L'Echinopsis it is commonly called a succulent plant even if in truth it is not. It also happens to many other kinds of plants that belong to the Cactaceae family and that show particularly rounded shapes. Truly one should speak of succulent plant, because it has lymph, juice, in its own tissue, and not what one might call fat.
In the genus we can find many different species but almost all coming from South America. Some used to flat and desert areas, others instead to undergrowth, always arid. The Cactaceae they are plants totally devoid of branches and flowers and this also applies to those that belong to this genus. We can describe them as thorny pillows.
The leaves of these plants are in fact the thorns and there are several that cover the entire surface of the globular stem, very often elongated and with longitudinal grooves. The thorns, which arise from small protuberances arranged in tufts reminiscent of a star, they are nothing more than the result of an evolution that these plants have made to resist in the climatic conditions in which they found themselves living. They had to find a way to reduce transpiration to a minimum in order to be able to retain the water that they could store inside even in an always arid environment.
In summer even these seemingly shy plants bloom producing gods very large flowers which can range from white to pink, fragrant and very difficult to miss. They pop out from the third year of life of the plant onwards, where there are areoles, unfortunately they only last a couple of days, closing at night, but when one disappears, another appears, and so on throughout the summer.
Just because a plant shows us its thorns doesn't mean you want to be overlooked. Plants like these indeed have every right to be treated with a lot of care and love. It takes a few minutes a week, but it's important to know what to do for them.
Let's start placing them in a place where they can enjoy lots of light, even if directly hit by sunlight, in any season of the year. It is usually better for them to stay south and not north. In winter they cannot stay in the cold, it is better that the temperature does not drop steadily below 10 ° C, even if for a few hours it can resist even 7 ° C. In spring and, even more so, in summer, we have to keep them between 15 ° C and 24 ° C.
Let us not get caught up in enthusiasm, wetting these plants too often, which in fact need water only when their soil is completely dry. Let's wet them carefully because it is very important that there is no stagnation, when in doubt, we never overdo it with water.
Without fear of stinging us, let's remember to repot these plants, every now and then, so that they do not sit tight in their jars. However, its roots do not take up much space in the ground because they develop mainly on the surface. This happens because, accustomed to living in arid environments, these plants look for some moisture and nourishment in the surface soil. To understand when it's time to carry out the "painful" repotting operation, you need to be able to notice when the plant stops growing or slows down noticeably.
At this point we can take the plant from its current pot and analyze it status of its roots going to cut the blackened or greyish ones with washed and sterilized scissors. In the new pot we must put a specific compost for Cactaceae in addition to coarse sand or perlite in the measure of 2: 1
Another important moment for Echinopsis is that of the fertilization that must be carried out from spring through the summer, once a month, to completely suspend in autumn when the plant goes into vegetative rest. Usually a liquid fertilizer is used to be diluted in the irrigation water, equally balanced in Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
If we carefully follow the cultivation instructions, then we can expect abundant and colorful flowering from the beginning to the end of summer. At the apex of the stem, or a little to the side, these bloom large typical flowers of the genus, in the shape of a bellflower or trumpet. Let's enjoy them, because they last a couple of days and are only open during the day.
Multiplication can take place by division of the basal shoots or by seed. If we opt for the second method, we must know that we must expect surprises because genetics can play tricks on us. In the case of multiplication by basal shoots, we must take them from the mother plant and then repot them immediately without watering for about a couple of weeks, so that there is no danger of rot.
THE basal shoots they are nothing more than those small plants that sprout at the base, in fact, of the mother plant, and are to be removed with a very sharp knife.
The main species are the following: E. Eyriesii; E. Ancistrophora; E. Bridgesii; E. Leucantha; E. Mamillosa; E. Tubiflora; E. Melanopotamica; E. Mirabilis; E. Obrepanda; E. Huascha; E. Minuana; E. Multiplex; E. Oxygona; E. Pachanoi; E. Shaferi; E. Silvestrii; E. Subdenudata; E. Tapecuana; E. Calochora, E. Turbinata; E. Vallegrandensis; E. Tubiflora.
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