Scottish Rock Garden Club Forum

Specific Families and Genera => Cacti and Succulents => Topic started by: Kristl Walek on February 24, 2008, 09:54:01 PM

Title: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on February 24, 2008, 09:54:01 PM
There are a dozen or so other species and forms of other tiny barrel cactus I can grow here in the north- they fall predominantly in the genera of Escobaria, Echinocereus and Pediocactus.

Of these, Pediocactus is the most moisture tolerant (as it is native to the coast of western North America) and would probably be successful in the UK. It is my earliest flowering small cactus- often in bloom, like a typical alpine, as soon as the snow melts.

Here are some representative flowers.

Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Lesley Cox on March 05, 2008, 01:31:47 AM
These are lovely flowers and with those little barrel or cushion shapes, are crying out to be grown as "alpines," but.......
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: iann on March 26, 2008, 11:48:33 PM
Lovely plants you have there in the frozen north.  Contrary to your expectations, Pediocactus are considered amongst the most difficult cacti to grow in the UK.  They are usually seen grafted as they rot very easily on their own roots.  I am currently attempting to grow several of them on their own roots in various conditions starting with the easier species, as I have some ideas about why they are so picky.  Lack of light are humidity are usually given as the reasons, but don't entirely convince me that these plants which are so tolerant of sitting encased in ice or wallowing in snowmelt should die in England.  Few UK growers can give them the sort of cold they would get in habitat, most keep their entire cactus collection well above freezing all winter, and this may be part of the problem.  Standard cactus treatment in England is also not to water them until danger of frost is past, probably the opposite of what most Pediocactus want.  Then they are watered progressively more as summer heats up, while Pediocactus just want to sit out the summer high and dry.

Here is Pediocactus simpsonii var indraianus after a winter down to -7C.  It has been watered several times already and is in full growth but still far from flowering.

The Escobarias are a little more tolerant of our conditions although some are not so hardy.  The Echinocereus species you show are all tolerant of the cold and moisture we get in winter here, with suitable drainage obviously, and it is possible to grow them outside year round as I do with a few species.  Of course they are prone to marking from the constant winter wet, slow growth from the lack of summer heat (and perhaps more critically spring heat), and flower late or not at all.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Maggi Young on March 27, 2008, 10:30:37 AM
Hi, iann! A warm welcome to you!
Great to hear from someone who is giving considered thought to the conditions needed by his plants. It'll be good to hear how your experiments progress.
 Whereabouts in England are you?
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: iann on April 01, 2008, 11:52:28 PM
Hi,

I'm just south of Manchester.  I have a few alpines, I like Daphne and Meconopsis.  I have a lot of cacti and growing the hardy alpine types saves on winter heating :)

Here's a different sort of alpine succulent that I know appears at alpine shows, Delosperma sphalmanthoides.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: iann on April 01, 2008, 11:53:56 PM
And one that I'm fairly sure isn't on many alpine benches.  Ectotropis alpina in a 2" pot.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on April 03, 2008, 03:19:07 PM
Iann, Thank you for your post on growing barrel cacti in the UK---and I was certainly surprised to hear what you said about Pediocactus- Of all the hardy barrel cacti, members of this genus are the only ones I would have believed could do well in the UK. The species native to drier areas don't fare as well for me (even though they are hardier and hate moisture more than the Pedio)...
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 10, 2008, 02:37:38 PM
and right on schedule, as usual, Pediocactus simpsonii, the first of the barrel cacti to come into bud, after having 3+ feet of heavy, wet snow on it most of winter and swimming for quite a while this spring....full bloom pictures will follow.

a fair amount of rot in my Escobaria viviparas, but none in the Pedio...
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Lesley Cox on May 11, 2008, 12:25:22 AM
Does anyone remember from many years ago, that amazing film, a Disney production I think, called "The Living Dessert?" That was my introduction to cacti and for a number of years I grew a number, which my mother hated but I adored. I don't grow them now but after the super pictures here, I'm just about regretting that.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: ranunculus on May 11, 2008, 08:30:36 AM
Does anyone remember from many years ago, that amazing film, a Disney production I think, called "The Living Dessert?"

