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May 15, 2018 3:36 PM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Hi!

I just got these three cacti and I'd like to care for them as best as possible. How often should I water them? Do I need to change their soil?

I am a cactus newbie so any advice is welcome!
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May 15, 2018 6:44 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
You have a Haworthia, Echeveria, and Gasteria from left to right, I think. They make a compatible group for a sunny windowsill. I realize those 3 pots are perfectly matched Smiling but I think they are going to be too small for your plants very soon. The middle plant looks most in need of space... it will be happier in a pot that's just bigger than the width of the rosette. That size would work for the other two plants in the near future as well.

If and when you do repot, use containers that have holes at the bottom and are wider than deep. You can use bagged cactus mix or regular potting soil with added perlite/pumice/grit to 25-50% of the total. Various things can be made to work, but it's important that the soil be fast draining and not overly rich/moisture retentive. Do not disturb the roots any more than necessary when you repot, and wait a week afterwards to water in order to avoid complications (rot).

The actual watering frequency depends on a lot of variables (temperature, light, humidity, air flow) that change with the seasons and the weather. But the basic principle is to water well and then wait until the soil is dry before watering again. There is no particular advantage to allowing the soil to stay bone dry for any extended period, but there is a significant risk of rot if you don't allow the soil to dry out enough in between watering. Using a pot that matches the size of the plant (as described above) will help with watering, as will strong light (indoors, that means they should "see" the sun for hours a day). Maybe water once a week this time of year, much less often during the winter.

Hopefully others will chime in with advice based on their own experience.
Last edited by Baja_Costero May 15, 2018 6:58 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 15, 2018 9:40 PM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Thank you so much Baja Costero! This is amazing advice. I am happy to know the types of cacti they are, too.

Do you think I could repot them into a large circumference and shallow glass bowl to make a cactus garden? I would maybe put rocks at the bottom for draining the soil (I have cactus soil!)

Looking forward to hearing from you and anyone else who has advice Smiling Thank You!
Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 15, 2018 9:42 PM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Also, one more question, what happens if I don't repot them? Will they stay this size? Will they die?

Thanks again :)))
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May 16, 2018 1:32 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
You can certainly put them together in one pot, and a shallow bowl is a good shape, but it's important that the pot have a hole at the bottom so water can drain out. The rocks at the bottom actually do more harm than good, so are best avoided.

Your plants will be fine for a while in their current containers, but after a few months the Echeveria will start to suffer (with visible results, like a shrinking rosette) and after a year or so it will begin to lose vigor, shrink up, and/or be vulnerable to rot. The other plants are most likely going to offset, and probably will be better for longer in small pots, but they too will start to suffer after a year or so. I don't really know the end point if you continue without repotting any plants, because I never allow my plants to get there. Smiling
Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 20, 2018 6:57 AM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Thank you so much! This was very helpful!
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May 20, 2018 9:04 AM CST
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Region: West Virginia Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
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Has anybody pointed out that none of these is a cactus?
Keep going!
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May 20, 2018 11:47 AM CST
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Jai_Ganesha said:Has anybody pointed out that none of these is a cactus?


Well, Baja did say they're "Haworthia, Echeveria, and Gasteria." Some folks tend to label succulents as cacti too, a novice mistake. Big Grin
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May 20, 2018 11:49 AM CST
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Region: West Virginia Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
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Hamwild said:

Well, Baja did say they're "Haworthia, Echeveria, and Gasteria." Some folks tend to label succulents as cacti too, a novice mistake. Big Grin


I still think it's better to be as clear as possible.
Keep going!
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May 20, 2018 11:54 AM CST
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Foliage Fan Bromeliad Container Gardener Tropicals
Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sedums Orchids Garden Procrastinator Bulbs
Well, techincally, cacti are succulents... yet most forums are cactus and succulent forums, where as they should be labeled as succulent forums only. And while a lot of xeric(but not succulent plants are covered by these forums, a lot of humid climate plants are covered as well....
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May 20, 2018 11:58 AM CST
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Region: West Virginia Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
skopjecollection said:Well, techincally, cacti are succulents...


