Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cacti & Wallmart...

A few months ago I was half way through repotting a few things when I realized I was not going to have enough peat to complete the project. Crap! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a bag of pure Canadian Sphagnum Peat at 8pm at night?* Desperation and panic set in.

Then I realize.....seed starting plugs. They're usually peat. Sure enough, Ferry-Morse sells boxes of their peat plugs for refills for their tray kits. In the seed starting section are of course all those little packets of seeds too. Vegetables, fruits, flowers, and.....cactus? Well, this is an interesting development. Of all the years I've bought tags, shears, wire in this section of various garden centers I've never seen a packet of cactus seeds until just now.

Side note: Ferry-Morse also carries Moon & Stars Watermelon. I've wanted to grow those FOREVER! The absolute second I know I have a yard to grow these in, I'm starting these. They must be grown. Heirloom watermelon!

There were a good 50 seeds in the packet. The packet reads (my additions in ellipses): Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), Hedgehog (which apparently can refer to species of Pediocactus, Echinocereus, or Echinopsis, and people wonder why I hate common or nicknames for plants), Fishhook Barrel (Ferocactus wislizeni), Dollar Prickly Pear Desert (Opuntia robusta ?), Prickly Pear (really can refer to almost any Opuntia species), Christmas Cholla (Opuntia leptocaulis), Cane Cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata), Santa Rita Prickly Pear (an Opuntia cultivar O. 'Santa Rita'), and Cardo'n ("Cardón", Pachycereus pringlei).**

Yikes, that's a lot of glochids. Normally I wouldn't be thrilled with anything to do with Opuntia, but the O. 'Santa Rita' cultivar is a really nice one. I may put up with the glochids to have one. Opuntia are notoriously difficult to germinate, so no loss if I don't end up with any either. It would be nice if some of the Saguaro, "Hedgehog", Cane Cholla, and the Cardón germinated though. All of those are really nice too.

Then, because Wallmart...two boxes of Jiffy refill seed starting plugs, cactus seeds, car jack stands, and 2 sodas later, we were on our way home. Wallmart, usually the worst place ever.

Here they are today. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what some of these are now that they've started to differentiate? Looks like a decent mix of everything but Opuntias.

The whole group

Two different columnar types, one with five sides and a few rounded

Another columnar with four sides

*And yes, I am aware Home Depot sells Canadian Sphagnum Peat, however it is only in bales. The husband said no way are we dealing with getting that much peat home and then figuring out how to store it. Thus the desperate dash to Wallmart hoping they'd have a smaller bag.
**Is it odd to anyone else for any company to have that much seed of those particular species? I realize these have come from Holland where plant production is pretty bangin', but where are all these mature Cardón even flowering?


  1. Oh wow, that is so cool! I now really want to try and find some seeds :)

    How long has it taken them to get to that stage roughly?
    And how have you been caring for them, is it just like normal seedlings?

    1. It's been about 3 months since sowing the seed. Cacti seedlings are more sensitive than you'd think, basically they need more water and lower light than the adults. First 3 months of life were in that pot in a plastic zip-lock baggie, high humidity and constantly moist. You can take them out of the bag and start subjecting them to higher light after that, but seedlings still have to stay in consistently most soil for about their 1st six months to a year of life. They are VERY prone to desiccation from dehydration, but not rot prone (unless they get cold) at this small stage oddly enough! I've got some others that are about 2 years old, and those dry out and sit in the sun with the adult cacti just fine. The plastic baggie for the 1st few months isn't 100% necessary (I've seen people do fine without it) but I've got nearly 100% success rate using this method, so I stick to it.

    2. Hey Melody, sorry for taking ages to reply, that is so cool that they're so easy to grow... well, when I say easy that's in comparison with orchids :D

      I never would have guessed they'd need to moisture, but I guess it'd be their way of building up a storage so that they can survive the drive periods. Now I've definitely got to find some cacti seeds :D