tph
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Identifying a cactus plant

Hello everyone, I recently moved to a new apartment, and took an old cactus of mine with me. The problem is, I have no idea which type of cactus it is, specifically.

I would like to know which type of cactus it is, so I could find some information how to treat it right.

--image url deleted--

Any help will be highly appriciated!
Last edited by tph on Sun May 23, 2010 3:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Kisal
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Nice looking plant! If it has been in your care for very long, I would suggest that you not change a thing. :)

I'm pretty sure it's a member of the Aloe genus. There are many, and on top of that, there are many hybrids. Yours impresses me as being very similar to haworthoides, but not quite as toothy. It may be one of the hybrids of that species. Aloes form clumps naturally if their pups are left in place to mature alongside the parent plant. The pinkish coloring is a trait of a few species, but when I looked at images of them, they seemed to be less toothy than your specimen, which again leads me to think it may be a hybrid.

At any rate, it looks very healthy. The only thing you might want to consider would be a careful transfer to a slightly larger container. That might take care of the slight tip browning I note on your plant ... which is by no means extreme. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

tph
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Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 4:26 am

Thank you for your quick and very informative reply!

The thing is, it was bought to me as a child. The plant has been on my moms care since then to be honest. I recently moved to a place that has enough space for me to keep it, so I wanted to have it with me.

I was hinted that it only needs very little bit of water. The problem might be me overwatering it, so thanks to you, I'll now be able to find something more specific about the amount of water the plant needs, and how often exactly.

I already had plans for transfering it to a bigger container. From what I've read it should be a container that is more wide than it is deep.

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Kisal
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You are absolutely correct that the container should be wider than it is deep. This is true for all cacti, and IMO, for all succulents. The weight of the thick fleshy stems and leaves can make a succulent top heavy, so giving it a broad base for support will help stabilize it. In addition, the potting mix in a wide shallow container dries out faster than that in a deep container, so it helps prevent root rot.

Root rot is what kills most succulents, so you are wise to be careful of how much water you give the plant. Another thing that helps is using a container made of unglazed clay, because the clay will absorb some of the water away from the roots, and it also allows air to get into the soil. Air is necessary for healthy roots.

Aloes are desert cacti, as opposed to jungle cacti. It doesn't rain often in the desert, but when it does, it's usually a real cloudburst. That's the environment your plant has evolved for, so when you water it, water it very thoroughly. Then, allow plenty of time for all the excess water to drain out, before you return the pot to its saucer. After that, it won't need water for a few weeks, maybe a month. In the winter, when the days are shorter, your plant will stop active growth. Water it even less during that time, because the roots won't absorb the water from the soil as quickly as they do while the plant is growing.

Being a desert plant, aloes also like a lot of light. You might even want to get a grow light to supplement whatever natural light you can give it.

After all of that, though, I must say your mom really has done a fine job with that plant. You might just want to ask her to tell you how she treated it, then try to replicate that as best you can. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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