Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cactus Abuse

Don't buy your cacti from places that do this:


Yeah, that's about half an inch (1 cm) of water standing in the bottom of a plastic tray that apparently has no drainage holes in it. I've seen the same trays at Home Depot before. I do not understand why anybody thinks this is a good idea. I mean, for fuck's sakes, they're cacti -- they'd need to be watered eventually, but if they have to wait two or three weeks to get it, it's not going to kill them. And not watering at all would be kinder than making them stand in water.

I expect there's a logical reason for this, but I don't care what it is. Don't buy cacti if they're standing in water at the store. It's the only way they'll learn.


13 comments:

Claude said...

Those shipping/display trays are really really awful aren't they? I think they're specifically designed to activate our "OMG I have to RESCUE that POOR PLANT!" insinct.

I file this under the Evil WalMart Conspiracy theory.

w said...

Which brings up a question:

Why are the perennials dried and ready to smoke?

Emily said...

My Home Depot will rot the roots off every ponytail palm, most before I've even seen them twice. Noticing the ones over 1' of trunk really hurts. But they usually don't drown their cacti, luckily. (My supermarket does that.)

I hsve decided a plant that's survived at my Home Depot is encouraging since it'll be prepared for and perhaps even thankful for my less than stellar growing conditions.

Liza said...

Plant murderers.

mr_subjunctive said...

The sad part is, this is a smallish, independently-owned garden center who really ought to know better than this, not a big box store.

Paul said...

that is pretty pathetic for a garden center.

does anybody the type of cacti of the one in the foreground of that picture? i just got one not long ago with no id. its creamy stripes are really cool.

cconz said...

I've noticed lots of neglect, places will get plants in and they haven't a clue on how to take care of them. Makes me wonder how much gets tossed at the end of the season.

Rainforest Gardener said...

I see that all the time, and unfortunately once they dry out shoppers have no way of knowing that their new purchases will soon die of rot.

Water Roots said...

Very, very sad. I see this all the time at garden centers. And the scene is alwasy: cactus plants sitting in water and drowning...right next to the tropicals that are totally dehydrated.

Lynne said...

I'm almost scared to say this in case I get a virtual hand smack... But....for about thirty years I have been forcing my indoor succulents to flower by watering every day for a week and then with-holding water totally. Works like a charm, any time of year. I can't remember which plantperson friend told me to do this, but the reasoning was that it mimicked the plant's wet season in their natural environment; this being the time when they would be prompted to flower.

mr_subjunctive said...

Paul:

I don't know the species precisely, but a lot of columnar cacti do that, at least under some conditions. My taller Cereus peruvianus don't, but the small ones do, and I just bought a Pilosocereus pachycladus that has striping like that. If you really want to try to nail it down more closely, I recently ran across the site columnar-cacti.org, which has a lot of pictures of . . . what you'd expect it to have pictures of.

Also, the color rubs off; it's just bloom, not the color of the actual stem.

Lynne:

Well, if they're not dying as a result, then I suppose you're doing it right. It depends a lot on which succulents (Lithops have that sort of natural weather cycle, as would a lot of other stuff from the same part of South Africa.), and how much water, and whether or not they're in non-draining containers.

I mean, obviously we're going to have to watch you more closely from here on out. But no smacking, virtual or otherwise.

Thomas said...

Really, what would it take to punch a couple of holes in the bottom?

And that empty pot w/ the crusty lime deposit is a nice touch.

....the survivors treading water - someone says "Where's Daphne?" - shot of an empty lifejacket...

peter said...

The cactus in front looks like a baby Myrtillocactus geometrizans, but I am viewing this on my phone so the photo is pretty small.