Antsistrokaktus - very prickly, flowering and rare
One of the most prickly cacti, Antsistrocactus, was not accidentally given a name from the “hooks”. Surprisingly beautiful, it is still found only in rare collections. And it offers different cultivation options: more capricious root-owning cacti are increasingly being replaced by hardy grafted forms. Prickly, but elegant, Antsistrokaktus - special in everything. It is not necessary to grow it as a flowering plant, but with proper wintering, even in room conditions, the flowering of Antsistrocactus is memorable.
Antistrocactuses in nature are found only in the USA and Mexico, where they form unusual groups in semi-deserts. These are small representatives of the Cactus family with spherical or slightly elongated shoots with a diameter of up to 6-7 cm and a maximum height of only 10 cm. But the main feature is turnip, thickened, sometimes almost equal to the stems in size roots.
Among the antistrocactuses, both dark and light colors are found, but the stem is always costal - most often with 13 spiral faces divided into tubercles. The areoles are also divided into two - the outward part forms spines, and the inside wrapped flowers.
Prickly - the most important and easily recognizable feature of antistrocactus.Up to 20 radial yellowish-gray, thin and straight spines with a length of 1 to 2 cm are not all “weapons” of an antistrocactus. After all, the large, much darker, brownish-black, up to 5 cm long central spikes-hooks are very stiff and much more dangerous. One of them is crocheted and thickened.
Antistrocactus blooms in late winter or March. Antistrocactus is famous for its green flowers. Their color is light pink, light green, or yellowish with dark brown strokes. The funnel-bell-shaped, only up to 2 cm both in length and in diameter, the flowers of this cactus are distinguished by a shortened tube, with age they bloom higher up the stem.
After flowering, the pink and pink elongated juicy fruits, hiding very large seeds, are tied at the antistrocactus.
In room culture, antistrocactuses are increasingly represented as grafted, rather than root plants, devoid of a tendency to decay of the roots and root of the neck. To grow such plants is simple, but there are not so many problems with root-own antistrocactuses.
Types of antistrocactus for indoor keeping
The classification of antistrocactuses is being reviewed today, and while the debate is ongoing, the plants remain an independent genus with сп unresolved ’controversial status. In a room culture, 4 species are grown.
Antsistrokaktus Sheera (Ancistrocactus scheeri) Is the largest species. A spherical cactus transforming into round columns up to 15 cm high with 13 ribs divided into large tubercle cones and dark, long central spines. Bell-shaped light green flowers are large and surprisingly elegant.
Short-bent Antistrocactus (Ancistrocactus brevihamatus) - a beautiful cactus with a round stalk up to 10 cm in height with 10-12 ribs divided into tall, large centimeter tubercles with an upper, white-pubescent groove. One of the central spines is white, with a hook on the end. Light greenish-white flowers with purple and yellow strokes reach 3 cm in diameter.
Short hook Antistrocactus (Ancistrocactus brevihamalus) - a beautiful view with ovoid stems up to 10 cm in height, grayish radial and brown central spines and light pink flowers with a dark pharynx.
Large Root Antistrocactus (Ancistrocactus megarhizus) Is a more compact look with an unusual root that is larger than the aerial part in the volume and oval shoots up to 8 cm high. It has spirally arranged ribs, yellowish spines and a thick “hook” directed downward. The flowers and fruits are light green.
Conditions for growing Antistrocactus
Extreme soluteness requires the placement of antistrocactuses only on sunny windowsills. This type of cactus is especially sensitive to a lack of lighting during the period of active growth. Placing the antistrocactus on the sunny windowsills - southern or partially southern - you can find the perfect place for it. Antiscistrocactuses are not afraid of any direct sun, even noon. Bright lighting for this cactus is necessary all year round, including during the cold winter.
This is one of the most heat-resistant cacti. He tolerates any room temperature and higher rates even in the midst of summer, without suffering at all. The content in winter at a temperature of 5 to 9 degrees Celsius is the only thing that allows the Antistrocactus to bloom.But he can withstand a warm winter.
One of the unexpected features of this cactus is its love of fresh air. Unlike many "colleagues" Antsistrokaktus loves airing and removal to fresh air. Even in winter, for this beauty, it is better to regularly arrange air baths.
Caring for Antistrocactus at home
Antistrocactuses are suitable even for those flower growers who do not have time for thorough care of plants. They do not like excessive zeal. Even if the stalks are wrinkled and lose turgor from prolonged drought, they will restore it after watering. But the cactus will not survive the overflow.
Antistrocactus is afraid of waterlogging and dampness, requires minimal watering. The best option is frequent, but very scarce watering with a small amount of water. In no case can water be poured under the stem - only around the perimeter of the pot, slowly and accurately, without soaking the “body”. In the heat (at a temperature above 25 degrees), it is better not to carry out watering due to stunting.
For the winter, irrigation is stopped completely and contains Antistrocactus in complete dryness - subject to cold wintering. If the cactus remains in the warmth of the rooms, it is watered very rarely, with a minimum amount of water, simply preventing the stems from fading (1 time per month or less).
Dry air is the only option. Even the slightest increase in air humidity, especially in autumn and winter, leads to the appearance of fungi in areoles.
This cactus can not be fed at all in the year of transplantation. From the second year after transplantation, top dressing is done according to one of two strategies:
- once a standard portion of fertilizers for cacti and succulents, at the beginning of spring growth;
- 2-3 times during spring and summer, with a frequency of not more than 1 time per month, fertilizers with a twice reduced concentration.
The stems should be cleaned regularly from dust - gently, using a brush or brush, removing dirt from the surface of densely studded with thorns stems.
Pests, diseases and problems in growing
This is one of the most vulnerable cacti subject to improper care or selection of conditions. Antsistrokaktus is afraid of everything - overflow, getting wet, increasing air humidity. It is prone to rot, mold and soot fungi accumulate on thorns and areoles. In dry air, so beloved by the cactus, spider mites easily spread on it, less often thrips, aphids, mealy bugs.
Moreover, cacti are not easy to clean, because they do not like spraying, and we are talking only about hygienic procedures and extremely accurate spraying of insecticides.
Transplantation and reproduction of Antistrocactus
Capacities for antistrocactuses should correspond to their tuberous roots. Unlike their counterparts, they are grown in deep and fairly large containers. A transplant is best done on demand when the tank is full. But to maintain water permeability of the soil, antistrocactuses are transshipped more often, preventing possible problems with dampness or the spread of fungi in old depleted soil.
For the cultivation of antistrocactus, it is necessary to select the lightest and most loose versions of earth mixtures. Purchased substrate for cacti and succulents can be improved by adding fine gravel, crushed stone, coarse sand, perlite to further increase air permeability. The amount of loosening additives is sometimes recommended to be brought up to 40%.It is important to check that the soil reaction is equal to 5.5-5.6 pH.
Large drainage is laid at the bottom of the tank. After transplanting, the cactus is not watered until growth resumes. Upper drainage is mandatory for antistrocactuses: to protect them from getting wet and damp, the root neck is mulched with stone chips or small gravel.
It is no accident that this cactus remains so rare. It is very difficult to propagate on your own. The only options are grafting and growing from very rare seeds that are available to experienced gardeners.
Growing from seeds requires extremely bright lighting and constant hot temperatures. Plants easily die at the slightest increase in soil moisture.