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Cultivation notes


- BASIC MIX (suitable for the majority of cacti and other succulents)
- 3 parts of field or garden soil with some sand or tuff;
- 2 parts of humus (leaf mould or soil for acid-loving plants);
- 5 parts of non-calcareous grit (about the same size as rice grains) that might be improved adding lapillus, pumice or pozzolan (diameter of about 2-4 mm/0.8-1.6 in); avoid dust-like particles that might clog.
Those who cannot easily obtain garden soil might use another basic formula:
- 1 part of leaf mould or soil for acid-loving plants such as Azaleas or Rhododendrons;
- 1 part of volcanic lapillus (lava), 2-4 mm (0.8-1.6 in) in diameter, otherwise use pumice or pozzolan, possibly mixed;
- 1 part of non-calcareous grit (diameter of about 2-4 mm/0.8-1.6 in);

The best leaf mould is obtained from beech. As for grits, crushed quartz, granite, basalt, gneiss or slate are recommended; it is also possible to mix sand used as an abrasive material for sandblasters. Avoid sand utilized in the preparation of concrete or mortar. A simple test can determine whether your sand or grit contains calcium: pour a few drops of muriatic acid over a sample of the material; if a chemical reaction occurs the element is present and the material should be discarded.
- Add 0,5% of bone meal plus 1% of a complete fertilizer (7-14-21).
- Add to basic mix 0,5% of lime (such as crushed oyster shells) for Astrophytum, Ariocarpus, Cephalocereus, Leuchtenbergia, Gymnocactus, Obregonia, Thelocactus, Turbinicarpus, Ancistrocactus, Grandulicactus, Neolloydia, Agave stricta, Agave leucheguilla, Epithelantha, Euphorbia, Mammillaria candida and other Mammillarias with white spination.

- 1 part of cultivated garden soil;
- 1 part of leaf mould;
- 5 parts of non-calcareous sand, possibly mixed with lapillus and/or pumice (about 2-4 mm/0.8-1.6 inches in diameter);
Suitable for Mesembryanthemums, Melocactus, Discocactus, Opuntias.
Alternative Mineral Mix
- 1 part of commercial mix for cacti;
- 1 part of pumice;
- 1 part of lapillus;
- 1 part of sand.

- 2 parts of leaf mould;
- 1 part of peat;
- 2 parts of sand (2-4 mm/0.8-1.6 in).
For Asclepiadacee, epiphytes and climbers: (Epiphyllum, Schlumbergera, Rhipsalis, Selenicereus, Aporocactus, Heliocereus Aporophyllum, Hylocereus, Epicatus, Dischidia, Nopalxochia)

- PLANTS GROWING ON QUARTZ: Argyroderma, Dintheranthus, Discocactus buenekeri.
- PLANTS GROWING ON CHALK: Turbinicarpus laui, Aztekium ritterii, Geohintonia mexicana.

- Start watering plants inside the greenhouse, with caution, in March (or even February if the glasshouse is positioned in a favoured site), providing the temperature is at least 15°C (59°F) and new growth has already appeared; cacti that show signs of water stress need to be watered as well. If plants are situated outdoors in mild areas, wait until April before watering. Afterwards increase the frequency of waterings, always allowing the potful of soil to dry out in between. During spells of hot weather simply spray your plants in the evening hours. Water only a couple of times in September and stop by the end of October or mid-November ( or when the mean night temperature is around 8°C/46°F).

- PLANTS THAT BENEFIT FROM WINTER SPRAYING: Aloe, Argyroderma, Cheiridopsis, Conophytum, Othonna, Jacobsenia, Tylecodon, Monilaria, Euphorbia, Hatiora, Opthalmophyllum, Kalanchoe, Epiphytes, Asclepiadaceae, Brachystelma, Caralluma, Ceropegia, Fockea, Huernia, Stapelia.

- DO NOT WATER IN THE WINTER: generally all Cactaceae, Aloinopsis, Bergeranthus, Faucaria, Hereroa, Nananthus, Rabiea, Rinephyllum, Stomatium, Titanopsis, Trichodiadema.
- WATER OCCASIONALLY IN THE SUMMER AND MODERATELY IN THE WINTER (autumn/winter-growing plants with summer dormancy); 12 hours of light at 5000 lux:
Pelargoniums, some Aloes, some Haworthias, Crassula, Dudleya, Marah, Othonna, Sarcocaulon, Cotyledon, Greenovia, Tylecodon, many Mesembryanthemums: Conophytum, Gibbaeum, Argyroderma (quartz-loving), Frithia, Dactylopsis, Monilaria, Fenestraria, Aeoniums of the Canary Islands, Dintheranthus (quartz-loving, difficult). 
- WATER IN THE WINTER AS WELL EVERY 20/30 DAYS (moderately depending on the temperature): Epiphyllum and other epiphytic and climbing cacti (allow them to rest for 6 weeks after flowering); Rhypsalis; Schlumbergera (Zygocactus); Aloe; Euphorbia (some of them); Kalanchoe, autumn/winter-growing succulents: Argyroderma, Cheiridopsis, Conophytum, Jacobsenia, Ophtalmophyllum.
- WATER SPARINGLY IN THE SUMMER, NEVER IN THE WINTERTIME: plants from Andean deserts like Browningia, Eulychnia, Copiapoa, Neoporteria, Pachypodium, as long as they are not overwintered inside a house.
- PLANTS THAT ENJOY FOG AND AIR MOISTURE: Borzicactus, Oroya, Tillandsia.

