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Cactus aroud the house

    I told you I would make a post only about my cactus and succulents, so here they are, my family from my house. I don't have the photos of my father cactus and suculents, because it would be the double! He has cactus I believe with more than 10 years, 10 years in his house. My passion from cactus I do believe it comes from him. Since I was a child I'm used to see cactus everywhere, and try to touch the spines.
First things firts. What's the diference from cactus and succulents? The difference comes from which vocabulary you use. In horticulture they don't consider cactus as suculents. In botany, they consider. All cactus are susculents, but not all susculents are cactus. Succulents have leaves, cactus don't have leaves, they have spines that are higly changed leaves to minimize the loss of water from evaporation. For example, Aloe vera it's not a cactus but a succulent. In the end, they are plants that are higly specialize to storage water because normally the're typical habitat it's in dry places.
My outside cactus/succulents
This one it's old and had some disease
Jade plant Crassula ovata. I brought it from the Botanical Garden from Porto
This one I brought also from the Botanical Garden from Porto
I love this mushroom vase!
This hairy one it's my favorite! Can't see wait to see it big!
This cactus.... It's Tomas cinzentus
  These are plants that don't need to much care. That's why I don't consider myself no expert at all. It's quite easy to mantain them well. You just need to have atention to some details and that's all for you and for the cactus. Here are some notes I think are the essential:
    - soil: these plants don't like to much organic on their soil, and they like a soil with a lot of air. You need a soil that also stores water, so what it comes to your head when you think about a soil that lets flow a lot or air so the grains are big, don't have much organic in it and stores water? Clay and his cousins. There are a lot of opinions. Perlite, grit or even sand. What I use is 2/3 of sand and 1/3 of organic soil. The humus should be from earthworms casting because the pH it's higher, more alcalin, so i'ts better for cactus/succulents.
    - where to put: for me this is the important part because it's where it's going to define how much care will you need. If you want the plant to be outside, you will need to be carefull to seasons. When the cold seasons arrives with it's morning frosts, it's necessary that you put them in a place that don't catch to much cold, they need to be protected, but where they can catch some sun. If you want to put the plant inside the house, you won't need to be so carefull, only that it's in a place that the plant can catch some sun, but have also some shade.
    - plagues: be carefull for plagues like snails. They are horrible, they eat everything they can. But they are necessary in our world. So what I suggest it's first be with attention to little scratches in the cactus/succulents, and second put some grit like Leca, that turns the soil difficult to the snail pass through.
    - vase : put the cactus/succulent in a vase that have enough height for the roots and the new soil fit and enough width for the cactus/succulent grow. At least that you wont need to change for a year, minimum. Attention, when you transplant the cactus from one vase to another use gloves because the spines sometimes are hooked-shaped and are not easy to take off your fingers!
    - watering: this is of course depending on where it's the cactus/suculent, the season and the soil. If you have a good soil that stores well water, you won't need watering so much. If it's too much exposed to sun or to high temperatures the soil will dry faster so you have to watering more. I learned on the bonsai workshop a trick that's it's pretty handy in these case: put a toothpick in the soil all of it (like when you are seing in the cake it's already cooked), if it's somehow wet it's because the soil still have some water, otherwise it's because it's dry and needs some water.
   - fertilization: the sandy soil gives the plants some minerals to it's growth. I'm going to be honest, I never used fertilizer on my cactus/suculents. I want them to growth has they can using less chemicals as possible. But if you want you can go to a garden center or other shops that have plant products they have cactus fertilizer. The NPK (nitrogen, potassium and sodium) proportion should be 0-10-10. But if you don't find, what you need to have in mind it's to have low nitrogen (N). You see nitrogen it's used by plants for leaf growth, phosphorous it's used for root growth and potassium it's used for flower and fruit production (also learned on the bonsai workshop, for which the proportion it's way diferent), so has cactus don't have leaves, they don't use so much nitrogen. For succulents it's the same thing, because although they have leaves they don't use nitrogen so much. 
    - enjoy your cactus/succulent: exactly! They are beautiful, they have so many forms, and shapes. And don't need too much care has other plants. You can do beautiful beds with them, with material that you can catch on the beach like schists. They look gorgeous in so many vases. You can do so many combination. One thing I must say, try to know has must has you can about the species you have, because that can help a lot on what you need to do to keep them healthy. 
I think I have all written, probably I have forget something. If you have any question just ask!
Sofia G

Sou a Sofia Gonçalves. 29 anos. Curiosa sem fim, exploradora de livros, advogada de boa comida, gestora de estados ansioliticos, caçadora de sonhos, escriba escrava da palavras da minha cabeça, pajem dos meus animais.

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