Monday, December 22, 2008

New Year Party at Cactus Farm

Yesterday, I joined the New Year party with my friends who love cacti & succulent like me. There were about 60 people.

The party was 2 cactus farms near Bangkok. Both of them stayed very close and 3rd-generation owner. They got the farm as heritage from their family.

Here is the link to his website : I can confirm you will get beautiful, healthy and rare cactus.

In the party, people took their top cacti collection to sell and auction for the charity such ariocarpus imported from Japan, colorful haworthia or A. 3 ribs variegata.

Meanwhile, there was the charity lotto. The prizes were great cactus. Many people spent a lot of money to get the prizes. I got a yellow aloevara

Anyway, I bought the sharp knife from the old man in the party. He made it himself. The knife is made of stainless and its hilt is made from the local timber. So the knife is really sharp and strong for grafting or cutting plants according to my friend who ever used it before. Its price is really cheap : $8.

If anyone wants it, please feel free to contact me. I want to support him because he is retiree and good handicraft man.

You can see more photos of the party, cactus collection and nursery on the left side.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I hate you - Pests on my cacti!

The pest and disease always visit your cacti & succulent without the invitation. In this year, I lost about 5-8 cactus for pests. I hate them so much and they inspired me to write this article. I think most people should feel like me, too when you look the pests damage your fat, green cacti.

It is said by experts that Healthy Soil can prevent about 80 percent of insect damage. Healthy soil breeds healthy plants that are better able to resist pests. If your plant pot has ant nest, get rid of it. It may look cruel but it's good for your plants because ants always bring pests to your plants according my experience.

I use the nim/neem oil mixed with plain water to spray once a week to prevent any pests. It's biological and safe to any animal or human.

The pesticide or insecticides are always my last choice to kill pests. Many pesticides are harmful to people, and though they do kill pests, they also kill soil nutrients and beneficial insects. If you must spray something on your plants, start with plain water—it will kill some insects and force off many others.

Here are the common pests for cacti & succulent:

Mealy Bugs:

These are white/gray insects about 0.1 inches in length. These bugs consume the cactus sap and reproduce rapidly by laying their eggs underneath a cotton-like covering. Mealy bugs are covered with these white spots and sticky texture. You will find these pests on the stem or spines of the plant. If left untreated, the cactus will stop growing, take on a sticky appearance, and begin to shrivel.

Non-chemical treatment:

  • Physically remove these bugs by using external objects such as fingernails, scrub brushes, tweezers, and/or water pressure.
  • Apply rubbing alcohol onto the insects by using a cotton swab. Rubbing alcohol will dissolve the waxy coat and kill the mealy bugs.
  • Mixing the dish washing liquid with water in the ratio of 1: 50. Best time to spray the mixed water on mealy bugs is the evening. If you do in another time, the solution will burn leaves

  • Use systemic or contact insecticides such as malathion and dimethodate to control widespread mealy bugs. Weekly applications of malathion or dimethodate are recommended to prevent recurring mealy bug attacks.
  • For root mealy bugs, remove the cactus from the pot, rinse off all white spots and soil with lukewarm water. Then, allow the plant to dry. After the plant has dried, you can repot the cactus in a well-drained, fresh cactus mix.
Red Spider Mite:

Mites are small, reddish insects less than 0.2 mm long. Red spider mites may also appear as brown dots or red pepper on young growth.Found on the top of the plant, these mites begin as pale yellowish spots and later turn rusty brown. Without treatment, these red spider miters lead to scarring and sometimes webbing on the plants

Non-Chemical Treatment:

The reddish-brown mites thrive in hot dry conditions, yet dislike humid conditions. Acting as a preventive measure and cure, overhead watering and spraying plants may reduce mite attacks. In addition, increase the humidity to prevent further attacks of mites.


Aphids are small, soft-bodied, slow-moving insects that suck fluids from plants. Aphids come in many colors, ranging from green to brown to black, and they may have wings. They attack a wide range of plant species causing stunting, deformed leaves and buds. They can transmit harmful plant viruses with their piercing/sucking mouthparts. Aphids, generally, are merely a nuisance, since it takes many of them to cause serious plant damage. However aphids do produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface growth called sooty mold.

Aphids can increase quickly in numbers and each female can produce up to 250 live nymphs in the course of a month without mating. Aphids often appear when the environment changes - spring & fall. They're often massed at the tips of branches feeding on succulent tissue. Aphids are attracted to the color yellow and will often hitchhike on yellow clothing.


