Cultivation of Turbinicarpus species one
NOTE: The following cultural notes are based on conditions experienced here in the south of England.
Position & Ventilation
Turbinicarpus prefer to be in a well ventilated position in full sun to maintain a good body colour and spinal development. Ventilation should continue throughout the year 24 hours a day during the warmer months and whenever weather permits during the colder months. It is good practice to have a circulation fan in the greenhouse throughout the year this should be set to run 24/7 during the autumn-winter-spring and to come on when the temperature reaches 15°C during the summer.
The golden rule when it comes to watering Turbinicarpus species is "never water when the compost is still damp". This is the one error that will certainly kill any plant!!
Watering should commence in the spring late March to early April depending upon the weather conditions at the time. The plants should initially be given a light spray to gently encourage them into growth. A number of species those with papery spines e.g. (Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus) have the ability to absorb water through their spines.
Never introduce water too quickly as the plants may take up too much and split. However, should this happen dust the wound with 'Flowers of Sulphur', and allow to form a callous. The plant should survive but it may take many years before the wound disappears below ground level.
Once the plants have swollen after their winters rest amounts of water can be increased. Water thoroughly at each watering, this should be about every two weeks. Water sufficiently to ensure it runs from the bottom of the pot but try not to water over the plant, especially if it is a hot sunny day as this can scorch the plant. Always choose a bright sunny day to water and do so in the early morning to allow excess moisture to dry up as soon as possible. As I mentioned earlier, but well worth repeating, don't water again until to compost has completely dried out. If you are in doubt don't water. During a hot mid-summer period, the plants may go into dormancy for a short time, during this period reduce the water levels.
Reduce watering early September and stop watering completely by the end of September - early October depending on the weather. The plants should then remain completely dry for the autumn and winter period.
Turbinicarpus species are all able to withstand high summer temperatures and indeed benefit, providing accompanied by good ventilation. Do not be tempted to overcrowd the plants, they will be far happier with a little space to allow the air to circulate.
Winter temperatures can be set as low at 7-8 degrees Celsius and providing the plants are kept dry and the humidity levels are also kept low, by good ventilation on bright days. Indeed the plants need these low temperatures to ensure a sustained dormant period resulting in good growth and flowering the following growing season.
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