From the Digest

Plant Care

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Chelinidea vittiger (Cactus Bug) Infestation

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By Jolie Krupnik – This summer in my cold-hardy cactus garden, I noticed flat, white spots on some of the Opuntia humifusa pads, but ignored the signs the plants were in distress. A few months later, I lifted the pads and discovered a multitude of what I now know are Chelinidea vittiger or “cactus bugs.” I am not an expert on these destructive insects, but in my Google searching, I discovered that they only feed …

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Legal Addiction: Growing Adeniums From Seed

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By Pat Cosgrove – HSCSS member Tracy Vymola gave up smoking several years ago. Little did she know that she would be trading one addiction for another: She is now a self-described seedaholic. Although she had been collecting cacti and succulents for years, she found that growing succulents from seed was relaxing and …

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Grafting Cacti

By Eric Driskill – The writings of both Aristotle and Theophrastus demonstrated knowledge of grafting techniques and benefits. Aristotle wrote: “Some trees come into existence by being planted, some from seeds, others spontaneously. Those which are planted are separated either from the root, the stem, the branches or the seed, …

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Fungus Gnats

By Barbara Rengers – This year, I’ve been having problems with fungus gnats. Is this from the area in which I live, the mix I purchased or something else I’ve done? I’m not sure, but I am sure that I will be going after them vigorously. Fungus gnats are little hopping bugs you see when you water. They have black or gray bodies …

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Drainage – Bajadas

By Joe Merkelbach – One of the primary concerns in successfully growing cacti and succulents is providing rapid drainage of water. We generally accomplish this goal in culture with coarse-grained mixtures of growing media – whether perlite, dynarock, rice hulls or other components. These send water through the root zone …

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Seasonal Shift – Plan Before Moving Plants Outdoors

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By David Wolfe – “Plants are like people,” Mike Hellmann said in his March 2008 meeting handout. “They don’t always respond well to sudden changes and new situations.” But patience and planning can help limit problems as Midwestern cactus and succulent owners move their plants outside for spring. In “Acclimating Your …

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Fungus Gnats

By Joe Merkelbach – Fungus gnats are more nuisances than actual threats to houseplants, including cacti and succulents. The small, 1/16- to 1/4-inch, dark insects with black to gray wings are members of the order Diptera and the family Scairidae. They have an affinity for houseplant media, a short life cycle and an omnivorous …

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