HomeAbout Cactus Kate | Propagation | Soil | Potting | Mother | Myths | Flowers | Rooting | Photos | Forum | Contact
Forum years past � 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


Monday, December 11, 2006

I have a couple of questions since I am new to these beautiful plants; 1) Is it possible to split San Pedro logs horizontally, dry them out and then root them? ie; make two three-lobe half logs out of one six lobe log. 2) Can you artificially create the fan-form of San Pedro? Maybe score the bud in half with a scalpel/exacto knife before it begins to grow? Thanks....


Dear Mr. Plant Mutilator,

Dr. Frankenstein, as you may recall, was burned by the villagers for this experiment. But Igor well remembers when the Doctor split in half the milkmaid's baby saying he could give her back twins. But alas, both halves died and nothing we could do brought the cut-in-half-babies back to life.
As to your idea to mutilate the growth to make it a crested form...now you give Igor a great idea! Why not give San Pedro a nose ring? Or practice carving designs into the flesh so the plant has a surface like a tattoo? Remember when the whalers would carve on whale's teeth and bone? Scrimshaw they called it. Igor would enjoy that. Ah, to wield the scalpel again like the old days with Dr. Frankenstein.

Sincerely, Igor

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good night: Excellent website, your explanations are very informative and easy to follow. We have some cuttings, 72 and 98 centimeters, from a larger specimen. A t. peruvianus, we suposse, according to your photographic identificacion kit. How old must be the plant in order to have flowers?. Thanks. J. J. Spain.

Only mature columns flower.
New growth can take several years. From seed -- it may take 6-7 years.
But! Old, mature columns will flower sooner. Sometimes they flower the same year you cut & root them. They can flower after cutting -- before being planted.

They can flower before they have roots. Tips and column cuttings from mature (many years old) plants often flower the year you cut them or the next year.

Here are photos of two tips cut in 2006 that rooted spring--summer and then flowered simultaneously on October 23.

WEIRD PART! These two cuttings (photos 1 & 2) flowered on the same day; even though they came from plants 100 miles apart.
(photos 1 & 2--above and right) are from plants that were growing 100 miles apart. There is no way to tell if they were ever related (cut from the same mother). On the same day the huge, 45 year old, Grandmother plant (photo 3 below) flowered on the same day! She had not flowered in 2 years. All three plants had been living and growing 100 miles apart from each other.
(photo 3-- above) The 3rd plant that flowered on 10-23

So why would they all flower on October 23?
Were they all once from the same mother?

Monday, October 23, 2006

A UK nursery, (deleted) sells a tricho named Scopulicola. It is the most spineless form i have ever seen and grows reliably well. It is a much shorter spined form of pachanoi but always seems to retain a deep green colour. Is it a new hybrid?

Do a web search.
There are many members to the Trichocereus family.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I have a San Pedro about 9inches high and 3inches wide. I think it needs repotting. im not sure how to do this or where i should keep it. When is a good time to keep it outdoors?

Sorry--your questions are just too basic.
Plants are plants.
Learn to care for them.
San Pedro is just a plant.

August 14, 2006
I was wondering what caused a black ooze
to overcome the baby cactuses.  My friend has them in big ceramic pots and I�m telling him he needs the terra cotta pots like you�ve said�does it make a difference?  Any advice? G

What causes black ooze? (What is it?)
Disease is natures way of recycling unhealthy, sick plants. Nature's trying to tell you something
telling you a lot in fact! The wrong message is "What Ortho product do I buy?" The correct messages is"Try making your plants healthy."

Disease is disease.
Black ooze is some fungal infection (I suppose) like anthracnose, black spot, root rot, stem root...who cares what the exact, precise name is? What does knowing the name of it mean? You can buy a fungicide that treats all of these and thereby kill all the fungus in your soil. The trouble is that most microorganisms and fungi are beneficial. In an effort to kill off the "bad" one you end up with dead soil. Just dirt and roots without the symbiotic relationships with soil microbes that feed roots.

Stress...unhealthy something
�just like a sick human a sick plant can't fend off a common fungal disease. Fungus spores are everywhere. Healthy plants are not bothered by fungal diseases.

Stress from too much nitrogen, root damage caused during re-potting or dried out roots that are then over watered...etc. Too intense heat, or too intense sunlight....who knows what went wrong?

