imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Essential and useful tools for cactus and succulent care

I agree with Elizabeth, succulents don't mind a little neglect. Full sun, a well drained media and pots that breathe. I do not over pot my succulents. It is the only way to keep them smaller longer. I have both cacti and succulents without thorns. My cats are indoors but I doubt a cat would make a bed in cacti anyway. Shelving is a good idea, but mine are outdoors so I just need a place with good sun and out of range of the sprinklers but still accessible with a garden hose.

A drill with a ceramic bit and a soldering iron I find very useful for putting extra holes in pots. Especially if you want to grow succulents in a recycled container or teacup. I don't like plastic pots, but some of my plants are in them so I use the soldering iron to put more holes in the pot. I also do the same for plastic pots that my orchids are in.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Mr green
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Re: Essential and useful tools for cactus and succulent care

don't have much tips for tools really, other than cacti turns beautiful by neglect! And those prickly pears, torch those hairs with a burner, or over a gas stove or even a barbeque grill, and they will burn off, then you can handle them as you want. And they are the most lovely tasting fruit, specially the red variety.

I grow some different cacti, and most of them are shown love by neglecting their existense most of the time. I have seed sown Lophophora that i have in the same pots i germinated them in! That was soon 10 years ago. Tools are little needed in theese cases... ;)
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

imafan26
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Posts: 11273
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Essential and useful tools for cactus and succulent care

I use cinder, #3 rocks or pea gravel for most of my succulents. I do have some in nursery pots but they have extra holes for drainage.
I cannot use scissors very much because my succulents are not that small for the most part. The small ones are not the problem. I have to thin the aloe twice a year and they are heavy and the sap is slimy and sticky. Cereus is the same way. I can cut them off where the sections are but they are too thick for a scissors. they like to go over the wall into the neighbor's yard. I use a hand saw on those. I can use loppers if I can get between them and they aren't that thick. With the aloe, sometimes, I just pull and take out wherever it breaks.

I have to sluggo the succulents because the slugs and snails don't care about the thorns, they still eat them.

Sometimes the cacti can get really tall, then it helps to put the pot in a cement pot or a bigger pot with the space filled with rocks to counter the weight of the top.

Rain tent helps. If it rains a lot I either have to to move the succulents or put up a temporary shelter to keep them drier.
I make a pvc frame and put a clear plexiglass over it. it keeps out the rain but lets the sun through. I can add plastic sheeting to the sides but I don't like to block the air, as long as the rain is not being driven by wind, the plexiglass keeps them dry enough. Plastic sheeting did not work as a roof because the water collected and collapsed the roof.

I have my succulents on a mini terrace of stacked hollow tiles. I have three tiers that keeps the plants dry and gives them maximum exposure to light. The tiers are pitched so they don't hang onto water either.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Greywolf
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Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:30 am
Location: Western Tennessee

Re: Essential and useful tools for cactus and succulent care

Cat Litter should be avoided, I think. It is essentially baked clay, that can break down and form that "BRICK-LIKE" soil mentioned above. Baking it forms it into pellets, but over time (and water absorption and release) they break down into guess what? CLAY once again, and that is like adding portland cement to your mix.

Kitty litter is also designed from the start to ABSORB MOISTURE... (not to mention smells) so those are two reasons it should be avoided, even if you find a brand with no chemical additives to make it smell springtime fresh or whatever - that could become a third reason.

We think of cat litter as being light weight coarse grainy stuff, but it doesn't stay that way long. Its effects are the opposite.

Some options I can think of if you find a good price for it are aquarium gravel (available in whatever your favorite colors are!) and lava sand, or lava gravel.

But the ultimate source of cactus soil is if you happen to be driving down interstate forty anywhere between california and oklahoma and have an empty tub or some lawn and garden bags with you
Le Revanchist du Finances

There is no such thing as a "STUPID QUESTION"
~ Unless you or I fail to ask it in time...

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