Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Beauty can be a heavy burden—just ask this cactus

It's that time of year when the echinopsis in the front yard go into flower. We only have a few, but they're still quite a sight.

In the past, the flowers opened successively, prolonging the show (each flower lasts only a day, two at the most). This year, though, this Johnson's hybrid has six (!) flowers open at the same time:


It's a stunning spectacle!

However, something is not quite right with the perspective:


Can you guess?

Because of all these large flowers, the stem got top-heavy. And because of gravity, that irksome force of nature, this is what happened:


All this beauty is—literally—too much to bear.



This particular cactus has seen its share of abuse by yours truly. It was stuck in a shallow bowl for a number of years. It got watered very sporadically, causing it to grow in fits and starts instead of evenly. After I put it in the ground, it bulked up quite quickly. As a result, all the new growth is beefier, and hence heavier, than the relatively thin growth at the base. Scarring from earlier sun damage probably doesn't help.


For now, I've tied it to a rebar stake nearby:


I'll leave it like this for a few weeks to see if it can hold itself upright after the flowers have dropped off. If not, I'll simply cut off the stem above the first stricture (level with the top of the rock in the photo above) and replant it.

13 comments:

  1. It's a pretty thing and definitely deserves a little pampering.

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    1. Good thing I have a soft spot for plants that need a little extra TLC!

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  2. all that floppy stuff is so frustrating ! I've had some good results this year with pro-active staking. I'm really trying to deal with this stuff early -I know who the culprits are so there is no excuse.

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    1. I honestly didn't see this coming. Goes to show that plants ALWAYS do what they want!

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  3. What a show! I hope that after the fireworks, it's able to stand up on its own.

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  4. Do you have it in full sun? I really need to put mine in the ground but I'm unsure about how much sun they should get.

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    1. Yes, it's in full sun.

      I have seen plenty of echinopsis that are in shade, and they flower just as well. In fact, I've been told to keep them out of the afternoon sun.

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  5. I think that the multiple flowers also cause the plants to lose moisture at a greater rate than normal, contributing to the temporary floppiness. Giving heavy blooming echinopsis an extra drink of water seems to help with recovery.

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    Replies
    1. Brad, that's a great point! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you for your suggestion.

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