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Cephalocereus senilis, Cephalocereus, hairy cacti, hairy cactus, woolly cacti, cacti that have hair, hairy cactus plants,

Why do some Cacti have Hair ?

Hi Guys ๐Ÿ˜€ 

In todays article I am going to be talking about the hairy cacti and why do some Cacti have Hair ?

I have also made a very special video for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on ‘Why do some Cacti have Hair ?’ and you can watch this video below or by clicking HERE:

We have all seen those hairy cacti that are often seen in Cactus growers collections and often sold for sale at most Cactus nurseries and garden shops, these hairy and wacky looking cactus plants are often called ‘old Man’ or ‘old Lady Cactus’ and you have one or two or more of these hairy cactus plants already in your collection, but have you ever wondered why these cactus plants have hair ? and why do only some cacti have hair and not the others ? 

Well in this article I will be explaining the reasons why, but first I am going to mention the most common types of Cacti that you often see that are ‘Hairy’.

1, ESPOSTOA

Espostoa with lots of woven woolly hair
Espostoa with lots of woven woolly hair

Espostoa are a genus of columnar cacti and there is 16 different types if species that in their natural habitats come from the Andes of southern Ecuador and Peru. Espostoa grows at an altitude of between 800m and 2500m. The genus is named after Nicolas E. Esposto, a renowned botanist from Lim.

 

2, CEPHALOCEREUS 

Cephalocereus senilis
Cephalocereus senilis with lots of wild and wacky white hair.

Cephalocereus are a genus of columnar cacti of which there is said to be over 100 different species but only 5 are accepted. Cephalocereus are native to central and southern Mexico, in its natural habitat it is threatened by extinction but is a very common cactus in cultivation. The genus  comes from the Greek word “kephale” meaning “head”and the Latin word”cereus”meaning “wax taper (a candle) or torch

3, OREOCEREUS 

Oreocereus produce white woolly hair
Oreocereus produce white woolly hair

Oreocereus are a genus of columnar cacti from high altitudes of the Andes in south America. This cactus is most commonly known as ‘The Old Man of the Andes’. The name Oreocereus means “mountain cereus”, formed from the Greek prefix oreo- and the New Latin ‘cereus’ meaning wax taper ( a candle) or torch.

4, CLEISTOCACTUS ( most )

Cleistocactus colademononis Cactus,Cleistocactus colademononis flowers, Cleistocactus colademononis blooms,
Cleistocactus colademononis in flower, this wacky Cactus produces lots of trailing stems full of white fluffy hair.
Cleistocactus Seedlings with woolly hair
Cleistocactus Seedlings with woolly hair.

Cleistocactus are mostly columnar Cacti native to the mountainous regions of South America. Although most Cleistocactus are columnar growers some Cleistocactus will be ‘hairy’ such as Cleistocactus colademononsis and Cleistocactus winterii these Cleistocacti are trailing cacti. Clesitocactus are found in Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, and Peru. The name Cleistocactus comes from the Greek ‘kleistos’ meaning closed due to the tubular flowers that do not open up like other cactus flowers and instead remain thin and tubular to attract small humming birds as well as bees to pollinate the flowers. 

5, MAMMILLARIA ( some but not all ) 

Mammillaria bocasana Cactus, Mammillaria bocasana flowers, hairy cacti, hairy cactus hairy Mammillarias,
The Mammillaria bocasana cactus produces white fluffy hair.
Mammillaria glassii with white fluffy hair in stunning pink bloom
Mammillaria glassii with white fluffy hair in stunning pink bloom, 

Mammillarias are small cacti often globular or short with cylindrical stems growing either soliatory or in clumps ( pups ) Some Mammillaria will be ‘hairy’ like the Mammillaria bocasana and Mammillaria glassii and Mammillaria Senilis. Mammillaria are the largest genus of the Cactus family, there are around 250 different species of Mammillarias that come from Mexico and in southwest USA.  The name Mammillaria comes from Latin mammilla meaning “nipple”, referring to the tubercles that are a very distinctive feature of the genus. 

So then Why Do Some Cacti have Hair ? 

Cacti produce hair to protect themselves from the elements in their natural habitats, including the harsh intense suns rays and also to protect themselves from the cold nights that can sometimes drop to below freezing, the difference in cultivation is that these Cacti would not be exposed to such extreme temperature drops from over 100F during the day to below zero at night, well hopefully not in our homes and greenhouses anyway haha.

