December 29, 2011
It's nice to bring in something green into your house to help you get through those long winter months. That's right, you can bring sunshine into your house, with some nice cactus.
Cactus are actually very well adapted to most houses in northern climates. They like the cool winter temperatures, the low humidity, and they don't need much water.
But they do need one thing, sunshine. You have to be selective with the cactus you're going to choose. The traditional cactus, like the barrel cactus or the old man's beard, need a lot of sunshine, so you have to find a south facing window so there will be enough light that it will grow well. You might actually have to give some additional light to them with a grow light.
If you don't have as much sun, you can grow succulents. Agave and aloe are great plants that do really well under less than ideal light levels. In fact, if they get too much sun, they get sunburn on some of the leaves.
Then there are some unusual kinds of cactus you can grow. Crown of thorns, which is a cactus that flowers pretty much year round with white, red or peach colored flowers. But it's got those thorns, so be careful. And there's another unusual one called the pencil cactus. It's cool looking.
It has these little pencil like appendages that stick out, but these are all in the Euphorbia family, so if you break open the stems, they'll have this sticky white sap just like poinsettias.
So if you have the right location in your house, you can get the perfect cactus that will be beautiful right through the winter.
By Charlie Nardozzi
PO Box 4508