Thursday , March 30 2017
Home / Indoor Gardening / Cacti and Succulents / Succulents in Containers

For an attractive focal point on your patio or windowsill you can choose to grow in pots, bowls or troughs a collection of cacti and succulents and place them in the right spot. For good results is important to choose the right compost for your arrangement. It should be well-drained and slightly acid so a good mixture is made of 1 part sand or grit to 3 parts loam-based compost or 2 parts loamless compost.

The containers for your arrangement can be both clay or plastic but you have to remember that the compost in plastic pots retains moisture longer than in clay pots, which means that the plants in plastic pots will need less frequent watering, but clay pots provide better aeration around the roots. Make sure that the container you choose has one or more drainage holes in the base. Always consider the size of the pot to be proportionate to the size of the plants that you choose to plant but never less than 10 cm deep.

Succulents in Containers

Before planting your container place a layer of drainage material in the base to one third of the depth of the container to ensure a good drainage and prevent roots from rotting. Fill the container with the compost mixture to within 1 cm of the rim.

If you are using already potted plants, discard any top-dressing, remove the plants from the pots and loosen their root balls. Place them into the new container so that they are at the same level in the compost as they were in their original pots. Space the plants into the new container in the way that they will have enough space to develop. Allow the plants to settle for a few days before watering then water when needed but only when the plants are in active growth. For a more natural effect, you can add decorative pieces of rock or pebbles to your composition.

For a special and attractive feature you can choose the dramatic display of a trailing succulent placed in a hanging basket. Use clean baskets that have drainage holes and if the basket has a fixed drainage tray, place a layer of small pebbles or gravel in the base instead of sphagnum moss. For wire baskets use proprietary liner or a layer of sphagnum moss for lining. Fill the basket with the right compost mix without disturbing the moss or pebbles in the bottom, then place the plant in the basket in the same way as for any hanging basket.

Make sure you do not overcrowd the basket, most of the pants that are suitable for this type of planting have a naturally pendent or spreading habit, so often one plant can be sufficient to fill a hanging basket. Top-dress with gravel or grit if extra drainage is needed. Allow the plants to settle for a few days before watering, then when the plants are established and are showing signs of new growth water as needed.

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Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a genus of about 6 species of bushy, perennial cacti that originate in the tropical rainforest from SE Brazil. It is cultivate for its attractive flowers that bloom mostly in winter, around Christmas.

It need moderate watering and humidity. You can apply high-potash liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks when in growth and keep just moist after flowering. Repot every 3 to 4 years in the spring. Propagate from seeds in spring or take cuttings of stem sections in spring or early summer.

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