There are several thousand species of cacti in the world, the most popular are hymnocalyciums. These plants come from South America. They look original and aesthetically pleasing, requiring a minimum of care.
Cactus Gymnocalium (lat. Gymnocalium) has about eight dozen species, many of them are found around the world. In nature, cacti grow in the tropics, in countries such as Paraguay, Chile and Peru. The plant loves an atmosphere with a high moisture content and a temperature of over +20 degrees. These cacti are found in the mountains above sea level up to 1000 meters. Cactus hymnocalycium was discovered in the 19th century by the natural scientist Ludwig Pfeiffer (1844). In the XX century, the hymnocalycium was differentiated into 5 sections according to the characteristics and properties of the seed stock.
After two years of life, cacti bloom from April to October. Flowers appear at the top and look like small bells, whose diameter is up to 7.5 cm. The appearance is spectacular, while the color can be very different - yellowish red, beige, dark purple and so on. The maximum plant parameters are about 1/3 meter, the stems are spherical in shape. On the flowers themselves, no spikes or hard villi are observed.
Types and Names
There are a huge number of varieties of cacti. It is worth considering the most popular types in more detail.
- The naked gymnocium has the shape of a stem that resembles a slightly flattened sphere. The plant has wide ribs, a bright green color, slightly concave spines up to 2 centimeters in size. The flower is represented in beige or white tint.
- Gymnocalycium saglionis also has dark green spherical stems. The cross-sectional size is up to 35 cm. The size of the spines is up to 4.5 cm (they are very curved). White or pink colors look beautiful.
- The humpbacked Gymnocalium has a stalk, long spines (4 cm), flowers of various cream shades. The name of the plant was derived from the presence of spherical succulent. The central spine of the plant grows over time with radial spines that resemble thickenings. Cactus can reach 55 cm, have a stem diameter of up to 20 centimeters. Ribs, there are up to two dozen, they look prominently, have the form of individual segments. The plant blooms beautifully, flowers are large (diameter up to 7 cm), are located on a wide tube. Petals of a white color with a reddish base.
- Tiny hymnocalicium grows to just 3.5 cm. The stem looks like a ball, the color is dark green with a brownish tint. There are no thorns on the cactus. It blooms with large white flowers.
- The cactus Andre is noteworthy. It has an original coloring, which completely does not make it related to the cactus family, however, Andre is a real hymnocalycium. The plant bushes have a large number of "heads" of a catchy bright yellow color. The stalk of the cactus is also yellow, sparse spikes sprout on it, which are in close contact with the stalk.
- Quel’s Gymnocalium has beautiful bluish undertones and shades. Dimensions - about 10 centimeters. White flowers have a red border.
- Gymnocalium mix is a collection of a wide variety of cacti. Flowers are usually no more than 4.5–5 cm across. From them you can make colorful themed combinations that grow in one container. Cacti with red and lilac heads look especially impressive.
- Gymnocalycium reductum is a Japanese species. Its second name is Friedrich's cactus. This plant is unique. In the Land of the Rising Sun, breeders, crossing various species, received a cactus that does not contain chlorophyll. As a result, cacti can be the most original colors: dark yellow, bright orange and dark red. The stem of a spherical shape can be up to 100 mm thick, long spines (up to 4.5 cm) have the shape of eagle claws. The flowers are beautiful, all shades of lilac color are present in them.
- Gymnocalycium baldianum is a special, unpretentious cactus in care, which is very popular all over the world. Its size is from 4.5 to 10.5 cm. It tolerates drought well, therefore, cactus can be fertilized only during growth. Under natural conditions, it can grow even at altitudes up to 2500 meters. A scientist from Argentina, Carl Speggazzini, first described this plant in the scientific literature, naming it Baldi, in honor of his friend Hacino Balda. The stalk has a cross section up to 13.5 cm, spherical shape, has an original color, which can be light blue with a greenish halftone, even dark blue, almost black. The ribs can be from 8 to 10, they are separated by deep grooves. The thorns, bending inwards, are large, can reach 7.5 cm. The flowers, growing on the top of the head, can be up to 4 cm in diameter, look beautiful, have a maroon color. There are also instances in which the flowers are yellow, white and bright orange.
