Spring has arrived and the growing season is here

Hi Guys,

Spring has arrived at last YAY! and the growing season is finally here and I have been keeping busy with all the exciting jobs to do with all of my cacti and succulents at this time of year.

Spring has arrived & the growing season is here
So happy Spring has finally arrived and that means its time for the Cacti & Succulents to start waking up.

Spring is finally here and I hope that your cacti and succulents have come through the winter safe and sound, its sometimes inevitable that however much we try to look after our plants we can still lose plants over the winter months, I am so relieved that I have only had a couple of plant losses this winter, but last winter I lost quite a few cacti as did many growers due to the extended and very cold winter of 2022/23, thankfully in Ireland and UK we have had a fairly mild winter this year compared to last year.

My Cacti made it through the Winter in my new polytunnel safe and sound.

Spring really is an exciting time of year for us cacti and succulent growers, my cacti and succulents have been patiently waiting for the longer and warmer days to arrive.

New growth appearing on my Opuntia subulata monstrose, the pink fleshy thin leaves appear first before turning to green and then falling off as the cactus ages.

Although its still a bit early for most of my plants to come into bud just yet, I have still been checking on the plants for any signs of buds, and I am very happy to see buds are starting to grow already on a couple of my Gymnocalycium cacti and my Chamacereus ‘Peanut Cacti’ and my Epiphyllum cacti are all growing buds too, I know that once I give them all their very first watering of the year the plants will start to develop buds and then over the following weeks they burst into flower.

Buds are starting to appear on my Gymnocalycium Cacti ( March 2024 )

My Chamacereus Cacti ‘Peanut Cacti. are starting to grow buds, once I give these their first watering the ‘peanut stems’ will plump up and burst into flower.

My Epiphyllum Cacti are coming into bud, these leafy epiphytic cacti produce the most incredible of large showy flowers in Spring and Summer.

I still haven’t watered the majority of my plants yet though, and this is because I live in Belfast N.Ireland, and in March and April its still quite chilly during the daytime and the nights can still be frosty, its not until mid April that the weather really starts to warm up for Spring here, and this is why I hold back on watering my collection until around mid April depending on the weather and the temperature, its not unusual for it to snow in April in UK and Ireland haha, and last Spring (2023 ) it was unseasonably very cold until late May and I had to hold back on watering my collection in the polytunnel until much later than normal, fingers crossed though April will be normal temperatures, and that means with the first watering I give them in mid April I will be able to give them all just a light watering ( pre watering ) first to moisten the soil and wake up their root systems, I give just enough water so the soil dries within a day or two, I then leave it a week or two and thats when I give them their first proper watering.

But If you have your cacti and succulents indoors in a heated room or sunny warm window its safe to go ahead and give them a watering now though, I have to hold back until mid April as my plants are in a polytunnel that is heated at 5c/41F just enough to keep them frost free and protected from very low temperatures, If I was to water too early and we get a cold and wet couple of weeks then it means the plants could sit in moist soil that does not dry out as fast in cold damp weather, I want to start to wake them up with watering when I know the day temperatures are at least in the 15c /60F range.

I have however had to give one of my Mammillarias that was VERY thirsty a light pre watering as I know this particular Mammillaria a Mammillaria camptotricha would be safe to water now, and I thought this would be a perfect example to show just how much water I give the plants for the very first time after the Winter, and if you want to see how much water to give your plants after winter then check out this video I made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on ‘How much water should you give your Cactus after Winter ? and you can watch this video below:

I have been keeping busy repotting plants in preparation for the growing season, and I make sure I check almost daily for any signs of insect pests or diseases on the plants, I also will be busy writing up plant labels and re arranging some plants in the polytunnel to make space so that when its warm enough I will be able to move all the non cold hardy cacti and Euphorbias that I currently have overwintering in my grow room back into the Polytunnel and yard for the Spring and Summer months.

Some of my Echeverias and other Succulents are growing flower spikes.

I have a lot of work to do on a lot of my Succulents this Spring too, pruning, and tidying them up from dead leaves, I am happy to say I have noticed flower spikes starting to grow on some of my Echeverias too, I will be filming an upcoming video very soon on all the Spring jobs I will be doing with all of my Cacti and Succulents on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon, so do stay tuned.

If you want to know more about how to grow Cacti and Succulents then do watch my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and do please Subscribe I would love you to follow me on my Prickly adventures.

Happy Growing Season everyone and here is to a blooming AMAZING Spring and Summer 2024.

So happy with our new Polytunnel & Spring is coming

Hi Cacti and Succulent Growers, I hope that everyone is having a wonderful start to 2024 so far, I had a wonderful end to 2023 by putting away and arranging all of my cacti and succulent plants into our wonderful new Polytunnel that we got at the end of October, and I have been busy planning ahead for all of the plant jobs I want to do for the growing season and I am really looking forward to the upcoming Spring, I am itching to start watering my Cacti, but its still only February and I have to be patient haha.