Spraying with most insecticides is usually effective. A repeat treatment may be applied after a few days.


Apply miticide for widespread red spider mite problems. You can also use an all-purpose bug killer called “Rose and Flower Insect Killer,” which can help eliminate mite problems.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Smiling Moon

Tonight, there was an astronomy event in my country: Smiling Moon.

It happened when Venus and Jupiter stayed near each another under the moon. They were like this for several hours.

Many people think it's a good sign from the moon (as there is the political conflict in Thiland now) In their thought, the moon and the stars gave the support to them.

For me, it looked beautiful and happened rarely.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Care for Cactus in Winter

Now, the winter is coming. Somewhere, the temperature can be below 34F so what will we do to keep the cactus survive the tough winter? There are the good advices:

1. To survive winters, cacti need loose soil and excellent drainage. Unlike other Garden plants, the challenge in growing cacti is the elimination of excess moisture. Sun exposure and drainage requirements can be met by placing cacti on a sunny hill or raised bed, and using ample gravel or sand mixed with a small amount of organic matter. A thin mulch of stone chips or gravel reduces the risk of crown rot.

2. Cacti naturally reduce their moisture content and shrivel with the onset of winter. This dehydration prevents cactus cells from bursting when they freeze. Excess moisture during autumn months can cause cacti to hold too much water and suffer freeze damage. Don't mulch cacti for winter protection, as you do with other plants.

3. Most cacti change color in the winter. This natural occurrence doesn't mean plants are sick. As plants become less active and the amount of green chlorophyll decreases, red, orange, and other color pigments show through the pads or stems.

4. Please check that your cactus are winter-hardy type. If they are not and you don't have a greenhouse or can't move them into your house, you should purchase a large amount of frost cloth from your local nursery to cover all frost sensitive cacti and succulents. If you are not sure what to cover, it is best to be safe by covering all of your succulents and thin skinned cacti such as cerus monstrauss, cerus puruvians, etc. Listen to the weather forecast at night and cover your cacti anytime temperatures will be under 40? F

Though it is true that most desert cacti aren’t winter hardy, a number of different species will survive in cooler areas. They include species of ball cactus, barrel cactus, prickly pear, and other kinds of Opuntias.

5. In winter, water plants very infrequently - about once every 3 to 5 weeks. It's the cacti nature to rest and stop growing in winter: dormancy So it doesn't need water much, otherwise, it'll be rot.

6. Although the cacti will have dormancy in the winter, it need still the proper light. Cacti should be kept cool and dry to stop them turning a funny shape.

You don't have to worry about exactly when they stop growing, just make sure the pots have dried out before it gets too cold and dark for them to ever dry out. You absolutely don't want a plant to be sitting in wet soil for 4 months because it doesn't need the water and the pot won't dry out by evaporation.

In spring, watch out for plants which have lost their roots, they may be loose in the pots and will have to be given time just like a cutting. Many more will have lost all their fine feeder roots, which is a natural reaction to drought, and they should be watered cautiously once or twice before completely drenching the pot.

You can find more information from It's the good source about cactus & succulent.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Ariocarpus fissuratus is a species of extremely slow growing cacti aound in rare numbers in Mexico and the southern. Commonly called "living rocks," these cacti usually blend in well with the terrain around them. They are greyish-green in color, sometimes taking on a yellowish tint with age.

These cac

ti consist of many small tubercles growing from a large tap root. They are usually solitary, rarely giving rise to side shoots from old areoles. These cacti are difficult to spot in their natural

 habitat. When they are found, it is usually due to their pinkish flowers

In cultivation, Ariocarpus fissuratus is often grafted to a faster growing columnar cactus to speed growth, as they would generally take at least a decade to reach maturity on their own. They require very little water and fertilizer, a good amount of light, and a loose sandy soil with good drainage.

Growth Habits: Solitary, grows extremely slowly to 8 inches in diameter (20 cm)

Watering Needs: Little to no water in winter, little in summer, needs good drainage

Cultural Practices:
The Ariocarpus are rare slow growing cacti, a 6 inches in diameter mature specimen might be 20 years old. For 

many years the large mature specimens were collected in the wild, practice that has been severely limited by the new regulations, either in Mexico or in international trade. They are not adapted as house plants as they need a lot of sun and careful watering. The large taproot needs enough room to grow, which complicates the good 

drainage requirement, since the deeper the pot, the slower it drains.