The bottom line is that you need to concentrate on creating healthy conditions. Hate to say this...but look to the organic stuff like kelp, fish emulsion, humic acid, Therm-X, etc. Expensive but amazing. When the roots are surrounded with all those microorganisms being fed with what they need �plants get stronger and have healthy immune systems to fend off all sort of diseases.

Go look at a forest. Are all the trees sick from disease? No. But the ones that are old, damaged from storms, were attacked by insects, etc. will be recycled by fungi and molds.

I've been an organic gardener for over 18 years. See my
page on soil on the website and go to the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply website. You may need these products to create a healthy soil and feed it so that it in turn feeds your plants.

I highly recommend:
� kelp (maxicrop)
� fish emulsion
� Therm X70 yucca extract
� Mycorrhizal root booster
� humic acid

I mix these in a bucket with water. (A dash of this, a splash of that�there is no "formula"). I use a hose end sprayer to folar feed my cactus in addition to watering their soil. The results? You would not believe it unless you experienced it for yourself. The plants get so happy they keep me awake at night partying.


PS I personally dislike Peaceful Valley Farm Supply based on years of suffering their inept "hippy" based, California "Politically correct" nonsense. In fact, I browse their catalog and then source the products elsewhere to insure better prices & professional service. They used to boast about having all "Mac" computers so obviously they believe that they are "good" and the rest of us on PCs are "bad." Or whatever.


Leaning Tower of San Pedro

Please send me a Peruvianus that is vertically straight if possible--the san pedro that I recieved is like the leaning tower, :|

Oh, that!
First keep in mind the San Pedro grows to be the size of a tree in clusters of columns. The current form is by no means a "blemish free statue".

1) If the entire plant leans, which they sometimes do while rooting--pull the entire root ball upward (by yanking on the lower part of the column) about an inch to loosen it from the pot. Then adjust the vertical angle and tamp down surrounding soil. Press it in hard so you have a vertical tip.

If only they could do that with the real leaning tower...

I have to straighten newly rooted plants like this all the time. The next time you have to straighten them out is when they are teenagers and start to experiment with girls, driving and alcohol.

2) The Torches are prone to weak necks and often, in nature, lay on the ground. The one you are getting has not been transplanted yet as shown in the website "how to repot" thing. You can either repot deeper, as I do, or/and use a pebble mulch.


In fact I use small rocks to keep them upright until I repot. Since repotting deeper means burying part of the stem, cactus people use pebbles and stones to make an inch high (or more) support layer that will not hold water on the stem as soil would do. In time the buried stem toughens as it stops making chlorophyll and accepts its lot in life as a stem.

Those are the tricks all cactus people have to do with plants. In the "wild" they form stiffer stems from wind, if no wind them tend to lay on the ground and the tips grow upward.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Once again I am turning to you for info as my cacti that I purchased from you and I intent to keep them that way. I am looking ahead to the winter months. Here in Ohio I of course have to bring them inside and I read on your site that no water is permitted during the winter and cooler temps are required for the dormant period. I have a cool basement (40-50 degrees F) but not much light. I know I'll have to purchase lighting so could you make some recommendations? Again Thank you so much for such an informative site.

I really can't help. My experience is limited to zone 9, growing outdoors. My potted specimens are left unheated in a cold frame. I might water lightly once a month in winter, but usually not needed because of the moist rainy season. You just don't want the roots to dehydrate in bone dry soil.

About watering; I have never said
"no water is permitted". How often do you water the lawn during the winter? Why? Right--it's winter!

Monday, July 10, 2006

i know from this site that san pedro is a zone 9 plant, and from looking at the map of the zones it shows that santa cruz, ca is in that zone, but i thought you're not supposed to water much during the winter or dormant season? does the plant take a natural course when planted in the earth or is there some method of restricting watering during the winter? thank you for all the great information!

Zone 9 is zone 9. Yes, the plant absolutely does
"take a natural course when planted in the earth". That is the point. As long as the roots are not in clay so heavy that there is no drainage at all...it will be fine. Trees, lawns, rose bushes, etc. all do fine because they "take a natural course when planted in the earth".

Friday, June 30, 2006

i am in the process of rooting a cutting, but i have noticed small amounts of black "goo" coming out of the tip of my cutting. i left it alone, untill today when i swabbed the goo off that i could with a Q-tip and used another q-tip to rub some isopropyl alcohol on the top. while doing so, i noticed that on only one of the ribs, at the tip, it was mushy. i rubbed some slcohol on it, and it released its contents: a little black goo along with some clear juice. im sorry i don't a picture of it, but do you have any suggestions from my description? thank you!

