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That cacti are considered to be particularly easy to maintain, should primarily be due to the fact that they hardly have to be cast in comparison to conventional potted plants. But rare watering also means that the cacti can cover their entire need for nutrients and fluid over the earth for a relatively long period of time. And that is precisely the biggest challenge in the production of our own cactus soil.
The most important criteria of good cactus soil
It should be noted in advance that most cacti are true survivors who can thrive in ordinary potting soil if need be. However, if the welfare of your cacti is really close to your heart, you should prefer to use special cactus species best suited to the needs of this fascinating plant genus in general and the needs of the particular cactus species in particular. One of the general criteria that make up good cactus soil is that the soil is permeable to air and can store as much moisture as possible without creating waterlogging, becoming muddy, or curing completely when it dries out. It is also important that the earth is very nutrient-rich. For a cactus to be able to absorb and process nutrients, however, the pH of its soil must be right. As a result, pH is also one of the most important issues that merit greater consideration in both the purchase and production of cactus soil. For although cacti per se rather like slightly acidic soils, one and the same pH value may still be too high for one cactus species and already too low for another species.
Tip: Since the pH value of cactus is of paramount importance, you should first check it with a suitable analyzer or test strip before putting a cactus in it.
The main components of cactus clay
Probably the most important component of any good cactus soil is nutrient-rich humus, which should have been stored for a long time and must never be too wet. In addition, your cactus clay should contain clay or clay that is as crumbly as possible, relatively dry and non-sticky. The reason for the clay or clay is that it is naturally slightly acidic. By the way, the so-called expanded clay is particularly well suited. In addition, cactus soil should be enriched with coarse-grained sand. However, if you want to mix the cactus earth yourself, you must make absolutely sure that the sand used is as low in calcium as possible, because too much lime content in the soil could cause lasting damage to the cactus. In addition, most cactus clay from the trade is heavily peaty, which is mainly due to the fact that peat is a very excellent water reservoir. However, it must be pointed out in this context that environmentalists strongly advise against using peat-containing cactus soil.
Tip: Experts advise you to use special quartz sand, as it is very coarse-grained and barely dusty.
Arguments against the use of peat
That just environmentalists are against the use of peat, may seem a bit surprising at first. But if it is a pure natural substance that is biodegradable and thus should not pose a burden on the environment. However, it should be remembered that when peat is harvested, entire peatlands are completely drained and thus destroyed forever. In fact, experts assume that at least in this country in a few years, no natural bogs will give more, as long as the peat extraction in its current form is continued to operate without restriction. To make matters worse, the peatlands release more climate-damaging carbon dioxide after draining.
Environmentally friendly alternatives to peat
In the form of coconut fibers and so-called xylitol, there are now two consistently convincing alternatives to peat, which you should not resort solely to purely ecological interest if you want to produce your own cactus soil. For example, for coconut fibers, they are clearly superior to peat in terms of storing liquid.
For xylitol in turn speaks an extremely high content of humic acid, which is at least equal to the humic acid content of peat. In addition, xylitol keeps the pH of the earth low. Furthermore, xylitol proves to be unusually structurally stable thanks to its large pore volume.
The list of ingredients for your own cactus soil
- about one to two thirds of well decomposed humus
- up to a third of crumbly clay or clay (best expanded clay)
- per 5 l of soil well 50 to 150 g of coarse-grained sand with low lime content (best quartz sand)
- about one third xylitol and / or coconut fibers (if necessary also peat)
So that the ingredients of their cactus soil are perfectly mixed together, it is advisable to put them in small quantities on a foil and then mix well by hand. However, when mixing, make sure that the clay or loam does not become too crumbly. The peat or coconut fibers or xylitol, on the other hand, can be crumbled. It should be noted that coconut fibers should first be soaked in clear water so that they can be processed better. In addition, the fibers in conjunction with water gain very much in volume. Nevertheless, the fibers should not be too wet if they are mixed with the other ingredients. Furthermore, it is recommended to leave the cactus soil for a few days and mix thoroughly again and again before you plant their cacti.
frequently asked Questions
Why do some people mix their cactus soil with rhododendron earth?
Because rhododendron earth has a much lower pH than conventional potting soil, it is ideal for raising the acidity of the cactus soil.
Can I use cheap cactus soil as a base for my own earth?
In itself, it is a good idea to take commercially available cactus as a kind of foundation and then "refine" specifically for your own cactus. However, it is urgently recommended that cheap no-name products be discouraged as they are usually of inferior quality and often contain harmful substances.
Can I also mix compost with my cactus soil?
In principle, there is nothing against a compost admixture, provided the compost is ripe and harmonizes with the other constituents of the earth on the basis of its pH value.