Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Good indoor cacti for a window ledge

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tsabs
Apr 15, 2017 6:39 PM CST
Hello all!
So I have a small collection of houseplants that have been with me for a few years, but when it comes to cacti/succulents I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I picked up these very heavily dyed cacti sometime last year, and as far as I can tell they've done okay so far (though with that bright pigment, would I even notice if they'd died?). Anyway, I would like to move them from their individual pots to a planter box with some other (more neutral colored) cacti around them, but I have no idea what species would be good for this purpose, and there are so many that I got lost trying to find one. As you can see, with the exception of the green one they're all fairly short, so I would want something that won't grow too much taller than them. And I also don't want something that will spread, as I want to leave some space in between everything I plant. My only experience with succulents are the hens and chicks my mom got from a friend a few years ago that spread like wildfire.

Any tips for a cactus newbie!?

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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Apr 15, 2017 9:32 PM CST

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I would think a lot of cacti would be good plants for a sunny windowsill, actually. Provided they get enough sun, like hours a day ideally. The question becomes more a matter of what size they reach (will they fit or will they outgrow the space?) or if they have special needs (some plants are relatively difficult; some plants like it real dry and others like more water). Some of my favorite medium to small cacti are Mammillarias, dry-growing plants that may clump and often reward you with a crown of flowers each year. Any plant that clumps will tend to fill up space, some more than others, maybe look at some pictures of mature cacti so you know where they might end up.

Is that picture of your dyed cacti current, or does it show the plants when you bought them? You will know they are growing when you see parts that are not neon colors... the new growth, which should come from the center of each of those little balls.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 15, 2017 9:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Apr 15, 2017 9:56 PM CST
Welcome!

How long have you had them? Have you seen any new growth? Usually just the spines are dyed and you can see the green cactus body under the colorful spines. New growth would have white spines and within a few months, the color is gone. But yours appear to be completely dyed and its not fading. I'm not sure a cactus (or any plant) can survive without being able to photosynthesize. They may be dead already.

BTW, the cactus is Arizona Snow Cap (Mammillaria vetula ssp gracilis). They are really pretty in their nature coloration.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 16, 2017 7:04 PM CST
Hello tsabs...personally I never buy those dyed plants, really hate when they paint it like that..but if you do not see any new growth from the past year as already mentioned, then they may not be alive anymore. If you want, test one from each dyed plant, try to do a little cut, if it still shows freshness below, then there is some hope, maybe it will need just much better light. If they are still alive, I would further suggest you improve the media they are growing in, make it a bit more grittier and make sure those containers has drainage holes.

They should grow on well on your windowsill, depends too on the sun orientation on that windowsill. Especially if you want to get real good flowering for them, they would need stronger sunlight.
[Last edited by tarev - Apr 16, 2017 10:04 PM (+)]
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tsabs
Apr 17, 2017 9:32 AM CST
Thank You!
Thank you all for your input!

I've had them a year and have seen no new growth whatsoever (that picture is current, not from a year ago), so I'm going to assume they were probably dead either when or shortly after I purchased them. Their actual home is on this shelf in front of a south facing window, so I don't believe amount of light was part of the problem.
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So I guess the question now is, if I do make a box with some new cacti, would it be a mistake for me to include these guys as some sort of colorfully fossilized focal pieces amidst their un-dyed brethren, or would that have a negative impact in regards to soil quality/pests/some-other-unforeseen-problem? Though I do love them for their absurd brightness, if I need to I suppose I would be able to part with them, but it would be nice to keep them around if they're going to stay as intact as they have in the last year.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 17, 2017 10:00 AM CST
Better to separate them from any new ones , in case the dyed ones have some existing pathogens, I don't re-use soil of plants that have died in it. Same way if those old plants are doing well, don't mix in new arrivals right away, you just never know yet if the new ones also carries some pests, best to quarantine them a bit, observe and apply needed measures if needed.

It is a matter of preference when gardening..personally I absolutely abhor those dyed plants. Just marketing ploy that never really takes into consideration the overall growth of the plants.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 17, 2017 2:00 PM CST
I'm with Tarev. I never reuse potting soil. I also suspect the minute you touch your colorful cactus, you will discover they are just the shells.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Jai or Jack
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Jai_Ganesha
Jul 19, 2017 4:09 AM CST
DaisyI said:I'm with Tarev. I never reuse potting soil. I also suspect the minute you touch your colorful cactus, you will discover they are just the shells.


I know this post is a couple months old but I'm curious now if this is what happened (the cacti turned out to be long dead)?
Keep going!
Name: Lindsey
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ljones26
Jul 20, 2017 1:49 PM CST
Nothing drives me more insane than stores that spray paint plants, or GLUES FAKE FLOWERS TO THEM. Grumbling hahahah
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 20, 2017 2:19 PM CST

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Both are deceptive practices but it sounds like the spray paint can actually be lethal. Thumbs down

The fake flowers are ironic to me given some of the cacti are prolific bloomers at the right time of year.

Along similar lines, I have seen all manner of succulents for sale that were more or less guaranteed a short life due to the container they were placed in. People seem to prize cuteness at the expense of a plant's general health. Of course they are not mutually exclusive, and only a tiny bit of knowledge is needed to tell the difference. Smiling Most of the time it has to do with the full size of the plant.

There's a certain fetish around impractical containers (and especially terraria) and people have asked me for that kind of thing. I say no and explain why, then they get it. People knowingly putting stuff like that for sale are pretending a succulent can survive in a tiny pot with no holes for more than a few months. It can be done, but it's not a beginner level thing.

That's also a deceptive practice, to the extent the results speak for themselves. Maybe it's supposed to feed back into more plants sold? Shrug!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 20, 2017 2:30 PM (+)]
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