It is a bruise, similar to what a person gets. (scroll down to May 11)
Whomever sold you that cutting didn't take precautions to handle it gently, or you bruised it yourself. Plants have an immune system and heal their cuts & bruises all by themselves. Leave it alone. The only time you do surgery on a cutting is when it has rot that is spreading (like gangrene in a human) and you have to cut off a portion to save it.

Black marks, tip pimples, etc. are normal and of no consequence. Some people believe they are dangerous infected pustules that require intervention, or are caused by insects / and have insects living in them, etc. Its all nonsense!

All new growth tips are sensitive and will easily develop bruise (black marks) and exhibit tip pimples. Think for a moment -- your cutting is not a statue. These cuttings grow to be the size of trees in clusters of columns. Obsessing on blemishes during the infant stage is just that -- obsessing. Don't go there.

Date: Mon, 05 Jun 2006

The cutting has been sitting in the compost/perlite included for 11 days. I lifted it and discovered a white, cottony fungus (no doubt) emerging from the core area and the edge. In addition, a musty aroma, typically associated with fungal growth, is unmistakable. My reason for checking the cut end was not due to my tendency to be impatient. When the cutting arrived, the peach colored paper it was wrapped in had a few coin sized damp spots in the area of the cut. I presume I should cut the butt-end of this beast off and re-dry that area with a fan. I wanted to run this by you for your perusal. I suspect you will recommend I discard the growth media which is undoubtably contaminated with the fungus. Some spores are impossible to kill in a oven designed for baking bread and pizza. As always, I love the website, your plants and always appreciate your assistance. Cheers!!  
11 days?! A cutting does not germinate in a week or two as seeds do.
Cuttings root themselves if left alone. The simple steps outlined on this site have worked for me year after year. I do it the way I describe on this page: Rooting cuttings

My way is to trust in Nature and let her do her work in her own time.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Free to good home

I found a piece of my cactus in a driveway. I took it home and put in some dirt and sand mix. It started growing and years later, I can't even get it in my house anymore.

Does anyone know if you can leave them outside in the winter? If I can't it will eventually die but I've grown attached to it. If anyone would like to have it, I'll give it to a good home.

Free "driveway cactus" are a variety of "road kill cactus". I'm not surprised to hear you can't get into your house�rapid growth is an identifying aspect of both types. They are frost sensitive and only survive mild winters like the ones in northern Mexico where they originate. Good luck trying to give yours away; Mexican gardeners from California to Texas propagate them to generate business for their yard clean up crews.

Friday, May 26, 2006

...trying to get a nice san pedro cutting for a while now, and at a recent cactus show/sale i got a good sized foot long one. it was pretty dry when i got it, but i noticed some black on the bottom. it wasn't mushy, but i decided to re-cut it and let it dry anyway. on the cutting, i noticed a few sort of "bubbles" near the tip. two little ones are green, while a bigger one is black. it is not particularly soft/ mushy, and i was just wondering what it is.
Ask the seller you purchased it from. I did not sell it to you...and have never seen the cutting you refer to. My cuttings come with literature that includes a rooting tutorial, etc.

...i purchased some san pedro seeds from you on ebay a while ago. while they were germinating, they were flipped over. i decided to throw it away after i got only 2 seedlings (about 2 months later), ...

You must be confusing me with another seller because I do not sell seeds.

Friday, May 11, 2006

Infected bud!

This bud is oozing a black liquid! What should I do?
This happens, in my experience, when the cutting (or a live plant) is somehow injured. When I harvest tips each tip has to be kept from touching another one because the slightest puncture from a spine (thorn) will result in a tiny version of what I see on your bud (above). That black ooze that weeps out is similar to snot from your nose when you have a cold. When spines touch during harvest the result is something that looks like black heads or black pimples. It is a sub dermal infection localized to the point of injury only and does not spread.

� This black ooze generally stops and the whole thing heals up.
If you search down in this Forum page and previous years pages you will find several photos and discussions of this.
� The black ooze is NOT the same as the brown rot that spreads through the core and will kill an entire column.

1) You can do nothing and I bet that this will not spread but heal up. I have often seen this clear up like a common cold does in a human (common earthling).
2) I have performed surgery and cut out such areas--then sterilized with alcohol or sulfur. You end up with a healed hole. Without surgery I end up with a tan scar. I no longer do surgery except for brown rot.

