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Beginner Gardening Questions: Top dressing

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Forum: Beginner Gardening QuestionsReplies: 13, Views: 69
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Kbh69

Kbh69
Andrews, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 26, 2013
12:24 PM

Post #9641967

Hi there! To clean up the appearance of my cacti and succulents, I would like to add pea gravel to the top soil. For those that "sucker," should I avoid this? Thanks ahead!
Kiley
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 28, 2013
4:11 PM

Post #9644209

As long as you don't put it too thick, or close to the crown, it's fine. Aquarium gravel is a good one, such pretty little rocks, smaller than pea gravel too I think. The 'brown mix' looks fairly natural but quite attractive, IMHO.

Thumbnail by purpleinopp
Click the image for an enlarged view.

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 28, 2013
11:49 PM

Post #9644448

I agree with Purpleinopp, I have to grow my cacti indoors as we have the wrong temps and too much rain here in UK BUT I can set them outside in the months July / August, this helps harden off some of the woody stems and helps retain the green colour too. I do dress mine with small pea gravel simply because I have so many plants in pots and also I have to add it to the soil to help with drainage for these plants, I find the lovely coloured top dressing too artificial looking and it is also costs a good bit more for such small packets I cant see the sense in trying to keep topping up the top dressing, anyway I have large bags of the pea gravel to hand as I like it for other plants like some bulbs at the bottom of the planting hole so the bulbs don't sit in too wet soil over winter.

It's all a matter of taste, cost, and where you sit the plants, I know some friends who love the coloured stuff but they only have a couple of plants and that's fine too, none are better than the other you are just looking at appearance's, also you have to match or co-ordinate the colour of your plant with the pot AND the top dressing so maybe you have the time for all that, at this time of year I do have more pressing jobs and having the the pea gravel to hand suits me but maybe not someone else.
Good luck and you can always change the colour IF you don't like it.
WeeNel.

Kbh69

Kbh69
Andrews, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 29, 2013
6:22 AM

Post #9644581

As always, I really appreciate the new perspective! I never really thought about using colored gravel. Maybe my daughter might not mind me putting all my beauties on her window sill if she can choose the colors! She has some wonderful morning sun in her room I try to take advantage of without taking over her space. Fun!

Thanks also for the info. About the suckering guys. I want to be sure to keep them happy. Seeing pups come up is more than half the fun!

Autumn is creeping upon us! Peace~
Kiley
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 29, 2013
10:16 AM

Post #9644845

Sorry Kbh69, I forgot about the babies you wanted info about, What I do is, while re-potting I hold the cacti parent in a bit of folded paper to prevent any damage to plant especially fleshy plants and also protects you IF there are little spines ? prickles on the plant as some of those stick into your fingers AND believe me, are difficult to remove. anyway once you gently BUT hold firmly the parent plant,tilt the plant on it's side (Still in your hand) and see IF there is any stem/ bulbish growth or root, depending on the cacti your growing) IF there is enough stem on the baby, take sharp knife and remove it carefully, leave the baby on paper for a day or two to dry the cut end IF it's a fleshy plant, if woody stem, replant into the same soil mix as the parents, several can be planted in the same pot regardless of what type of cacti and you would care for them the same way as the parent, keep in bright light NOT direct sun light, and eventually you can grow on in the same type of light and conditions as parent.
Hope this help you out a bit and good luck. WeeNel.

Kbh69

Kbh69
Andrews, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 30, 2013
6:49 AM

Post #9645648

Purpleinop, what does IMHO mean?

Took a second, closer look at your plant bed. Really nice! My daughter is on me to buy her a little Beaucareana for her room. Her hair frequents pony tails, so I think it appropriate! Seeing yours was just the SIGN I needed. Yea...like I need a reason to buy a plant. ;)
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 30, 2013
2:23 PM

Post #9646085

mean's In My Honest Oppinion, I think LOL.
WeeNel.
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 30, 2013
3:22 PM

Post #9646135

Yes, thanks, Nel ;)

I just got that little ponytail palm at WM, one near you might have some too. Just tell her not to fondle the leave from tip toward soil, that can cause it to bite. Fondling in the other direction, no problem.