The center growing part is sensitive to mealybugs attacks. Since this part is woolly, mealy bugs can be difficult to notice. The plant should be treated as 

soon as mealybugs are noticed.

Blooming Habits:

The Ariocarpus fissuratus has large, diurnal, 1.5 inches in diameter (4 cm), pale to deep pink satin flowers in mid summer, followed by fruit buried in the wool.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The most common Rose Diseases

Rose is the queen of flowers. It is gorgeous and wonderful but is one of weakest plants, too. Rose is always damaged by diseases and pests. And if you have rose in your garden, here is the information you should know.

Common rose diseases vary by area, as the fungi which cause many of them are affected by temperature and moisture. Some of the most common rose diseases are Black Spot Disease, Powdery Mildew, Rust, and Rose Mosaic.

While rose diseases do not always kill rose plants, they often affect the leaves and make it more difficult for the rose to survive in the winter. Step-by-step sowing instructions:

Black Spot Disease

This disease, as its name implies, appears as black spots on the upper surfaces of the rose’s leaves. It is caused by a fungus, which is allowed to propagate in moisture, which can come from rain or watering over the leaves instead of down at the soil. It can also be caught from other diseased plants, as the fungus can spread through fallen leaves, or even through composting of diseased leaves and stems. It causes most diseased leaves to drop off early, but survives through the winter on any leaves that manage to stay on the rose. It can also survive through the winter on the stem.


This disease is not harmful at low levels, merely causing small orange growths on the underside of leaves. At higher levels, leaves begin to be damaged, which can damage the plant since the leaves are the part of the plant that produces energy.

Powdery Mildew

This disease is different from other common rose diseases, as Powdery Mildew does not need water. This growth, which resembles a white powder, occurs on the top and bottoms of leaves and on stems. In the summer, if roses are free of any fungi caused disease, Powdery Mildew can simply be hosed off of affected roses and thus, can be easy to take care of.

Rose Mosaic

This viral disease does not kill plants. Many rose gardeners do not need to deal with this disease, as all it does it cause splotches, often yellow and green, to appear on leaves.
There are many other rose diseases, and which ones are the most common in each area changes depending on the weather in that area. Ask for free gardening advice from neighbors, friends, and fellow rose growers, or pick up one of the many books available on growing roses.

To avoid getting rose disease, start by buying disease free plants from the garden supply store. There are also many disease resistant variants of roses, which while still susceptible to disease, are at least less likely to become diseased.

Once a plant is diseased, there are many gardening tips available as to how to deal with these. An easy gardening tip is simply to prune away the affected areas.

Be careful not to leave any diseased leaves on the ground, and don’t put the diseased leaves and stems into compost, as compost does not always reach the temperature need to kill the fungi, and when the compost is used, the fungi will spread to the roses again. To help prevent reoccurrence of the disease, or an occurrence of any other disease, keep the rose beds clean. Clear away fallen leaves and pull any weeds.

These common rose diseases should not be too much of a gardening problem for any rose gardener, as, with early detection, they can easily be destroyed without the death of the entire rose bush and garden.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

10 Most Easy-to-Grow Vegetables

You hear a lot of talk these days about how good vegetables are for you. The daily allowance is of five portions of fruit and veg today. But it costs a lot to buy fruit and veg at the supermarket. Despite all the guff about supermarkets being low cost places they still charge a lot for vegetables. It is not uncommon for a couple of lettuces to set you back over $1. You can get veg much cheaper if you go down to the market, but it can be out very cost effective to grow your own.
The following is a top 10 list of easy-to-grow vegetables and their recommended varieties.
1. Carrot. Plant seeds several times throughout the growing season, early spring into fall for a continuous harvest. Soil should be loose and deep. Varieties: ‘Nantes,’ ‘Chantenay,’ ‘Touchon,’ ‘Short n’ Sweet’.

2. Cucumber. Wait until warm weather to plant seeds. Varieties: ‘Sweet Success,’ ‘Fanfare,’ ‘Lemon’.

3. Green Beans. Plant seeds after frost danger. Bush types are easier to manage, but pole types are more productive in an equal space (because they’re taller). Varieties: ‘Blue Lake,’ ‘Contender,’, ‘Kentucky Wonder’.

