Cactus gardens - a mini desert on your desk

To create miniature cactus gardens you need a porous potting mix, suitable heavy containers and either heavy gloves or some sort of tool to handle the prickly cactus.

Simple metal or wooden tongs work well, or you can fold a newspaper into a strip about 1" wide and long enough to wrap around the cactus and leave two tails to grab as a handle for moving the plant around.

Any container can hold a cactus garden but the shallow containers seem to work best for the smaller specimens. Although plastic containers will work, the heavier clay or ceramic have more eye appeal.

cactus gardens - cacti dish

desktop cactus garden
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Cactus gardens are meant to be seen and admired close up, so choose either an ornamental or neutral container. For soil, use special "cactus mixes" sold in online garden suppliers or mix equal parts potting soil and builder's sand or perlite.

The coarser the material is, the better the drainage. This is the most important point to remember when creating cacti gardens. Of course you need the star of the show, cacti.

Small cacti can be found in almost any garden center or florist shops or ordered from specialty cactus garden suppliers. Some cacti have other cacti grafted onto them, and range from the exotic to the extra-terrestrial looking.

Think about these or graft your own cacti to take your cactus garden a notch above the ordinary. Once you've gathered the container, plants and soil, you're ready to start.

It's good to get an idea of the layout before actually starting to plant. If the container is going to be viewed from the front, taller plants go in the back.

Or you could put tall plants in the center and work outward, placing small species at the edge and letting trailing ones spill over the rim of the pot. Once you've put the cacti in place and gently tamped the soil around them, add a top dressing of pebbles. This layer is usually about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and is more than just cosmetic.

The loose stone allows air circulation while providing additional support for the shallow rooted plants. As odd as it might seem, don't water your garden for at least a week after planting. This gives the roots a chance to adjust.

Some folks only water their cactus garden when the weather has reported rain in Tuscon, Arizona. As cacti gardens go, a dish with a few examples and some pebbles can be kind of boring.

So if you want to be a little more creative with your cactus garden you can add bright pebbles or marbles, simulate water using a small mirror, add drift wood, small ceramic animals, tiny rodent skulls if you happen to find some or other decorative tidbits. If you have chosen to use grafted cacti, maybe a "crashed" model space ship will be just the thing!

Christmas Cactus Learn how to grow and take care of a Christmas cactus! Christmas cacti requires special care in order produce blooms.

How to grow cactus gardens indoors Cacti are among the most fascinating groups of house plants. Everyone should have a chance to grow their own cacti or succulents.

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