Perhaps it was in Baked Alaska, Lesley?   :D  Sorry, I just could not resist!  Especially with the Pudsey Pig being imminent.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Lesley Cox on May 11, 2008, 10:13:54 PM
Oh dear, I stepped right into that one, didn't I? Meringue right up to my ankles. 
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: johnw on May 11, 2008, 10:46:34 PM
Kristl - Have you tried the South America species whose name ends in poepigii. Can't think of the genus for the life of me.

It's supposed to be very hardy.

We can manage some of the native Canadian cacti. They have quite an assortment in Truro , NS at the Rock Garden Society's display garden.

In the greenhouse I still have the remnants of a large cactus collection from my early 20's.

johnw
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Maggi Young on May 11, 2008, 11:30:15 PM
Kristl - Have you tried the South America species whose name ends in poepigii. Can't think of the genus for the life of me.

It's supposed to be very hardy.


Ah, yes! I know the one... we  grew it for several years in the alpine house, or lying outside it.... never "did" much.... it may even be lying about somewhere still ! Grew it from Pern and Watson seed ...... I cannot  remember the name either.... it was a very prickly little thing.. :-X

Got it! Maihuenia poeppigii
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: johnw on May 12, 2008, 01:51:12 AM
Maggi - How could I forget a name the rolls off the tongue like that?

Did you succeed with it outdoors?

As best I remember M. poeppigii was a clumper with rather indistinct bodies, much like one hairy Mammillaria (plumosa or multiceps) that I watered for years only to realize it was hollow and quite dead for probably as many years.

johnw




Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 16, 2008, 01:29:21 AM
Maggi and John,

Here it is for you---sign and all---and yes, it's outside in the same bed as the other small barrel cacti. Plant is only about 6 years old; but has survived at least two -35 to -40C winters in this rather vulnerable raised bed (3 feet high).

It has dark green, succulent leaves and very chubby stems which you can see in one of the pictures. An absolute dream to propagate, by taking off stems, and simply letting them heel.

What else is in this bed: various Lewisia, Orostachys, Rosularia, Yucca harrimaniae, Talinum calycinum, Delosperma, tiny Sedums at the edges.

Some of the barrel cacti are particularly endearing, especially the clumping furry ones like Escobaria leei; and the wonderful texture of the Orostachys spinosa is a joy.

The Pediocactus simpsonii is now open, as is the tiny P. knowltonii.

Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Maggi Young on May 16, 2008, 07:53:07 AM
Extraordinary how these little guys are flowering so soon after being covered in so much snow.... how many of us thought of cactus as snow-melt plants, eh? !!! ;)

In the first pic of the Oreostachys, is that an Ephedra in the background?
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on May 16, 2008, 02:27:44 PM
Yes, Maggi, it is Ephedra minima, which I have kept just to see it grow up finally and give me some of those wonderful red berries (which happened last year for the first time)---but it is way too aggressive and needs to come out of this bed before it eats up all my baby cacti...
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: ruweiss on May 27, 2008, 10:04:58 PM
My hardy Echinocereus-cactii enjoy the hot weather we now have in Southern Germany with
33C today. For most of the other alpines this means pure stress in spite of shading and thorough
watering.Some losses cannot be avoided,hope,that there will not be too many.

Echinocereus viridiflorus
 Echinocereus chloranthus
 Echinocereus reichenbachii v.albispinus
 Echinocereus coccineus v.roemeri
 Echinocereus polyacanthus
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Maggi Young on May 28, 2008, 08:08:39 PM
Rudi, lovely little cactus... especially the first green flowered and the last flower... such a different shape, isn't it?
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: ruweiss on May 29, 2008, 01:51:14 PM
Maggi,there are so many colours and forms among the cactii;collecting them can become the same
passion like Alpines,bulbs and other plants.
I must confess,that my main passion (madness) are still all the rockgarden plants.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 03, 2008, 12:26:23 PM
Rudi, here is my Echinocereus viridiflorus starting to bloom in the garden today. And a second clone is just slightly different.
Title: Re: Other Alpine Cacti
Post by: Kristl Walek on June 06, 2008, 02:06:40 AM
And today the clumping Escobaria leei and E. organensis started.
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