Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cereus Business

One of my favorite pics this past year from my garden.  There's a dragon fruit in the background on this vine like cereus.  It was a hot and balmy summer night.
Most of the time, this cactus thrives in the garden.  The images you see on these posts were taken from my garden over the course of the year.  They come in all shapes and sizes, and all produce some incredibly beautiful flowers that open at night! Tomorrow I'm going to write a post on "Moonlight Gardens for the Desert" which includes these magnificent cacti.  However, I'm writing this post primarily because of a theory I have on this plant which suffered extreme frost damage during our severe freeze.  This plant took the biggest hit and many of these plants look terrible(or just plain dead) around Tucson.  I'll share my theories on what you should do with this plant and what it has done in the past when severe freezes hit Tucson.
It opens early in the morning and attracts many local bats and insects.
I saw neighbors ripping them out of the ground.  If you love this plant, DON'T!  Most of the time, this cactus is perfection in the desert and a popular choice for people's landscape.  Here are some tips that I've personally used with Cereus Cactus after a crippling frost.  1.  If the tops of the cactus are limp, flopped over, orange, frost burned, etc, cut that part off from the healthy segment.  ALWAYS cut at the segment.  You can also transplant segments into the ground in our warm spring for a new plant. Let it sit out for a week before putting into the ground.  Newer limbs will form like they did on the picture below. This will also create a larger plant down the road so prune off the dead parts at the segment when temps warm up.  2.  If the whole cactus is shot, meaning that it ALL collapsed or folded over, wait until spring to see if any newer cactus pop up from the root system.  If it does happen, wait until the new clones have grown a bit before removing the dead parts.  While the plant may have been fried, the root system might be okay.  Don't make quick decisions....wait and see what happens first before taking action. 
This is an easy plant to grow in the landscape.  This is my banner pic from El Presidio Gardens on the Las Aventuras Blog.  During a rare snowstorm back in 2007, the cactus died back.  I cut off the dead limbs in spring and this cactus doubled in size.  Wear gloves and cross your fingers.  Hope is not lost.  I hope these tips prepare you before our March 15th date to prune and trim up plants around your property. Stay tuned for some tips on Moonlight Gardens and March Gardening.  Spring brings life again and also a lot more work.....stay tuned for many more postings from the El Presidio Gardens.

1 comment:

Thanks for stopping by!