Cactus Plants that don’t produce hair or only produce very little hair are Cactus plants that can tolerate the harsh sunshine levels or they may grow naturally in their habitats surrounded and sheltered by vegetation that protect them.

Some cacti also produce hair to capture what little moisture and dew may be in the air especially in the early mornings, some Cacti can actually absorb water from the hair-like wool and needles.

There are some species of Cacti that don’t have hair on their plant bodies will produce hair when they are producing flower buds, Cactus varieties such as Echinopsis and Trichocereus will do this, they produce the hair on their buds to protect the developing bud from excess sun.

Other Cacti like Pilosocereus and other types of columnar Cacti from all over South America, develop the woolly/ hairy, โ€œcephaliumโ€ when they have reached maturity to flower, they produce this woolly hair at the area where the Cactus is going to bloom, the ‘hairy’ cephalium helps to protect the developing buds from harsh intense sunshine.

There are also some other Genus of Cacti that produce white hair too such as some of the Opuntia ‘Prickly Pear Cacti like Opuntia Polyacantha erinacea  

Some Cacti produce 'Hairy' buds
Some Cacti like Echinopsis produce ‘hairy’ buds, this hair helps to protect the developing buds from strong sunshine.
Pilosocereus produce white hair when they are mature enough to flower
Pilosocereus columnar Cacti produce a Cephalium with white hair when they are mature enough to flower, this woolly Cephalium helps to protect future buds from the strong intense sunshine.

Is Cactus Hair really Hair ?

Cactus hair may look like hair and even feel like hair but is Cactus hair really hair ? well the answer to this is no, and that is because real hair as in Human and animal hair is made up of a protein called ‘Keratin’ and Cactus hair is actually modified spines that develop from a group of cells called ‘Spine Primordia’

But what if my Cactus isn’t meant to be hairy but has bits of white woolly hair on it ? 

Now if you are sure that your cactus is not one of these ‘hairy’ ones then you may have a problem and thats because there is something else that can be mistaken for hair and that is the dreaded Mealy Bug ‘Beasties’, these pests will produce white woolly nests on your cactus plants and love to hide their woolly nests in between the spines and often on the areoles ( the area where spines emerge ) where they are very hide to see, if mealy bugs are the reason your none hairy cactus is suddenly getting ‘hairy’ then you will need to take immediate action and isolate the cactus/s from your other collection and remove any bugs and their woolly nests with rubbing alcohol and a brush and treat with either repeated weekly treatments with horticultural Neem oil mixed with a horticultural soap or use a Systemic insecticide for dealing with Mealy Bugs. If you have a greenhouse/polytunnel you can also use the predatory mite Ladybug called Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, but these predatory Ladybugs need a warm tropical temperature of at least 16c / 60F to reproduce, but these predatory Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Ladybugs can still be very effective against Mealy Bugs if they are used during the warm Summer months in a greenhouse /glasshouse /polytunnel. I have made a video on my Cactus and Succulent You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to treat Mealy Bugs on Cactus, including a special video on ‘How to treat Mealy Bugs on very hairy and or spiny Cacti‘ and you can watch this video by clicking HERE:   

Mealy Bugs on a Ferocactus
Mealy Bugs on a Ferocactus, If you notice woolly nests on your none ‘Hairy’ cactus it could be Mealy Bugs and you need to act fast.

I hope you enjoyed this Article on ‘Hairy Cactus plants’ and if you don’t have any hairy cacti in your collection then why not add one of these beauties to your collection.

If you want to have a look at the different types of ‘Hairy’ Cacti that I have in my Cactus Collection then please do check out the video below that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon.

If you have always wondered why Cacti have Spines ? then please do check out the video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on ‘Why do Cacti have Spines ? ‘

For lots more Tips and Tricks on How you can care for and grow your Cacti and Succulents then please do check out my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon and please do Subscribe ๐Ÿ˜€ 

 

 

 

cacti, cactus plants, desert plants of avalon, Succulents, succulent plants,

Can you Grow Cactus Plants in a North Facing Window ?

Hello Cactus and Succulent growers,

In this Article I will be talking about ‘Can you Grow Cactus Plants in a North facing Window ?’

cacti, cactus plants, desert plants of avalon, Succulents, succulent plants,
Cactus Plants are Sun Worshippers but is it still possible to grow them in a sunless north facing window ?