A distinctive quality of Bald is its rapid growth, flowering can begin after reaching a size of about 3 cm.
- Bruch's cactus is also popular. It differs in that it gives a huge number of shoots, there are many thorns. The plant is named after the Argentine natural scientist. In height, it reaches only 6.5 cm, diameter - no more than 6 cm. The flowers are beautiful, have a pink color, in the center of the petals there is a dark strip.
- Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is very popular all over the world. This plant is easy to care for, it is recommended for breeding to novice gardeners. Cactus is a "launching pad", the basis for the cultivation of many original plant species of various colors. The thorns reach a size of 10 mm, flowers can grow up to 8.5 cm long, have a diameter of 6.5 cm in diameter. They look aesthetically pleasing.
- The multicolor hymnocalicium has extraordinary oblate configurations. Its height is up to 10 cm. Cactus grows by a bush. The diameter of the stem is up to 12 cm. The ribs can be 14 pieces. Flowers can be up to 5 cm in diameter and stay on short tubes.
- Cactus Rubra is a beautiful plant that has a bright red stem. It looks especially aesthetically and originally during flowering, which is rare. This type of cactus can be bred without much effort.
- The Brazilian Gymnocalycium has a stalk of a flat configuration, reaches a height of 6 cm, the diameter can be 14 cm. Brazil has several embossed ribs (7–9 pcs.) And long spines. Flowers come in beige shades.
Processing the hymnocalycium is not very difficult. It is required first of all to adhere to the following points:
- intense lighting with lamps;
- high plus temperature;
- drained soil;
- small watering in spring or summer (not more than 1 time in 7-8 days);
- loose soil;
- top dressing only with mineral compounds in the warm season.
Vaccination is necessary for plants that do not have chlorophyll. It is used for seedlings that are susceptible to rot when it is required to grow a cactus in a short period of time.
Inoculation is done in the traditional way: a good looking plant is selected, the instrument is disinfected, then cuts are made on the stock and scion. After that, they dress up. Fixation should not be excessively tight; the plant should be kept for 7 days.
A special vaccination exists in the cactus Mikhanovich, because he does not have chlorophyll. It lacks full photosynthesis, the plant can live exclusively in a vaccinated state. The vaccination of the cactus Mikhanovich is done on another cactus that contains chlorophyll. To get the vaccine right, you should first find a healthy plant and prepare the appropriate tools.
Gymnocalyciums need an influx of fresh air, the room should be ventilated often, especially in hot weather. During the transplant, the roots are thoroughly cleaned, after which it is worth rinsing, drying, then installing the cactus in a new pot. It is recommended to close the stem so that it does not come into contact with the ground. The topsoil is covered with fine gravel.
Watering is realized as moisture “leaves” the soil. Water must be defended before watering, it should be slightly warmed up in a metal container. In the second half of summer, watering is gradually reduced. In some regions, an increased percentage of iron is present in water; it should be passed through a filter before watering.
Cacti develop actively in an atmosphere with high moisture. From March to October they can be watered with small portions of water. In the colder months, plants require particularly intense lighting, while watering is completely stopped.
In the warm season, the average temperature for a cactus is required up to +24 degrees, in the colder months it can range from +14 to +19 degrees Celsius. Cacti can tolerate temperatures even slightly above zero (from + 5ºC), but they develop fully within the above boundaries.
These plants require plentiful lighting. At home, it is recommended to put additional light sources. We must not forget that direct sunlight can damage the epidermis of the plant, so they should be avoided.
Fertilizers and fertilizing
For additional nutrition, special chemical compounds are used. They are easy to purchase on the appropriate trading platform. It is recommended to process cacti with mineral top dressing, since organic compounds are strictly contraindicated for them. Once a month (from March to October) a small portion of fertilizer is applied. A cactus is an unpretentious plant, a similar amount is quite enough for it.
In winter, watering is prohibited, the introduction of any top dressing. At this time, the plant is gaining strength for activity in the summer and spring. You can not feed cacti with nitrogen-containing compounds, they can die.
