Sunday, January 28, 2007

Botanical Name - What's it???

For myself, I don't pay attention to the botanical name too much. Firstly, I love my plant because of its characteristic, but not its name or spicy. Secondly, some botanical names come from Latin or Greek language which is difficult for me to remember. However, I then realize that the botanical name is important when you talk with another people about your cacti selection. Besides, such name can descibe the originial root of the plant. From these reasons, it is reasonable to study more about the Botanical name.

A botanical name is a formal scientific name conforming to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). The purpose of formal name is to have a single name that is accepted and used worldwide for a particular plant or plant group. For an example, the botanical name Bellis perennis is used worldwide for a plant species, which is native to and has a history of many centuries use in most of the countries of Europe and the Middle East, where it has accumulated various names in the many languages of that area. Later it has been introduced worldwide, bringing it into contact with languages on all continents. English names for this plant species include daisy, common daisy, lawndaisy, etc.

The usefulness of botanical names is limited by the fact that taxonomic groups are not fixed in size; a taxon may have a varying circumscription. The group that a particular botanical name refers to can be quite small according to some people and quite big according to others. This will depend on taxonomic viewpoint or taxonomic system. The botanical name itself is fixed by a type, the size and placement of the taxon it applies to is set by a taxonomist. Some botanical names refer to groups that are very stable Depending on rank, botanical names may be in one part (genus and above), two parts (species and above, but below the rank of genus) or three parts (below the rank of species) For example:

Family: Cactaceae

Genus : Echinocactus


Its common name is Golden Barrel. Normally, the genus and species name is often mentioned and concerned. Moreover, I'd suggest you an useful website to learn about the botanical name's pronunciation: Plantapalm

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Let decorate your garden with hanging succulent & cacti

Normally, we put cactus and succulent on floor. This way may consume your garden space and not be suitable for person who lives in an apartment. Today, I also suggest an interesting solution to you: put the plant into a hanging basket or pot. You can hang it on the wall or fence according to your creativity or design. It can let your cactus and succulent look more attractive, make your garden more beautiful and save your garden space.

However, when you hang the pot, please make sure it is in the balance. And here are some samples of hanging pot/deck as for your guide line.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Saguaro - Largest Cactus in USA

The Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is the largest cactus in the USA, commonly reaching a height of 12 metres and an age of up to 200 years. It is one of the most characteristic plants of the Sonoran Desert, but actually has a quite limited geographical range, centred on southern Arizona and extending into western Sonora (Mexico). The saguaro is the state flower of Arizona. The skin is smooth and waxy, the trunk and stems have stout, 2-inch spines clustered on their ribs. When water is absorbed , the outer pulp of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion, increasing the diameter of the stem and, in this way, can increase its weight by up to a ton. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old Saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.

The Saguaro has a surprisingly shallow root system , considering its great height and weight. It is supported by a tap root that is only a pad about 3 feet long, as well as numerous stout roots no deeper than a foot. More smaller roots run radially to a distance equal to the height of the Saguaro. These roots wrap about rocks providing adequate anchorage from winds across the rocky bajadas.


The slow growth and great capacity of the Saguaro to store water allow it to flower every year, regardless of rainfall. The night-blooming flowers, about 3 inches wide, have many creamy-white petals around a tube about 4 inches long. Like most cactus, the buds appear on the southeastern exposure of stem tips, and flowers may completely encircle stems in a good year. For many years it has been assumed that bats are the major pollinators of saguaros, because the flowers have all the features characteristic of bat pollination - nocturnal opening of the buds (although they remain open through to midday), heavy scent, copious nectar, etc. However, studies in which individual flowers were caged to exclude different types of pollinators in either night or daytime suggest that bees may be the more important pollinators.

The 3-inch, oval, green fruit ripens just before the fall rainy season, splitting open to reveal the bright-red, pulpy flesh which all desert creatures seem to relish. This fruit was an especially important food source to Native Americans of the region who used the flesh, seeds and juice. Seeds from the Saguaro fruit are prolific -- as many as 4,000 to a single fruit -- probably the largest number per flower of any desert cactus.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus has some common names: holliday cacti, Thanksgiving cactus, East cactus. It is one of the most famous plant as many people take it as a holliday gift. And then there will be a following question from receiver: how I can take care of it, how to keep the blossom longer and get it to re-bloom in the next year. The answers for those question are as following:
  • To keep the blossom of Christmas cactus longer, you should place it in cooler temperatures and a well-lit location away from drafts from heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Drafts and temperature extremes can cause the flower buds to drop from the plant before they have a chance to open.

  • The soil should be evenly moist for best growth, but they are intolerant to constantly wet soil and poor aeration like their relatives. If outdoors, an established plant may only need to be watered every two or three days in warm, sunny weather; or every week in cool, cloudy weather.

  • Keep your plants in a sunny location indoors. Plants can be moved outdoors in summer, but keep them in a shady or semi-shady location. Leaves may start to turn a bit red if exposed to excessive light. When it's time to bring the plants back inside in the fall, slowly adjust the plants to life indoors by gradually increasing the number of hours they spend indoors each day.

  • Christmas cactus will bloom if given long uninterrupted dark periods, about 12 hours each night. Begin the dark treatments in about mid-October to have plants in full bloom by the holidays. You can place the plants in a dark closet from about 8 P.M. - 8 A.M. each night for 6-8 weeks or until you see buds forming. Christmas cacti will also bloom if they are subjected to cool temperatures of about 50 to 55 degrees F, eliminating the need for the dark treatments. Plants should be blooming for the holidays if cool treatments are started by early November

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Fertilizer for Your Cactus

Fertilizer is one of nescessary things to grow up the cactus and succulent. There are two normal method of fertilizer. Firstly, you can use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer in the early spring. A 5-10-5 compound works best. Mix it in with the soil and it will feed the cacti all summer. You can add the new fertilizer every 6-7 months or when you repot the plant. The quantity to put in each time is up to the size of pot. Normally, it's 1% of the soil in the pot.

Another method is to use a water-soluble cactus fertilizer. It is same as one used with the orchid. You just mix the fertilizer at 1/2 tablespoon per gallon of water. With this method you fertilize every two weeks during the growing season. You should do it every two weeks. It will be good and helpful for your plant.

In the dormant period (November throughout March), do not fertilize at all because at that time, cactus and succulent stops to grow up and don't need any fertilizer at all.

Both of fertilizer types can be found in the garden shop or nursery. You can ask the seller to give you the recommendation.