Astrophytum: types of cacti and home care
Astrophytum (Astrophytum) is a perennial plant from the Cactus family. The name of the flower from the Greek language is translated as "star plant". In appearance, the succulent resembles a star because of its ray edges, their number can vary from three to ten. The plant is characterized by slow growth, on its spherical stem there are tiny hairs of light color, which have the ability to absorb water. In care, the cactus is unpretentious, it adapts well to various temperatures and calmly tolerates the absence of moisture.
How it grows in nature
The homeland of astrophytum is the arid regions of Mexico and the United States. Under natural conditions, succulents grow on stony or sandy soils. The cactus reaches a height of about 30 cm, and its diameter is within 17 cm.
In its natural habitat, a plant blooms in the summer. At the top of its stem, a peduncle appears on which a bud is formed. The funnel-shaped flowers are yellow in color, their length is about 8 cm. They fade a few days after blooming, in their place there remains a seed box.
Types of astrophytum with photos
There are six cultivated types of astrophytum. Plants differ in color and shape of the stem, as well as the presence of thorns.
Astrophytum astrerias, or stellate
The plant is also called "sea urchin." The diameter of the gray-green stem is about 10 cm and its height is within 8 cm. The cactus has about 8 ribs, in the center of which there are fluffy areoles of gray-white color. Spines are absent. Succulent begins to bloom in the middle of summer, yellow flowers with a red core.
The smooth stem of the plant has no thorns and is covered with tiny dots of light color. Deep ribs are smoothed over time, their number is about six pieces. Lemon flowers have a terracotta center.
Astrophytum ornatum, or decorated
This species grows faster than its relatives, in height it can reach 30 cm. The green stalk has horizontal white blotches. The number of ribs is about 6–8 pieces; areoles with long spines are located along their tops. The cactus begins to bloom at the age of 7 years, the flowers have a light yellow hue.
Astrophytum Capricorn, or Capriccone
Emerald color plant with many interspersed white. The spherical stalk becomes cylindrical over time. The number of divisions is about 6–8 pieces; on their tops areoles with branching spines of brown color. Capricorn astrophytum begins to bloom in summer, yellow flowers have an orange center.
Speckled astrophytum (myriostigma)
The green stem has no thorns, its height is about 25 cm. On the surface of the cactus there are white blotches consisting of soft hairs. A plant can bloom at the beginning or at the end of summer (depending on climatic conditions). Flowers differ in cream color and pointed petals.
This species was bred in Japan. The spherical stalk reaches a height of about 8 cm, there are many white specks on it. The divisions are weakly expressed, their number is from 3 to 8 pieces. Cactus blooms in the summer, bright yellow flowers have a red core.
"Star Cactus" is a tropical plant, therefore, loves bright lighting. However, too scorching sun rays can be detrimental to astrophytum. Pots must be placed on the eastern or southern windowsills.Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties
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Table No. 1: Growing Conditions
|Season||Temperature mode||Air humidity||Lighting|
|Winter||The marks on the thermometer must not exceed + 12 ° C||Astrophytum loves dry air and does not need to be sprayed||Astrophytum does not need artificial lighting|
|Spring||A gradual increase in temperature to high summer temperatures is recommended.||After wintering, the plant must be gradually accustomed to the sun. Cactus should be shaded at lunchtime|
|Summer||The optimum room temperature should be at least +25 ° C.||In the summer, flowerpots with succulents can be taken outside, but they should not be in the rain or in a draft|
|Fall||The plant is preparing for rest, the temperature is gradually reduced to winter degrees||Good lighting needed|
The constant presence of astrophytum in the shade can negatively affect its health. Cactus will stop growing and blooming.
Watering and feeding
Astrophytum does not need frequent watering. In the summer, it is irrigated as the soil dries, in the spring and autumn - twice a month. In winter, the cactus is not watered. For humidification use settled or filtered water at room temperature.
From March to November, a houseplant is fed with complex fertilizers for cacti. The dose indicated in the instructions for the drug is halved. In the winter season, astrophytum does not need to be fed.
A cactus is transplanted only when it becomes crowded in a pot. The transplant is performed by transshipment. You can buy soil for succulents in a specialized store or make it yourself. It should include:
- sheet land (1 share);
- turf land (1 share);
- river sand (1 share);
- charcoal (¼ share).
The astrophytum pot should be wide, but shallow. At its bottom, it is necessary to lay out a drainage layer (expanded clay or small pebbles). The root neck of a cactus should not be buried. It should be on a par with the land substrate.
Astrophytum does not give children and does not form stem processes, so it can only be propagated by seed. Seeds can be collected from the plant being grown or purchased at the store. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the seeds retain their germination for only two years.
Stages of the seed propagation method:
- Before sowing, the material is soaked for half an hour in warm water, and then incubated for 10 minutes in a solution of potassium permanganate (1 g of potassium permanganate in 200 ml of water).
- Seeds are dried, laid out on the surface of the soil and lightly sprinkled with earth. The composition of the soil should include: sheet earth (1 part), river sand (5 parts) and powdered charcoal (¼ part).
- A container with planting material is placed in a well-lit place and covered with plastic wrap.
During the germination period, the room temperature should be within + 22 ° C. Once a day, the greenhouse is opened for 10 minutes for ventilation. The topsoil is sprayed as it dries.
The first shoots appear after 15-30 days. The grown stems dive into separate containers.
Growing problems and their solution
Improper care of astrophytum at home can lead to the following problems:
- Brown spots on the plant indicate that the water for irrigation contains a lot of lime.
- The stem turns yellow due to direct sunlight.
- The lack of flowering indicates non-compliance with wintering conditions.
- A shriveled tip indicates excessive waterlogging of the soil.
- The stem is pulled out due to insufficient sunlight or due to too warm wintering.
Diseases and Pests
Diseases rarely affect astrophytum. The most common root rot. It is necessary to treat the root system with any fungicide, cut the affected parts.
Table No. 2: Astrophytum Pests and Ways to Combat Them
|Pest||Signs of defeat||Ways to fight|
|Shield ||Convex yellow or brown plaques appear on the stem||The cactus is washed with soapy water and treated with Actellik.|
|Mealybug ||A white wax coating appears on the stem, reminiscent of cotton wool||Damaged areas are wiped with tincture of calendula. In advanced cases, the insecticide “Aktara” is used|
|Root worm ||The affected plant slows its growth. At the root of the plant emerging on the surface of the soil, a white coating appears.||The cactus is removed from the pot, the roots are washed with hot water and treated with a solution of “Actara”|
Subject to all growing conditions, cacti will develop normally and delight the grower with their flowering. To give the plants a more exotic look, you can make a mix of them. For this, several varieties of astrophytum are planted in one pot.