When we talk about growing Cactus plants in cultivation, we often think of them being sun lovers and needing the sunniest window or position in the garden to thrive, and while this is true for quite a lot of the desert growing Cactus varieties, what do you do if you don’t have a sunny window to grow Cactus plants on and all you have is a sunless window ? and on my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon I am often being asked ‘Can you Grow Cactus Plants in a North Facing Window ?’

well the answer to this is both a Yes and No

It all depends on the type of Cactus/Cacti that you want to grow in your north facing window, although the majority of Cacti do love a sunny position there are also Cacti that grow very well in a more shadier position, in fact some cacti actually prefer a more shadier position and will grow and flower much better in either a north or east facing window.

So then what Cactus plants can be grown in a north facing window ? 

The Schlumbergera ‘Holiday’ group of Cacti commonly known as the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti and also the Rhipsalidopsis Cacti commonly known as the Easter Cactus can be grown very happily in a north facing window, and I know from experience that these ‘Holiday’ Cacti will definitely grow well and flower in a north facing window as long as the window is bright and the light is not overshadowed by larger buildings, I have had my ‘Holiday’ Cacti flower for me in north facing windows, its important to remember though that ‘Holiday’ Cacti are very light sensitive and its the shorter days/nights that trigger blooming for them, and if you have your ‘Holiday’ Cacti in a part of your home that you have the lights on after dark, this may prevent your ‘Holiday’ Cacti from blooming, and a good tip is to place a box carefully over your cacti during the evenings you have your lights on, this will block out the light from your cacti and mimic the natural darkness outside, then remove the box when you turn the lights back off again.

Schlumbergera buckleyi in flower, Christmas Cactus in flower
Schlumbergera buckleyi in flower, Christmas Cactus in flower, these Cacti will grow and bloom quite happily in a north facing sunless window.
Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Schlumbergera gaertneri, Easter Cactus in flower
Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Easter Cactus in flower, these Cacti can grow and bloom in a north facing window

Rhipsalis is another group of Cactus that will grow very happily in a north facing window too, these Rhipsalis Cacti are epiphytic and grow in their natural habitats in Rainforests where they are shaded from direct sunshine, and the majority of them will grow and flower happily in a north window as long as it is bright enough, but in my experience there are some Rhipsalis such as the Rhipsalis pilocarpa that will not flower as readily in a north window and an east facing window may be better if you want to have blooms, but they will definitely grow well and survive in north facing windows, or you can add a plant LED Grow Light over the plants and have the light on for about 3 hours a day during the daylight hours to mimic the sunshine outside for a higher chance of blooming on your Rhipsalis Cacti.

Rhipsalis baccifera in flower
Rhipsalis baccifera, most of the Rhipsalis will grow and even flower in a north facing window.
Rhipsalis crispata in flower
Rhipsalis crispata in flower, this Rhipsalis will grow and flower well in a bright but sunless north facing window.

What about the Desert Cacti ? 

The Desert Cacti unfortunately can’t be grown and will definitely not flower in a north facing window without the help of additional plant Grow Lights, they can however be overwintered in a north facing window for the Winter rest period from September to April with no problems at all, as long as they can be kept cool and dry with no water given to them during the Winter months, watering the Desert Cacti during the winter will encourage thin spindly growth and possible rot, and as long as you can move your Desert Cacti to a sunny window or position during the Spring and Summer for their growing period, then its perfectly fine to overwinter Desert Cacti on a north facing window, however I would still recommend adding a plant LED Grow Light for Desert Cacti in north facing windows over the winter to give them a boost of artificial ‘sunshine’ as this will help to encourage more blooms on your cacti in Spring and Summer.

Grow Lights for plants
If all you have is a sunless north facing Window and you really want to grow Desert Cacti then you can install a Plant LED Grow Light, these are available on AMAZON, the Grow Light in this photo is one by ‘Mars Hydr0’ 

But what if I only have a north facing window and I can’t move my Desert Cacti outside for Spring and Summer ? 

Well the good news to this is that there is always a way around everything haha, and if all you have is a north facing window and you don’t have any sunny windows or a garden or balcony to move your Desert Cacti in Spring and Summer, then what you can do is install a LED Plant Grow Light/s there are many excellent ones on AMAZON, but personally the ones I would highly recommend for growing Cacti would be the top notch quality Grow Lights from Mars Hydro or Spider Farmer, both of these companies produce excellent plant LED Grow lights and are available to purchase on AMAZON, and although they can be pricey to buy initially, they are a fantastic investment for your Cactus plants, and I know a lot of you may be worrying about the cost of having Grow Lights on for your Cacti especially with all the recent rising costs with electricity, they are very cost effective as most of these Grow Lights will give off 1000 Watts of bright artificial sunlight but only consume 50Watts of actual electricity, and if you are placing these lights in a north facing window that is bright but sunless, you only need to have these lights on for around 4-6 hours a day to mimic the amount of direct sunshine these cacti would normally receive in a sunny window, by the use of grow lights you will definitely be able to grow your Desert Cacti in north facing windows and you will get them to flower for you too. 