*** My advice is to set the log in rooting mix soil in a place with bright light. Even without roots the cutting can photosynthesize since cactus open their pores (stoma) at night to suck in CO2 and H2O vapor. That way the cutting can make energy during the day from light (diffused or filtered sunlight). This will allow its own immune system to kick in and fight infection.

If I am wrong and the infection spread then simply snap the bud off and go ahead with rooting the log. It is only May and it has the whole summer ahead to root and grow more buds. That is what they do--grow more and more buds!

What to do with pups?
Saturday, May 20, 2006

I ordered and promptly received a beautiful san pedro log with 3 pups growing out of the top. I followed the instructions on your site and repotted it in soil I mixed per your instructions and placed into an 18 gallon container. This cactus has taken off! My dilema is: 2 of the pups are growing so close together that they are touching. I have placed a piece of cardboard between them to prevent damage to either one but my instince is to remove the larger pup (5 inches tall). However, the smaller pup (3 inches tall)is in the center and before long it will be touching the other 6 inch tall pup. I'll have to remove one of them to prevent injury to the others so the small, middle 3 inch pup seems the logical choice. Is it too small to survive on it's own once cut and dried or should I allow it to get a little bigger before I cut it off? BTW, Thanks so much for the great info you include on your website. It's the best I've ever seen.

It is hard, when you first get a San Pedro, to see it as a tree and not a statue. Leave it alone for a year and it will be twice the size it is now!

Don't worry about those tiny pups now, because they will someday be huge, thick, 10 foot long columns! This is a tree you are dealing with--not a statue.

Yes, you can trim pups but in the wild they work it out for themselves pretty much OK. Pups become columns that wants to grow shrub-like up to 10-12 feet tall in a few years. Cutting off any part will reduce the overall area that can photosynthesize--thus slowing down growth. I'd recommend letting it all grow out this year. Look at it next year and see if you really need to remove anything. Cutting small pups and offsets creates gaps, scars, etc.

You may want to consider letting your plant get much larger�then thin out tightly packed columns and root them into new plants. While you can root even a tiny pup (I've rooted tips only 2" long) it is slow since the cutting has so little energy to grow with. The larger the plant the faster it grows!

If you look at the base of mature plants you see that the pups came out close to each other. As they grew these new columns swelled and diverged just fine. Keep in mind that the entire base will grow larger and larger in diameter. What looks crowded at first will become a series of columns.

� To raise blemish free tips I slip flat stones between close tips to help them diverge.
� When I harvest tips I cut out ones in between others�thinning actually. It is common to thin plant stems. For large landscaping cacti you would trim out columns too close together just as you would train a fruit tree to 3 or 4 central leaders. You create more space and a better sculptured plant. But I'd advise you wait until your specimen is larger.

Cutting size?
hello, I have a quick question. if i cut this 20 inch piece in half will the 2 10 inch sections grow as fast and as big as it would if i left it as one single 20 inch section?

I have not done any controlled experiments, but have come to believe what you suspect--bigger cuttings will grow faster after they root.

I believe that the greater the physical size the more life force energy the cutting possesses to grow. If the cutting has nicely green flesh (not a lot of tan scars) with chlorophyll then it can photosynthesize more, too, thus producing growth energy.

* I have often rooted chunks just 4-6 inches long. So little size works as often as big size--but speed of growth after rooting is a different matter (as you asked about). Small ones do seem to grow slowly.
* The poster child log was about 18". It grew a tip that fattened to 18" the first year.

I am rooting a lot of huge cuttings this year--not cutting them up--because the speed and vigor of the poster child log inspired me to recreate that experience.

Bury that big log about 5-6" deep. That will leave a reasonable section above ground and be stable.

Alaska cactus growing
Thursday, April 20, 2006

I just recived an 18" rooted San pedro from a friend of mine. He was moving and didn't want to take it with him. I live in Alaska and since this is such an unusual enviroment for Cacti in general i have a few questions. First, my friend had the cactus planted in a 4" pot(seemed way to small to me), I decided to repot it as soon as he gave it to me because your website makes several mentions to root space for gowing plants. when i pulled it from its old container i noticed that it did have roots, but not what i would consider a full root system. I replanted it into a 8" terra cotta container with a potting soil, perlite mix (dry) and left it for a week. then after reading some more of your site i decided that since it has root it could have a little drink. so i watered it slightly. Anyway currentally i have it in an east facing window which recives 3-4 hours of light in the morning. Is this a good spot for it while i wait for more root to develop? Also the plant has a very light green tinge to it, not like the pictures on your website. is this something that will be fixed as the plant grows into its root? Last question, will san pedro respond okay to the verey long Photo period in Alaska? Currentally the days are 15hours long and getting longer. I plan to put the cactus into my greehouse when nightime temps consitantally stay above 45 deg at night. will this be okay for active growing? lastly the dormant period is going to be 6mo. will the cactus survive this? thanks for any help and great site!!!