4. Lettuce. Plant seeds as soon as soil can be worked -- hot weather ruins the plants. Varieties: ‘Black Seeded Simpson,’ ‘Buttercrunch,’ ‘Deer Tongue,’ ‘Nevada’.

5 Onion. Timing the planting of seeds or the miniature onion bulbs called sets can be tricky. Also consider mail-order onion seedlings. Check locally for availability.

6. Peas. Sow seeds early in spring as soon as you can work the soil. Varieties: ‘Alderman,’ ‘Sugar Snap,’ ‘Oregon Trail,’ ‘Super Sugar Mel’.

7. Radish. Sow seeds during the short, cool days of spring and fall. During these times, radishes are perhaps the easiest and fastest vegetable to grow. Varieties: ‘Cherry Belle’, ‘White Icicle,’ ‘Scarlet Globe’.

8. Summer Squash. Sow seeds after weather warms up. Grow bush types to save space. Varieties: ‘Sunburst,’ ‘Yellow Crookneck,’ ‘Scallopini’.

9. Sweet Pepper. Plant seedlings in warm weather along with tomatoes. Varieties: ‘Bell Boy,’ ‘California Wonder,’ ‘Sweet Banana,’ ‘Gypsy’.

10. Tomato. Set out seedlings after the air and soil have warmed up. Tomatoes come in countless varieties; among the best: ‘Celebrity,’ ‘Big Rainbow,’ ‘Brandywine,’ and ‘Enchantment’.

Tomatoes are one of those rare plants that actually benefit if seedlings are planted deeper than they grew in the nursery pot. Plants will be more anchored and sturdier, and roots will develop along the buried portion of the stem. Pinch off lower leaves once you plant.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Birthday Flower

Most people have heard of Birthstones, well the following list is of Birth flowers.

Flower: Carnation, Snowdrop

Flower: Primrose, Violet

Flower: Jonquil, Violet

Flower: Daisy, Sweet Pea

Flower: Hawthorn, Lily of the Valley

Flower: Honeysuckle, Rose

Flower: Larkspur, Water Lily

Flower: Gladiolus, Poppy

Flower: Aster, Morning Glory

Flower: Calendula, Cosmos

Flower: Chrysanthemum

Flower: Holly, Narcissus, Poinsettia

Friday, February 15, 2008

Disease of Cactus and Succulent


The main diseases of cacti and succulent plants are due to various fungal and bacterial rots.

In general healthy, growing plants are quite able to resist infections with these. However they commonly occur as a secondary effect of other problems such as attack by insects pests, physical damage leaving exposed plant tissue or incorrect growing conditions. The single biggest cause is probably fungal rots entering via dead roots caused by poor root aeration.

The best way of avoiding these problems is to provide conditions which prevent their development, i.e., a healthy pest free environment. If they occur and are spotted early it may be possible to save the plant by cutting away all the diseased tissue with a clean knife.

In particular look for discoloured vascular tissue which may be red or brown and penetrate some way into otherwise healthy tissue. The knife should be cleaned with alcohol to prevent spreading fungal spores. It may be beneficial to dust the cut surfaces with flowers of sulphur.

Fungicidal chemicals can be used to give some protection but this should only be tried as a last result since they are not effective against the whole range of different rot producing fungi. Young cactus and succulent seedlings are particularly prone to 'damping off' which is a fungal attack. This can be partially controlled by copper fungicides. The other frequently mentioned chemical for this purpose, "chinosol", is suspected of causing some damage to the seedlings and is not recommended.

Deficiency diseases

The other group of diseases affecting succulent plants are caused by soil deficiencies of various minerals. This may not simply be that the soil does not contain the required elements but that they are not available due to the soil become too alkaline from build-up of salts from minerals contained in the water which is used for the plants. It is useful to know how alkaline your local water is, and if necessary take steps to correct this by adding suitable acid.

Unless you are a chemist and have the necessary knowledge it is inadvisable to use strong mineral acids for this purpose. It is possible to use citric acid or acetic acid (vinegar) but the favourite remedy is potassium dihydrogen phosphate which also supplies useful elements. If your local rainwater is sufficiently clean then this is the best way to avoid this problem.

It is more likely that deficiency diseases will shown up in peat based rather than soil based composts. If a plants looks chlorotic or refuses to grow properly it is worth trying fresh compost to see if this solves the problem. If locally available soils are know to have particular deficiency problems it may be worth adding appropriate supplements.