- DIFFUSE LIGHT AND LITTLE WATER (desert plants): Adromiscus, Aeonium (tabulaeformis included), Aloe, Ceropegia, Crassula, Echeveria, Euphorbia, Gasteria, Graptopetalum, Haworthia, Huernia, Kalanchoe, Monadenium, Sedum, Stapelia.
- FILTERED SUMMER SUNLIGHT (cover with 40% shade factor net; warm and humid conditions for epiphytic cacti with aerial roots): Aporocactus, Aporophyllum, Ceropegia, Disocactus, Epiphyllum, Harrisia, Heliocereus, Hylocereus, Lepismium, Rhipsalis, Schumbergera, Selenicereus, Senecio rowlejanus, some Euphorbias, Stapelia, Haworthia, some Rebutias, Gasteria, Harrisia, Melocactus, caudiciforms.

- PLANTS THAT SUFFER EXCESS HEAT: Matucana, Submatucana (both from Chile).

- PLANTS WITH SUMMER DORMANCY: Christmas cacti, some Rhipsalis, Mammillaria plumosa, Neoporteria wagenkektii, Testudinaria, Sarcocaulon, some Mesembryanthemums: Argyroderma, Cheiridopsis, Conophytum, Fenestraria, Monilaria, Frithia, some Gibbaeums, Marah, Duddleya, Greenovia.
- SUMMER-GROWING PLANTS: Ruschia acaule, Faucaria, Glottiphyllum, Bergeranthus, Nananthus, Aloinopsis, Cheiridopsis.

These plants have vigorous growth if put outside in summer; overwinter indoors at +6°C (43°F) or so. Aptenia, Carpobrotus, Delosperma, Disphyma, Dorotheanthus, Drosanthemum, Erepsia, Lampranthus, Oscularia.
These stemless succulents grow from spring to autumn and must be kept dry in the wintertime; provide direct light all year round. They tolerate occasional light frosts to as low as –2°C (28°F) with a few exceptions, as shown on "Wintertime" page.
Acrodon, Aloinopsis –12°, Bergeranthus, Carruanthus, Chasmatophyllum, Faucaria, Frithia +10°, Hereroa, some Lithops >5° Machairophyllum, Marlothistella, Mestoklema, Mossia >5°, Nananthus –25°, Orthopterum >5°, Pleiospilos–7°, Rabiea –23°, Rhinephyllum –12°, Rhombophyllum, Scopelogena, Stomatium –12°, Titanopsis –12°, Trichodiadema.
Plants in this group grow from late summer until winter, enjoy misty conditions and a little amount of water during the winter as well as direct light. In spring and summer they do well if partially shaded and sprayed with water while dormant. They can withstand minimums down to –2°C (28°F) with some exceptions (see "Wintertime" page). Sowing: min. night temp: 5° (41°F), max. day temp.: 20° (68°F); 11 hours of light.
Antimima, Argyroderma, Cheiridopsis, Conophytum >8°, Dicrocaulon, Diplosoma, Jacobsenia, some Lithops, Mesembryanthemum >5°, Mitrophyllum >5°, Monilaria, Oophytum >5°, Othonna, Ophthalmophyllum, Tylecodon.
A group of plants from regions characterised by scarce and erratic precipitation. There is no specific period of growth although it usually reaches its height during the autumn and winter months and sometimes continues into early spring. They can tolerate minimums as low as -2°C (28°F) though there are a few exceptions, as shown on  "Wintertime" page.
Antegibbaeum, Aridaria, Astridia, Bijlia, Cephalophyllum, Cylindrophyllum, Didymaotus, Dintheranthus, Dracophylus, Drosanthemopsis, Eberlantia, Fenestraria >5°, Gibbaeum 8°, Glottiphyllum, Herreanthus, Juttadinteria, Lapidaria, some Lithops, Malephora, Namaquanthus >5°, Namibia, Nelia >5°, Odonthophorus, Ruschianthus, Scheletium, Schwantesia, Sphalmanthus, Tanquana, Vanheerdia –12°, Wooleya.

Pediocactus, Sclerocactus, Escobaria, Austrocactus, Toumeya, Yucca glauca, Opuntia macrorhiza, O. erinacea, O. polyacantha.
During the wintertime the above species can be exposed to freezing conditions at night and low temperatures in the daytime provided they stay dry most of the time. In the spring provide a cool environment and water daily to keep them moist. Water thoroughly but only occasionally in the summer but keep dry for the most part. In the autumn they need cool temperatures and light, infrequent waterings.

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