My site is only about my experience growing in warm & sunny California. I believe you should find a cactus hobbyist in your region--Alaska--who can help you with these questions.

Keep cuttings in a box?
Hey, First I'd like to thank you for the fast shipping and quality product. Second, I was wondering what is the best way to preserve the cactus for 1-2 weeks. Right now I have it in the shipping box until I get the proper pot and soil substrate for it. Is this ok? to keep it in the box? I have it in my room, which is about 65-75F during the day. I read your info about keeping it in a warm area but I just want to get a answer straight from you.

Warm room yes but not humid. Not a room off the kitchen or shower. A dry room.
Get that cutting out of the box! Get it unwrapped! Being in the box is bad for it.

Customers who have left them in boxes for two weeks have had them mold over.

It will be fine in a 65-75 temp. room in shade for months as long as there is air circulation around it. In the box it can get mold, really!
I keep them on shelves in a cool, low light room for months A-OK.
No fan is necessary since the cut is dry.
But that is a big log (42 inches!)�I'd cut it in 3 or 4 pieces. Use a fan to dry the cuts then allow 2 weeks to heal. Then set in dry soil. DRY! not wet soil. OK?

You could easily start several cuttings from that monster. If you have access to rooting hormone you can paint the planting side after you cut it with Clonex Rooting Gel. That helps healing and really kick starts roots.

Plant with correct side down as shown on the website info, or log horizontally. It all works.


Do they need more light?
I have added text to your photo to show you how to repair this extreme condition.

Where you cut them they will grow offsets and in time the effect will be quite attractive, but you have to get more light for the plants.
The technical term for this problem
etiolate / e-ti-o-late
Botany. To cause (a plant) to develop without chlorophyll by preventing exposure to sunlight.

To cause to appear pale and sickly: a face that was etiolated from years in prison.
To make weak by stunting the growth or development of.

v. intr. Botany
To become blanched or whitened, as when grown without sunlight
Light, they need more light.
Your plant is in a room with insufficient light. It is straining upward to look for life giving sunlight--where is the sunlight?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

How are your beautiful cats doing?


Dust Ball is 11 months old and the Rust Bucket is pushing 16 years. Here is a new Cat Angel story posted in PDF.

Winter rooting in 10 days? Watering a cutting that has no roots?

Saturday, March 04, 2006
[my comments in blue]

Absolutely Great Site ...I have two questions that hopefully you can answer . I have a 18" cutting, that is aprox 4" in diameter , It was cut and alowed to callous for two weeks , and then placed in dry 50/50 Sand / Perilite... for about a week and a half now...when I pulled the cutting up , there were no roots .. I think I should probobly moisten slightly?

I do not recommend sand/perlite as a rooting mix.
I do not recommend trying to root a cutting in February.
I do not recommend that you water a cutting that has no roots.

Put positively: Root in soil, � do it in the correct time of year (spring-to summer). � Rooting requires warm weather with night time temperatures above 70 degrees. � Use dry soil until you find root buds probing for moisture. May take a month or two months, be patient.

You water seeds to make them germinate--you don't water a cactus cutting because it has no roots to use soil moisture. Cactus have stoma that open at night, not during the day like leafy plants. They suck in CO2 and H2O vapor at night. That is why they will survive in dry soil during warm weather--this stimulates the plant to probe for moisture with hard, "horn like" root buds. When you see those you can begin to lightly water and fine root hairs will develop, etc.

Sterile mixes (sand + perlite) have no beneficial bacteria and when moist can allow unwelcome bacteria to flourish. Nature has been rooting San Pedro in regular old dirt for thousands of years just fine thank you. So, Spring time + soil + warm temp.+ no water + patience = roots ;)

All about surgery on cuttings
Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2006

I recived the cactus, but the ends were rotten/moldy
is this any cause of concern, or should i simply amputate?