My partner Hans and I are so happy with our new polytunnel that we got from Polytunnelsni here in Northern Ireland, its 12 feet wide and 18 feet long, and its got a clear cover making it so much lighter inside than our previous polytunnel that had a green cover, it also passed the test last month in January when we had two very severe storms with up to 70mph strong gale force winds, the polytunnel never moved an inch and passed the strong storms with flying colours.

I am so looking forward to seeing how my cacti and succulents grow this spring and summer with the extra light inside this new polytunnel.

Here are some photos of the plants inside our new Polytunnel and I will keep you all updated how the plants grow and flower this year inside this new tunnel.

I had a wonderful time putting all the plants away and re arranging them all inside our new Polytunnel

Me in my absolute element putting all the plants away and re arranging them all in the polytunnel.

This new Polytunnel is a fantastic height 7ft high, making it so much better for all the cereus cacti.

My Plants really are really loving their new home.

The Polytunnel has Crop bars making it perfect for the hanging cactus and succulent plants.

I am so looking forward to seeing how the plants grow and flower this Spring and Summer with the extra light.

This Polytunnel is 2 feet wider than our previous one and its amazing how much more space there is inside.

Me on the day the polytunnel was put up, I was like a big kid haha, Wayne from Polytunnelsni and his assistant did an amazing job of putting up the polytunnel and we are very happy with it.

If you haven’t done already then please consider subscribing to my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon, I share lots of tips and tricks on how to care for your Cacti and Succulents.

We are through the other side of Winter now its February and that means YIPPPPPPEEEEE! yes Spring is soon coming haha.

Sending you all lots of love and PLANT POWER from the Emerald Isle.

Its Schlumbergera ‘Thanksgiving & Christmas Cactus’ Season

Hi Guys,

I hope you all had a wonderful Spring and Summer growing Season of 2023 and you had lots of fun looking after and growing your Cacti and Succulents this Summer, or maybe you are living in the southern hemisphere and its your Spring now and you have all of the growing season ahead of you.

I have been extremely busy this Fall /Autumn with our wonderful new Cactus and Succulent Polytunnel, but I will share a Blog post about our new Polytunnel when all the plants have been put away in there, but for now I want to share with you a few photos of my Schlumbergera truncata cacti commonly known as the Thanksgiving or the Christmas Cacti that are blooming so beautiful right now, its always such a pleasure to see the blooms on these Schlumbergera at this time of year when all of the desert cacti are resting.

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘bright pink flowering’

I am amazed at how much earlier this year my Schlumbergera have come into bloom, last year it was a late start for them and I had many of my Schlumbergera only coming into bloom in January and February, I have noticed a few other growers saying the same too.

I always love to cross pollinate the flowers on Schlumbergera to make my own Hybrids and I have had great success with getting seed this way, although its much faster to propagate these plants from their clades ( leaves ) its so much fun to grow them from seed and always exciting to see what flower colour your cross pollinations will turn out to be, I have grown many from seed and they start to bloom from about 4-5 years when grown from seed.

Cross pollinating the flowers of my pink and orange flowering Schlumbergera.

Check out the video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon of my Schlumbergera Cactus Seedlings that I have grown from seed from my cross pollinations and you can watch this video below:

If you want to know how to cross pollinate Schlumbergera flowers to get seed then check out the video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Cross Pollinate Schlumbergera flowers and you can watch this video below:

Schlumbergera put a lot of their energy into producing flowers, and once they have finished flowering its not unusual for Schlumbergera to wilt and look a bit limp, this is normal as the cactus goes into a bit of a rest period straight after flowering and this is when watering should be reduced, after my Schlumbergera have flowered I cut right back on watering them and let the soil in their pots dry out that little bit longer before watering them again, once Spring arrives and they start to grow new clades ( leaves ) I water more regularly and water them every time the top surface of the soil has dried out, never overwater your Schlumbergera as even during the Spring and Summer they like their soil to dry out slightly in between watering, and although they can survive weeks without water they don’t like to go weeks and months without water like the desert cacti can.

Check out the video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on Why your Schlumbergera cactus goes limp after Flowering, and you can watch this video below:

Here are some photos of my Schlumbergera that are blooming beautiful this month ( November 2023 )

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘Gold Charm’

My Schlumbergera tendenza ‘Orange Brazil’

Schlumbergera Enigma Thor Wild

My Schlumbergera ‘Enigma’ Thor Wild.

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘Yellow flowering’

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘red flowering’ this Schlumbergera is at least 70 years old.

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘pink and white two tone’

My Schlumbergera truncata ‘White Flowering’

If you want to know How to Care for and Grow Schlumbergera then do watch the video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon below:

Wishing everyone a wonderful upcoming Winter and a blooming amazing plant powered Holiday season ahead.