Wednesday, 28 October 2015

cactacae and succa

At Tent, I was wavering between which present I should buy myself. There was a pendant in the shape of a French curve, and a small concrete dodecahedral planter. The waver was brief and the concrete came home with me. The planter was for cacti or succulents (the designer used the term succa* which I wasn't familiar with) and it occurred to me that the front windowsill is already half full of succulents and that winter might be the perfect time to cease my front-windowsill  habit of slowly murdering supermarket pot herbs and replace it with one of torturing cacti and succulents.

Four days later I wandered out to the florist that often has very cheap and tough pot plants for the student market, and they had an expansive selection of cut-price tiny cacti on sale, three for two. I bought four. A few weeks later I've packed them all into more-or-less acceptable pots (the most interesting one got the concrete jungles geometric planter) but I still have no idea what any of them are.

The local library had no single topic books on cacti (much to my surprise) so I'm now peering at the House Plant Expert (which is weirdly judgemental -- one plant is judged a "slow growing grotesque mutant" and another "nothing special") and concluding sadly that it might be struggle to identify them. One might be an Old Man cactus of some kind, and two of them are probably some variety of column, and the other two (no idea) but to be honest  it probably didn't help that I picked the odd looking ones. They're certainly not in the top ten.

I note with some trepidation that the most interesting one already looks a bit bigger since I first put it in the planter. It was flattened and irregular in shape, like a little rooted cartoon cactus cloud, and I've not yet spotted anything remotely like it online (it's probably some kind of var.).

Still at least and as ever HPE gives me the basics. Tepid water, just enough to keep it ticking over until light levels increase in spring, keep above 15C, and then up water levels as light and warmth increase, and see if any flowers appear.

And then I might be able to figure out what they all are.

*Google suggests that a succa more normally means a wooden framed temporary structure built for Sukkot celebrations, although urban dictionary suggests (as ever) that it's a word for your mum.

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