Thursday, September 20, 2012
Old Man of the Andes
It makes a cool part of my collection. The white "beard" on the cactus is clearly a plus. At first it was hard to tell if the cactus was alive or dead. So I dug through the beard and got green flesh.
The cactus is very much alive. I bought it at a Home Depot or Lowes on sale. It just kind of sits there living up to its namesake.
The Old Man of The Andes is native to the highlands of Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. It might be better as an outdoor plant. For now though it sits in the office window.
I would recommend at least watering every other week. Some Miracle Gro Plant Food is good with a watering.
Let the soil dry out to avoid rot. It is good to mix in newer soil with the old, especially for an office plant. You are not looking for Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps or pecs here.
It it is suspected that the cactus may be on the downward spiral pull back the hair and using scissors or a knife pull back the hair to get at the green flesh. This can be hard as the needles make it a bit tricky.
The flesh should be bright green and roots firm in the soil. Normally one would repot each year or two. But why repot if the cactus is slow growing? Take an envelope opener and mix in the top layer of soil. Then add a cup or so of new soil, water and thoroughly dry between watering.
You can also pull on needles to check for health. But that is not necessarily a good sign in and of itself. You may get a chunk of flesh on needle and think you have rot. That's why I recommend going straight to the stem. If the wound you make in the cactus heals then you are okay.
I have so many cacti in my office I don't know what to do. Some ladies hoard cats and men hoard old junk cars. I hoard cacti. If you have any tips on how to get stumpy here to grow I'm all for feedback.