I hope you found this Article helpful and here is a video below that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on ‘Can you Grow Cactus Plants in a North Facing Window ? ‘ 

For lots more Tips and Tricks on How you can care for Cacti and Succulents then please do check out my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon by clicking HERE

Thanks so much for reading and wishing you ALL a fantastic Plant Powered day or evening.

 

 

 

How To Get your Cacti To Flower ALL Year Round

Hi Guys ๐Ÿ˜€ 

We all love to see our cacti flower, and I am often being asked if its possible to get a cactus to flower not just in the Spring and Summer but also in the Autumn and Winter too, and how lovely would it be to experience a display of cactus blooms all through the year.

Sulcorebutia in flower, Sulcorebutia cactus, red flowering sulcorebutia
How lovely would it be to see a display of Cacti Flowers all through the year.

Now all Cacti have their own flowering seasons, and the majority of them do have their flowering seasons during the Spring and Summer only, but there are also many Cacti that have their flowering season in the Autumn and Winter, think of the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti ( Schlumbergera ) these cacti produce and abundance of blooms from October until February often blooming more than once during the Winter season, and some of the Epiphytic cacti such as Rhipsalis are Winter bloomers and Rhipsalis also has the advantage of re blooming again in the Spring and Summer too.

Christmas cactus flowers, Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera buckleyi,,
Schlumbergera buckleyi The Christmas Cactus blooms from late November until early February
Christmas cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, red flowering Christmas cactus, Christmas cactus red flowers, Xmas cactus,
Schlumbergera truncata, the Thanksgiving Cactus blooms from October till December

Is it possible to get an individual cactus to flower all year round ?

Now as I mentioned above all cacti have their own flowering Season, but it is possible to artificially force a cactus to flower out of season by using LED Plant Grow lights and leaving them on in Winter for around 15-17 hours a day, this will make the cactus think it is Spring and Summer and will encourage the cactus to come into bloom, this is why Desert Cacti that are sold in flower in Winter in garden shops have been forced to flower at the wrong time by the plant nurseries by the use of grow lights, and of course many cacti are sold with fake plastic or paper flowers stuck onto them just to get a quick sale. However I strongly advise against forcing your cacti to flower out of season because this can weaken your cactus, cacti really need to have a resting period, they need this so they can put their natural energy into producing blooms and growth in the Spring and Summer, by forcing your Desert cacti to bloom in Winter when they should be resting is a recipe for disaster long term.

Mammillaria carmenera, Mammillaria carmernera flower
Mammillaria carmenera a beautiful Spring and Summer bloomer

So then How do you get your Cacti to flower all through the Year ?   

Well I suggest that you grow a variety of different types of Cacti such as Desert Cacti, Holiday Cacti like Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti ( Schlumbergera ) and Epiphytic Cacti like Rhipsalis, and you will have Cacti that flower for you ALL year round.

Rebutia albipilosa flowers, Rebutia albipilosa
Rebutia albipilosa, a gorgeous striking bloomer with bright orange blooms in spring

Cacti really do surprise us with the most BEAUTIFUL of Blooms.

Echinopsis subdenudata, sea urchin cactus,
Echinopsis subdenudata a prolific bloomer in Spring and Summer and even early Autumn.
Rebutia perplexa, Rebutia perplexa flowers
Rebutia perplexa produces a stunning bouquet of pink blooms in Spring
Gymnocalycium pflanzii. Gymnocalycium pflanzii blooms
Gymnocalycium pflanzii a stunning Spring, Summer and early Autumn bloomer

Here is a video that I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon where I talk about How you can get your Cacti to Flower ALL year round.

If you want to know How to get your Cacti to Flower then watch my video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on How to Get your Cacti to Flower  

If you want to know what Cacti are the best and easiest to get to flower then you can watch my video I have made for my You Tube Channel called Desert Plants of Avalon on the Top 10 BEST Flowering Cactus Plants

I hope you enjoyed the read and wishing you all a blooming lovely day.