And yes, I like the more fabricated colors of aquarium gravel too. At some point, some of these plants will outgrow this setup, so will get their own larger pots. When I get to that phase with them, I'm planning to use some wilder colors. Pink, purple & blue would match the plants well. Do they do green gravel?

DH likes to find rocks that look like some of the little 'living rock' plants and put them next to the plants. I love his sense of humor about the plants, I can get too serious sometimes.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 30, 2013
3:56 PM

Post #9646169

Too Serious Purple, never, not gardening folks ha, ha, ha, were all very relaxed BUT just you look at my plants the wrong way and your dead, in fact IF you don't look at my plants your dead, so what's seriousness got to do with it LOL,
Were all a bit weird when it comes to our plants ha, ha, ha.
Have a good day purple and have fun.
Best regards, WeeNel.

Kbh69

Kbh69
Andrews, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 31, 2013
10:22 AM

Post #9646760

WeeNel knows how serious I can get!! I can ruminate and analyze myself into paralization! Luckily her kind words and no fuss common sense cuts through my self-imposed mental firestorm. Just yesterday, upon her advice, I went to the library and got some books written in laymans terms to learn more. All the scientific information I crave is useless if I don't have the basics down pat!

As my TWEEN would say, "WeeNel, You Rock!" :)
Thanks.
Kiley
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 31, 2013
12:04 PM

Post #9646833

That's awesome, the basic are timeless. I gave a stack of gardening books I never look at anymore to a friend recently. Hope the pretty pics inspire her to get her hands dirty more, I think she would enjoy it. Our library has a sad selection of gardening books, not worth a 2nd visit for that, I have a better reference section. The internet keeps me busy and informed though, not a problem.

Love the pic that goes with your name, BTW. I think I'd have a prickly plant if it was that purple one.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

August 31, 2013
2:27 PM

Post #9646947

I think you must have met my double somewhere Kbh69, my kids would not use the term "I rock" but then what would they know eh!!!! Lol.

Just dont put the panic hat on again, relax, you'll learn more if you do and look at it this way, everyone looses a plant or two now and again and this year I lost a lot of veg, the winter carried right on till April then got a few days sun and then freezing cold again, mu poor garden never knew if it was coming or going, so please never beat yourself up about plants not performing as they should, it's not always OUR fault believe me.
Have a fun time with what's left of the summer over your way, and when the weather is too cold or the plants have gone to sleep for winter, read your books, send away for some plant / bulb catalogues and curl up in front of the fire with a hot drink, these catalogues are full of ideas, hints and tips and boy, do they ever send your bank balance into zero, but reading about plants is still gardening. ha, ha, ha.
Take good care and best regards.
WeeNel.

Kbh69

Kbh69
Andrews, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 1, 2013
10:19 AM

Post #9647650

Thanks for the compliment on the Optunia violacea var. Santa-Rita (no caps). It is one I would really love to have but wouldn't get to enjoy the beautiful coloration too often. This variety only gets to show off when it is really cold and stays cold for a while. Nothing stranger than seeing snow on purple cacti! In my dreams for now. I will get one in the next year. Bigger fish to fry at the moment!

Town of 10 thousand in the middle of oil country in West Texas has a pretty decent 5 shelves on gardening. It is well-rounded too. Somthing for everybody.

Where is Opp?

WeeNel, I make stained glass art during the winter. Curious... Between the cactus spines and the shards of glass, one would wonder what my proclivity for sharp objects was all about.
:)
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

September 2, 2013
8:11 AM

Post #9648456

Well that would be cool, only seen snow once since moving here in '07! I don't think it would be happy here but I do see some plain green ones around 'town.'

Opp is due north of Destin, FL, about 70 miles. (Yes, the middle of nowhere, the exact location of the fabled wooly swamp is a well-kept secret but I'm sure it's nearby...)

I would love to get into stained glass. It's just so small in here, where would I do it? If you have some pics, I'd love to see them. (Put a plant next to, so you don't feel too off-topic?, but your own thread so prob OK - LOL!)

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