yellow appearance but most commonly available for sale Gymnocalycium can take plenty of sunshine if protected from very intense full sun desert conditions.

Gymnocalyciums like most of the Cacti like a cool and dry winter rest period and can take plenty of after during their active growing and flowering season from spring and summer as long as the soil is a well draining cactus mix and the soil is allowed to dry out in between waterings as these Cacti have a tendency to lose their roots if kept too wet for too long but as long as these conditions are met then they are very easy cacti to grow and flower.

Here is a video below I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Gymnocalycium pflanzii cactus in beautiful bloom. :

5, OPUNTIA

 

Opuntia Cacti commonly known as ‘The Prickly Pear’ are very often seen for sale in Garden Shops and Florist Shops the Opuntia microdasys being the most common one.

Opuntia Cacti are like the ‘Marmite’ of the cactus world haha you either LOVE them or HATE them.

Personally I LOVE them, they have such character and have a wonderful almost comical look about them.

The Opuntia Genus is MASSIVE as there are so many different types of Opuntias some are small and compact and some are HUGE, also the Tephrocactus, Cylindropunta also fit under the whole Opuntia group of Cacti and this Genus is so varied that some Cactus collectors specialise in this whole genus by itself.

Although Opuntias them selves are easy to grow and many can take very low Winter temperatures making them ideal for greenhouses and even outdoor gardens in Summer and can even be grown outdoors in Northern Hemispheres if given a very sheltered position and protected from rain and frost. Many Opuntias can certainly take more humidity than many of the other cacti can too.

Most of the Opuntias are very fast growing and can grow large though so if you are short on space it may be best to concentrate on the many smaller growing Opuntias that are available such as the Opuntia microdasys ‘minima’ or the Tephrocacti. 

If you are into flowers though Opuntia are not the easiest to get to flower in cultivation so bear that in mind if you are more into flowers, but personally I just LOVE the appearance of Opuntia even if they are hard to get to flower in cultivation.

Given plenty of sunshine and a cool and dry winter rest period they can still flower in cultivation and here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants Of Avalon of my Opuntia Stricta Cactus with a beautiful bright yellow bloom. :

I hope that you found this Blog on The Top 5 Cactus Plants To Grow For Beginners useful and if you want to watch a video I have made for my You Tube Channel Called Desert Plants Of Avalon on The Top 5 Cactus Plants To Grow For Beginners Here is the Video : 

Thank you all for reading and lets all have a fantastic time growing these AMAZING plants.