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Author Topic: Other Alpine Cacti  (Read 9759 times)

Kristl Walek

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Other Alpine Cacti
« 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.

so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
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Lesley Cox

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #1 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.......
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

iann

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #2 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.
near Manchester,  NW England, UK

Maggi Young

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #3 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?
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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iann

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #4 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.
near Manchester,  NW England, UK

iann

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #5 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.
near Manchester,  NW England, UK

Kristl Walek

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #6 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)...
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
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Kristl Walek

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #7 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...
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
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Lesley Cox

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #8 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.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

ranunculus

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #9 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.
Cliff Booker
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Lesley Cox

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #10 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. 
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

johnw

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #11 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
John in coastal Nova Scotia

Maggi Young

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #12 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
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 11:32:28 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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johnw

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #13 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




John in coastal Nova Scotia

Kristl Walek

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Re: Other Alpine Cacti
« Reply #14 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.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 01:34:14 AM by Kristl Walek »
so many species....so little time

Kristl Walek
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