And it should also be carefully fed with complex chemical compounds, because too much fertilizing can harm the hymnocalycium.
Cactus transplantation is recommended to be implemented in March, while the new pot should be at least as large as the previous one. Plants can develop in any soil, but it is better to use slightly acidic. It is important that they let air through, have good drainage. You can prepare the soil with your own hands, it is not difficult. The following components will need to be prepared:
- seeded sand;
- expanded clay;
- ash from firewood.
All components must be present in equal proportions. It is important that there is no lime in the ground. It is permissible to transplant young plants once every 12 months. Adult cacti withstand normal transplantation once every 24–36 months. The technology is as follows:
- the root system of the plant is thoroughly cleaned;
- it should be dried within 48 hours;
- the soil is prepared and also dried (lime is completely eliminated).
The cactus is resistant to attack by various pests, but the following risks are present:
- Do not water with cold or unfiltered water, especially if it has increased hardness;
- the soil should not contain alkaline compounds;
- damage to the stem must not be allowed.
Cactus can be propagated using seeds. Layers also practice reproduction, but the first method allows you to grow more resistant and hardy plants. A substrate with a fine structure is used. It is recommended that you disinfect it, for this it is put in the oven and heated for a while. After that, the cactus is planted in a small vessel. The best temperature for development is no more than +20 degrees.
You can plant seeds at any time of the year, the main thing is that the correct conditions for growth are maintained. After 12 months, the seedlings grow, they are placed in a large container.
Reproduction by lateral branches is also used. Technologically, this method is not difficult. The main thing is to “dismantle” the cuttings from the main stem, then they should be dried a little and only then installed in the ground. Detach the lateral process is not difficult, it does not have a root system. Germination of the layering, its rooting in good soil occurs in a short time. Sometimes the layering has a root system, in which case the plant is carefully scooped out of the ground and transplanted into another container.
Plants that germinate from seeds are more resistant and hardy. At the beginning of planting, a shallow container should be prepared in which soil with small fractions will be present. Be sure to disinfect the mixture before starting work, baking in the oven. Seeds scatter neatly on the surface of the soil, which should have an average degree of moisture. Then they are slightly covered with soil. All work is recommended to be done at a temperature below + 18– + 22 degrees. If everything happened according to the rules, then the shoots will germinate in a week and a half. Such operations can be performed year-round in compliance with the appropriate regime. After 12 months, the cactus is planted in a separate container.
There is also a vegetative propagation method. Typically, plants shoot in large numbers lateral shoots during a period of rapid development (they are called "children"). The shoot is cut off, placed in another container. A reliable support is made for the handle. After a short time, the plant will take root. From November to February, it is recommended to use another light source.
Sometimes the cactus also lets out the lateral processes, in which case they are transplanted neatly. Under such circumstances, "baby" can be installed in the ground almost immediately.
See how the hymnocalicium multiplies in children, see the next video.
Diseases and Pests
A flat red tick is dangerous for gimnocalyciums, because sometimes it eats cacti when there is no more suitable food. Ticks are so small that you can only see them with a powerful magnifier. But the traces of their activities are clearly visible - there are long rusty stains. The gymnocalycium can become ill only at a young age, when the resistant qualities have not yet fully manifested. The stems are washed with warm water, then treated with alcohol.
For domestic plants, chemical formulations should be used in case of emergency.
The powdery mealybug sometimes annoys cacti - this is a worm of microscopic size. It mainly affects the stems, in a short period of time it can suck all the juices, and the cactus can die. You can see these creatures on the edges of the leaves, they are pinkish in color, and around them there is a white layer of cobweb. When a mealybug appears, plant growth stops, flowering also disappears. The mealybug “loves” all kinds of cacti indiscriminately, while the roots and stems are affected. To disinfect a plant, it should be washed, then sprayed, wiped with insecticidal compounds.
The most common ailment is root rot. The disease is dangerous because it spreads quickly in soil with a high moisture content. The treatment of the plant is as follows: the affected areas of the root system are cut off, washed with warm water, and dried. Disinfection is done using crushed activated carbon. Then the cactus should be transplanted into another container.