Not always. Pereskias are deciduous shrubs and trees, (but they're still cacti since they have areoles).
Keep going!
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May 20, 2018 12:07 PM CST
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Foliage Fan Bromeliad Container Gardener Tropicals
Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sedums Orchids Garden Procrastinator Bulbs
Im well aware. But plants like certain epiphyllums and a rhipsalis can hardly be considered succulent anyway , since their growth is closer to ferns and mistletoe. I did say xeric and humid climate didnt I.... stuff like dyckia and hetchia are bromeliads, but they are still covered under the succulent forum. Even some euporbias are basically like the pereskia.....
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May 20, 2018 12:25 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Maybe the forum should be "Pereskia and succulents" then? Smiling My problem is with the word "tender" more than anything. I understand the Semp and Sedum people need their own forums, but we talk about plenty of succulents here that can take a bit of cold.

The terrestrial bromeliads are not succulent, but they are not the most natural companion to the other bromeliads either. They don't have their own forum here but there is a long-going thread in the tropical forum on the family.

The thread "Bromeliads" in Bromeliads forum

I have no problem with people talking about terrestrial bromeliads on this forum, regardless, because they are great companions for succulents in a dry garden.

Hopefully we have not lost Sophie yet. Smiling
Last edited by Baja_Costero May 20, 2018 12:30 PM Icon for preview
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May 20, 2018 12:48 PM CST
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Foliage Fan Bromeliad Container Gardener Tropicals
Sempervivums Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Sedums Orchids Garden Procrastinator Bulbs
You know whats bothering me? Nerium oleander. Just hear me out.
Closest relative to adenium(origin wise, geographically and probably genetically).
Thrives in the Sahara, a desert more fierce than most succulent bearing ones (save for Atacama with the salt flats and low rainfall, and the Namib and Kalahari) .
Its growth pattern is very succulent like, like that of euphorbia mili, or aeonium.
The tropical plumeria is considered more succulent than it, despite not being that durable in sever conditions.
Even stuff like Fouquieria , or leafy euphorbiads grown in less hostile conditions than it, are always lumped together under cacti and succulents.... while nerium gets the ignore treatment.
Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 21, 2018 6:25 AM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Hahah!! Baja! Thank you for the shoutout. You guys completely lost me - BUT, this was so interesting to read! I'm so amazed at how informed you all are on this topic. I'm learning! Smiling So my plants are succulents, not cacti? The cacti are only the tall prickly ones?

By the way- I repotted the Echeveria Smiling
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May 21, 2018 6:59 AM CST
Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Nice plants! Think you two you have are
echeveria pulidonis

Gasteria little warty
O give thanks unto Hashem; for He is tov; ki l’olam chasdo (His chesed indures forever).
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May 21, 2018 9:03 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Yes, those could be the plants. Smiling

Sophie, do I see a plastic pot buried in that new white pot you put the Echeveria in? A little confused here because that looks like an unusual setup to me.
Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 21, 2018 6:42 PM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Lol!!! Yes, because it has a hole!! Is that weird?

If I would have planted it in the white ceramic bowl there would be no hole at the bottom...

I'm also a bit concerned, it seems as though the bottom layer of leaves are yellowing and wilting Crying is that normal? I just bought these 6 days ago.
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Avatar for Sophiesaurus
May 21, 2018 6:44 PM CST
Name: Sophie
Montreal Canada (Zone 5b)
Thank you syzone8auk! Are those your plants?
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May 21, 2018 7:44 PM CST
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Region: West Virginia Container Gardener Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Sophiesaurus said:Lol!!! Yes, because it has a hole!! Is that weird?

If I would have planted it in the white ceramic bowl there would be no hole at the bottom...

I'm also a bit concerned, it seems as though the bottom layer of leaves are yellowing and wilting Crying is that normal? I just bought these 6 days ago.
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That potting arrangement is just begging for rot. Take it out of both pots, and put it into a single pot with lots of drainage and drier/rockier soil. The drainage holes on any give pot must be exposed to the open air. That's the entire point.

The reasons the leaves are yellowing is likely because of the way the roots have been treated (in too much soil, too wet soil, and soil that does not drain fast enough). But the plant is perfectly savable.
Keep going!

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