Your log is a big one. If you can save it that may one day be a magnificent plant. The parents certainly are.

Depends on how you want to use it; some people cut them into pieces to plant, others want to root the entire piece. I'd want to root the entire section. The fewer cuts the better, mold wise. More cuts=more chance of mold/infection.

I use a saw (folding bucksaw) to get through that wood core. If you want to root the entire section (I would) then cut an inch (min.) ahead of rot. All tissue should be white. If you see a brown soft section then you have to cut another inch off. Like a surgeon cutting off a limb ahead of the spread of gangrene.

Warm, dry inside room with an electric fan blowing over the cutting should heal it. If you live in a cold, rainy location it is hard to achieve a nice dry cut end. Warmth lowers humidity.

I splash on alcohol but that is so I don't carry disease from cutting to cutting. If you are diligent you can cut out rot like a surgeon--alcohol splash--dry & heal. I have cut out rotting branches down to the central wood core. Then heal and leave these cool scars where you can see the core in a live San Pedro. Bonsai hobbyists do something similar to make a little tree look really old.

In fact, I have sold several plants on ebay that have these exposed cores from my surgery work to save the chunk from rot. Again, one has to be diligent and serious to pull this off. If you just put the cutting in a closet and forget about it the entire section can rot into a pool of goo!

Remember--if this was fool proof then San Pedro would be growing in every fool's yard.
Webpage info not enough?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hi it is early march here in south florida and quite warm.I just got one of your beutiful rooted tips.I repoted in a large container.now when should I water? the average day time temps range betwean 70-80 F and night temps 55-65 F.While I know this is the dormant stage for these lovely plants our grow seasons down here are quite long for most other plants.its geting about 4 hours of direct morning sunlight then partial shading under a orange tree. thanks,brokencage.

The info sheet provided with the plant stresses not to water during Winter (assuming the plant is kept cold and shady). In any event only water when you stick your finger in the soil and it feels dry. Let the soil dry back between watering--don't keep soil soggy wet all the time. In a big pot it is easier to maintain good watering than in a little one.

The plant will tell you how it is doing--if tall and skinny: not enough light. If the ribs suck in --it is water starved. Best advice is to follow my webpage recommendations to use healthy, well draining soil in a huge container. Give all day sun with 30% shade net or full morning sun with afternoon shade. Then you can water and fertilize frequently in the summer to achieve a fat, happy cactus. Oh, yeah!


Saturday, January 21, 2006


Thank you very much!

How small a section can you root?
i was just wondering i know that i can root the tip of the cactus but what about making a cross section like a "log" cutting i guess what i am asking is if i take one cactus can i make multiple cuttings from one cactus

There is always a distinct difference between what I can root and what others (with less skill/patience) can do. I can root almost anything and share that info if you dig into the pages of my website http://www.trichocereus.com/propagation.htm

Scroll down to bottom of: http://www.trichocereus.com/index6.htm

To answer you directly--yes, you can take multiple cuttings such as tip and several column cuts. You could cut a tip to about 3 inches and root it. I've rooted even a 1" tip section. They're cute

The column sections can be sliced down to 3 or 4 inches and rooted--but make sure the "UP" end is up. People say, but I have no proof, that you have to keep orientation. I do not entirely believe that--a horizontal log will sprout tips from both ends. So maybe an upside down log will survive and sprout.

For practical reasons I keep column or log sections to at least 6 inches; so 3-4 inches under soil and at least a few inches above.

Keep in mind that the smaller the cutting the less physical reserves the plant has. A big chunk is a happier candidate with more food stores, more stoma to breath through, more surface area for photosynthesis (to make its own energy), etc.

My advice to a novice is to first root a normal foot sized tip cutting. Gain experience.


"Hey! Let's send a virus to that guy who has the website..."
Virus Writers Now Using .rar Files

Many computer users out there have no idea what a file ending in .rar is or what they are suppose to do with it. Virus writers are using this information to infect PC�s with yet another round of viruses. Most geeks reading this will know that a file extension of .rar is a compressed file, similar to .zip formatted files, but according to an eWeek article, many PC users are falling for the hoax.

The emergence of .rar-packed viruses highlights the lengths to which virus writers are willing to go to evade anti-virus systems, as well as the limitations of those traditional signature-based defenses.

Experts say .rar files carrying viruses have been sailing past commercial anti-virus products and finding their way into the mailboxes of users, who are often unfamiliar with the file format. Administrators who have seen .rar-packed malware say that none of the messages have been stopped by their anti-virus defenses.

