Cactus and Succulents forum→Advice on my 'tall guy' with pups

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Orangesky82
Jun 16, 2021 4:10 AM CST
Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice on my much-loved 'tall guy' here.

I've had him for about two years now, and he was tiny originally, continuing to grow really well. He had a load of pups develop about a year ago which I removed and grew new ones from, but left a few on. These are now getting quite big and i'm wondering if I should leave them or if they will be taking away from him thickening. He's grown quite tall and thin and I want to encourage him to thicken up. Also, the point on his top seems to be really thin suddenly, so i've changed position so he hopefully gets more sunlight.

He really is quite special to me and my partner - she bought him for me instead of flowers when we first got together so obviously keen to keep him well Smiling Any advice for helping to do that much appreciated. Cheers, Jodie

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Orangesky82
Jun 16, 2021 9:24 AM CST
I've also just noticed that 'all' of the pups we've grown from him are all suddenly really thin and pointed at the very tops of them where new growth is coming in.... is there something in how they are placed too in addition to my other question? Cheers everyone! Thank You!
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 16, 2021 12:59 PM CST

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What kind of light does that plant receive? The more light, the better indoors. I realize that tall plants may be difficult to fit on a windowsill, or the top may poke above the level of the window, but it would be ideal if the growth points (the tips of the stems) can "see" the sun for hours a day year round, with no curtain or blinds in the way.

Orangesky82
Jun 17, 2021 5:53 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:What kind of light does that plant receive? The more light, the better indoors. I realize that tall plants may be difficult to fit on a windowsill, or the top may poke above the level of the window, but it would be ideal if the growth points (the tips of the stems) can "see" the sun for hours a day year round, with no curtain or blinds in the way.


He's not directly by the window, but our flat does get lots of light, but perhaps we need to move him closer so will try that.

What did you think about the pups? Are they taking away from his growth do you think? If so i'll remove them.

Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Jun 17, 2021 2:49 PM CST

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As far as most (desert, not epiphytic) cacti are concerned, bright ambient light is good but what matters most (and is actually required for most) indoors is an unobstructed line of sight to the glowing orb in the sky for hours a day, year round. This will typically restrict the useful growing area in your flat to right in front of the window, ideally a southerly facing one (SW to SE, not NW to NE), assuming you're in the northern hemisphere. For orchid cacti or holiday cacti, other rules may apply, and those plants would probably be better choices for a more interior location.

I don't actually know the name of your plant, so I don't have any point of reference about how much it usually branches, or how tall it usually grows. I guess you always have the option of removing branches if you're going for a certain look. This would basically be pruning. I chop off branches pretty regularly for the purposes of starting new plants. That's another reason to take out the knife. But I don't think the lower branches are taking anything away from the tall one, in the sense of competing for active growth.

It should be pretty easy to start this plant from cuttings, or at least I would suggest giving that a try i f you do decide to prune. The important things there are to allow them time to heal before you expose them to soil, use relatively small pots, and wait at least a week or two before you water, so that rot does not set in. Rootless cuttings will not take up water so at the beginning it's important to exercise discipline with the watering can.

At some point your "tall guy" may get tall enough that he doesn't do well indoors. There's a sort of inherent size limitation for tall cacti as house plants, unless they're under a skylight or the windows are extra tall. The whole stem performs photosynthesis, but the top of the stem specifically will extend differently if it is in the shade (stretching, narrowing, perhaps changing in color) and at some point start looking strange and losing stability. So it's good to give light to the entire height of the plant, but it's especially important to pay attention to the "head".

That's a great looking plant, and you've had it for a couple of years so obviously you've got the care figured out, these are just tips to consider. What is particularly important when you experiment with exposure is to try and observe how the plant changes when it gets differing amounts of sunlight. That will tell you all you need to know. Smiling
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 17, 2021 4:04 PM (+)]
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Orangesky82
Jun 18, 2021 3:28 AM CST
Once again Baja_Costero you wow me with your knowledge. Thank you so much, i adore my succulents and cacti and it's lovely to know people are there to help me take care of them.

I've definitely grown new ones from him before but running out of space for any more at the moment. I'll definitely try to move him so he has more sunlight, thanks and have a great weekend!
P.s i'm in the UK so our sunlight isn't great all the time. I tried to emigrate to the US a few years ago as fell in love with it, and the dream is to one day live somewhere where i can have a full front/back yard full of rockgardens and cacti/succulents Smiling
Thank You!
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critterologist
Jun 18, 2021 6:41 PM CST
I have a "tall guy" like that! Mine is 20 years old and hasn't grown much for the past 10. He's in front of a south facing window, quite likely needs to be repotted or very weakly fertilized, but since I'd just as soon he didn't outgrow the room, I have been treating him with "benign neglect." Mine doesn't have any pups around the base but does have several "arms" like the one that's just starting to grow on yours (last photo). On mine, the "arms" are pretty vertical, so he didn't get wide enough to be a hazard as he grew.

Yours looks great, although I understand your concern about the thin new growth on the top. Fingers crossed that more sun will solve that problem.
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.

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