Tuesday 25 June 2013


When I first started growing cacti, over 50 years ago, if a plant needed to be re-potted I simply used soil from the garden. As a child I lived on the banks of a river and the soil could not have been too bad as on the opposite bank there was a nursery, although subsequently a furniture warehouse was built on the site.  

Another possibility came to light following a visit to my local library where I borrowed a book on cacti and succulents. I was reminded about this recently as I obtained a copy of that book.

The recommended compost mixture did not contain any imports from Japan but was made up as follows (by bulk):-

1/4 good fibrous loam
1/4 very course sand
1/4 well decayed leaf mould
1/8 crushed brick 
1/8 ground or crushed charcoal (to help keep the compost sweet)

The author did anticipate there could be some problem in obtaining some of the items and advised that if leaf mould was not available granulated horticultural peat sold by every bulb shop could be substituted. Should crushed bricks not be available crushed oyster shell or tennis court dressing could be substituted. Unfortunately oysters never seemed to appear on the teatime menu and we did not have a tennis court. 

Clearly no problem was anticipated in obtaining ground or crushed charcoal and no guide was given as to what the consistency of crushed brick or oyster shell should be.

PS. The nursery left behind a vast quantity of old clay pots which now would be much sought after

PPS. Whitstable beach is a source of oyster shells

Saturday 22 June 2013


Succulents from seed. Square 2 inch pot Faucaria felina sown in 2012 and pricked out in 2013. In the round 2 inch pot Cheiridopsis denticulata sown in 2013.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Mesembs. Growing Outside

These Mesembs. grow in a stone sink and survive frost and snow. Not all Mesembs. will survive outside but no problem with Delosperma.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Flowering Conophytums

Conophytum chrisocruxum

Most Conophytum's flower in the Autumn, but here is C.chrisocruxum flowering in June from what appears to be a dormant state with this years body still covered by last years dead skin. This plant is growing in a 2 inch pot and has only received a misting of water since winter when full watering stopped.