I have two plants now over 4ft!  After the fall, I brought them inside to keep them warm and they have developed some form of scale growth, see attached photo.

What is this and what should I do? Last year I had a smaller plants do this, it took over and I eventually destroyed them so it would not spread :(. I love my Plants and want to keep them growing. I was also thinking of keeping them indoors this summer. I need help for my babies. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
You need an insecticide�but I'm no help because I have never used one on San Pedro.

I think they use dormant oil spray in orchards around here for that. (Oil smothers the insects) But I'd first recommend you talk locally with a plant nurseryman (nursery person in California). They might best know your local insect varieties and recommend a specific insecticide. You don't have to use an evil poison�there are always organic type ones.

One way is to start with mechanical removal�stiff spray of water, a brush like you wash your skin with, soap, etc. When I farmed vegetables for the market the plants with insect problems always were the ones with a problem like damaged roots, too much water or too little water, too little light, etc. The healthy plants didn't get insect problems. If a plant had a lot of aphids you just give it a stiff spray of water every day to knock them off. Worked.

*** Too much nitrogen fertilizer, given to vegetables, can result in too much plant sugar that attracts sucking insects. Maybe its the same with San Pedro.

I'd want to check the roots and would lift the plant out onto a table to see if the roots were rotting or all healthy. If the plant is "loose" and rocked around in the pot that would be a bad sign. It should have a tight grip on the soil�healthy roots.

If the roots are rotting you can cut them back and let the plant rest for a week, then repot in dry soil. Leave it alone for months and it will regenerate.

A healthy plant should not have an insect problem. The alkaloids in the skin are supposed to kill them, but maybe these insects get high on the plant chemicals�sort of like kids who sniff gasoline.

This time of year (Winter) your plant doesn't need water. Remember cacti breath at night through their stoma and thus obtain water vapor with the CO2 they need. So take it out of the warm house and into a cooler place until Spring.

� What I don't like from the photo is that the plant is in a house at room temperature when it should be cooler and dormant. Is there a spare room that you don't heat?

� Don't like those pots�not enough drainage.

� Water once a month, lightly, this time of year. Don't try to force a plant to grow during its dormant time. Farmers don't water & fertilize fruit trees off season for this reason.

� Make sure the soil dries back before re-watering. Don't keep it always wet.

Sickest San Pedro of the year award
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006
From: ************@yahoo.com>
Subject: Cactus disease question

I've had nine Trichocereus pachanoi for several years now and they've always been more or less healthy and growing. Over the past several days a disease of some sort has developed and I was curious as to the diagnosis. The plants have been overwintering in a heated greenhouse for a few months now, and the symptoms (blackening pustules (?) of the stems) developed over the course of a few days. What's my best option in terms of salvaging the plants and preventing future infections? I'm attaching a few photos to show you what I'm talking about. BTW, your website is great.


The last thing you say in your email is "BTW, your website is great." Yet you apparently have no appreciation of my website contents; it is about healthy plants. This is accomplished by respecting nature through the use of compost rich "living" soil, use of large containers with 50% perlite for drainage, use of 30% shade netting to prevent sunscald, etc.

Nowhere do I recommend heated greenhouse production. It is winter for God's sake! San Pedro has a dormant period, just as all plants in nature have. My potted plants are in an unheated greenhouse where it gets down to 30 degrees on some nights because it is winter, don't you suppose? I have not watered them in over a month. It is Winter, you understand?

My outdoor plants handle things for themselves. They do not rot in the winter rains because they have roots in the earth and somehow know what to do to be healthy without me interfering.
You send me pictures of the sickest looking spindly specimen I have ever seen--tied up to a pole with a twist tie to keep it from falling over. What do you expect from me? A magic cure recommendation for some commercial brand of fungicide? Why is your plant so tall and spindly in the first place that you need to tie it to a pole with a twist tie? Get a clue, please. That sick plant was made sick by your actions and inactions. It is nature talking to you loudly and clearly. Listen to her.

I just shake my head and feel despair. Your pictures inspired me to lay out two webpages on "Disease" and add a link to them in the home page nav bar. I have nothing further to say.

Forum years past � 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004
Contact: Cactus_Kate@trichocereus.com
� 2003�2014 by CACTUS KATE� Sacred Trichocereus collection. All rights reserved for eternity in Heaven.