||Rooting hormone, time, patience
Old, woody base sections need all the help you can give them
to root. Use Clonex rooting gel ($40/250ml). Paint it on the
cutting's bottom soon
after harvesting. Apply it up the sides about 2" from the end;
cuttings can send roots out the sides, too, so make sure
Clonex is there.
Let cuttings dry until the cut ends are healed (calloused
over like a scab). This may take 2 weeks in warm, dry
conditions. An electric fan helps to dehydrate the ends.
In a 50% perlite/organic compost mix set the cutting
without watering or compacting the soil; so air
is able to reach the cutting's end. This helps to prevent harmful molds/fungus
from inhibiting the rooting process.
Click for larger image.
||Set aside in a shady but bright location. Do
not water. After a month or two you may gently lift up
on the cutting--if you feel no resistance there are no roots
yet so let go; try the tug test again in a few weeks.
Cuttings do not sprout roots like a seed; they may
take months. When you
feel a slight tug that signals the beginning of roots; if
you lift it out they'll break off. So don't do that!
If the weather is hot and the ribs suck in indicating water loss, lightly mist
them at sun down. Use a 1-gallon/minute misting nozzle quickly
fanned over the plants to deposit some surface moisture
that will be absorbed during the night when cacti open their
When you feel that slight tug from the first roots mist the cuttings
regularly in the evening. As more "tug" is
felt--there are more roots. With a good root system you can
pick up the entire pot when lifting the cutting. Then you can
begin normal plant watering.
Large tip cuttings root easily, but woody column sections
from the base of an old San Pedro are slower. After 2-3
months they may only have a few weak roots.
||Woody base columns will produce nice new growth tips
that can be harvested for rooting into new plants.
for larger image.
||Cat guardians are essential to keep an eye on the
plants. The natural love & affinity between felines and San
Pedros is one of the ancient mysteries of the Universe.
||Large tips are the "new growth" of the plant. As such
they contain lots of growing energy to readily root into
independent new plants.
You root them one year and the next up-pot so they rocket in
Click for larger image.
||Amazing growth rate
This Peruvianus is the most vigorous of all my varieties.
24" annual growth spurts are normal. This cutting rooted in
2007; in 12 months it doubled in size.
||Fat ribs, swollen with water, indicate an
excellent root system that is sucking up moisture to store
in the tissues. In fact, a healthy plant should swell in
diameter--growing out as it grows up.
Tall but skinny plants may have too little light with too
||Cat guardians can protect plants from evils you
cannot even imagine. Protector felines know that anything
with their human's scent on it is off limits; only deranged
city bred cats would use your seedling trays for a litter
Cats love San Pedro so much they rub against them to
scratch themselves. This leaves behind small tufts of fur on
the cactus spines. These fur makings are a warning for
rodents to beware.
||Spiders love San Pedro as much as cats do. Never
spray poisons on your cactus or you'll kill off the spiders.
Spiders eat thrips, tiny red spider mites, etc. Their downy
webs lay over the San Pedro like Angels wings. This makes
the plants feel loved, protected, and less lonely. Black
widows will also be attracted to live here.
California Black Widows have enough venom to kill a
cat or send you to the hospital, so its worth your time to
hunt them down. Black widows are nocturnal, so you need to
visit late at night to find any.
• A small blowtorch is one way to dispatch them. They turn
crispy real fast.
• Using a long pair of hemostats (12") you can grab/squash
them consistently with practice. But you have to be
quick--Black Widows rabbit when spooked.
• Black Widows are not aggressive; thank God! They run away
when spotted by a human. You just don't want to touch one
accidentally--always wear leather gloves when moving potted
specimens. Many times I've picked up a pot with a black
widow hiding on the bottom. With leather gloves you can hand
Avoid using poison sprays or you'll also kill the spiders
that are not harmful to humans/cats. Don't do that.
||Organic rodent control in action
A well praised alpha male like Cougar (left) can harvest 2-3
gophers a day during the spring.
Gophers can and will eat cactus. So will rats. Cat praise is
essential to ensure enthusiastic rodent control. Example: "What
a good boy! Oh, Cougar! That's a nice gopher you caught!
good boy!" That is all it takes.
Cats love fresh meat and will devour
it even with plenty of store bought cat food available. They
prefer the taste. Wouldn't you?