There are babies everywhere in my garden right now, cacti that is.
One early morning while I was out watering my garden and making sure the wild birds and bees had food and water I noticed there were all kinds of baby cacti everywhere.
I thought how cute it would be to decorate some tiny pots for them.
You know how I like to share plants with everyone, well this year it will be cacti.
In my garden I have several kinds of cacti but I don’t know their names. Most were given to me as gifts. I heard somewhere that is better to receive a plant from someone for your garden. Something about it being good luck. I will have to ask my cousin in Oklahoma about that again, she was the one that told me.
Now that I think about it, all the plants that were given to me have lived all these years and a lot of the ones I have bought have died. I am still learning about how much work it takes to grow things, so it could be that. Oh, and the heat…that can kill anything. It gets like an oven outside during the summers here in Phoenix Arizona.
I love to garden, it is such a fun and peaceful hobby. And early in the morning around 5am the birds are out chirping and waiting patiently for me to feed them. Off in the distance a little later in the morning you can hear the church bells ringing. Or the train which is several miles away, when it is super quiet in the morning you can hear it’s whistle. I love the church bells, they remind me of the churches in Italy. The sun is slowly coming up and everything still has a tint of blue left over from the night before.
Okay, now that you had a little taste of our garden early in the morning lets move onto this fun little project. But first a warning…cacti have tiny thorns. Please use tongs, or pliers and garden gloves if you decide to work on a project like this.I like the feel and texture of working in dirt so I tend to toss the gloves. With this project I learned a very valuable lesson…sometimes gloves are necessary.
First, you will need mini Terra Cotta pots. I have a bunch all around my garden for my succulents that I trim every once in awhile.
At the moment I have second and third generation plants growing and they all started out in these tiny little pots.You can pick them up at most garden shops, hobby/craft stores or online. They are very inexpensive. I even find them in grab bags at the thrift stores in town.
Next you will need dirt.Whoops, I am jumping ahead of myself, we don’t start the dirt step yet. We still need to collect your baby cacti first.
Here are some of the cacti I will be breaking babies (pups) off of. I think they are called pups. It’s a succulent so are all succulent babies called pups? I know Aloe are. Remember…I’m still learning about this gardening business. I very gently break the babies away using tongs from the main plant.
They pop right off. Some grow around the base of the mother plant and have roots already. The ones I am breaking away will not have roots but eventually they will grow once you pop them down in their own tiny pots of dirt.
The cactus above will produce these beautiful pink flowers once adults. Cacti flowers are such unique looking flowers when in bloom and the colors are so pretty. Sometimes you will see drops of water on my flower photos because it is right after I water that I usually discover a new flower has popped out to greet me. Then I run into the house to grab my camera for a quick photo. Early in the morning when the light is just right the photos have a softness about them. Most photographers call this the magic hours. I learned that little trick from my husband the photographer.
Some of the cacti have babies growing on them but then there are some that have little tips of cacti that come up. Just break the tips off gently and replant that, eventually that will produce more cacti.
During Monsoon season the storms blow them apart and I will go around picking up little broken bits of cacti off the ground to replant. They are very hardy plants.They pop right back up alive once planted again.
Look at these beautiful flowers they produce.
This is one of my favorite flowers I have in my garden. That color to me is such a striking orange next to the green. When I walked up on this early one morning I thought how the flower tucked away down in the cactus reminded me of a birds nest or a tiny fairies home.
I will also be planting some of these cacti (photo below). Again, I don’t know their names. In Arizona there are cactus all over the place in stores to buy. Or there are nice neighbors and family members that share plants with one another. All these baby cacti I will be replanting today were gifts given to me throughout the years. I am just paying it forward by sending more out there in the world to give as gifts by replanting them.
This cactus is a bit scary to work with but look at the flower it produces. Look at those thorns all over it…pretty scary huh? You wouldn’t think something so sharp and hard looking would produce such a soft and delicate flower.
I think some people are like that, all hard and scary on the outside, trying to shield that soft and delicate soul of theirs that is in them. And the opposite can be said as well, with some out there so pretty, soft and delicate looking on the outside but very hard and sharp inside themselves. That is why that quote we are taught over and over again as children is so true “Never judge a book by it’s cover”.
Then there is this one, but I have never gotten flowers from it. I don’t know why. Maybe it needs something else. Some plants like Avocado have a male and female tree before they produce fruit. I heard that somewhere. Anyway, I don’t have any flowers to share on this cactus. But it is pretty unique all on it’s own so I still love it.
I actually had a pretty nice variety of cacti to plant. I ended up having 7 varieties of cacti I collected that morning. I really got carried away because I ended up with over 40 mini cacti plantings.I am sure my family was wondering where I was that morning and afternoon. Mom was spending a nice Saturday morning outside with the birds and the bees getting covered in cacti thorns.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part. I did get pocked every now and then. There is poison or something in the thorns because all it takes is one little thorn to make your finger swell up and then it feels like someone ran over it with a truck the next day. Your finger becomes super stiff and tight and it is hard to move. Maybe I am allergic to them, don’t know, but I still have fun planting them. Eventually my fingers go back to normal after a few days…just wear gloves and skip all these things I just wrote about. There is also Benedryl, but that stuff always knocks me out, even the non-drowsy pills. I never learn, I will probably be out tomorrow planting more little green monsters.
Once I had my cacti ready I got all my supplies together. You will need pretty ribbons, tiny pom poms, beads, buttons etc…to decorate your pots with. Oh, and glue of some sort. I use tacky glue a lot but regular old school glue will work too. I tend to stay away from glue guns as much as possible because I am clumsy with them. Think I am allergic to glue guns too. You should see what those do to my fingers…it is not a pretty site.
First glue ribbon or twine around the tops of your pots. Then add tiny pom poms or beads to the ribbon once dry. Remember, all my DIY’s are always about being super creative. Create away to your hearts content.
I am not only filling my pots with dirt but adding tiny pebbles to the tops. I dabbed a little glue to the rocks when I did that so they would stay in place. You have to be very careful not to get glue on the cacti.
Let your pots dry before you transfer your cacti to them.
Once dry you can start filling with dirt.
Just put a little dirt in, like half full.
Then set your baby cacti in, remember use tongs to set your cacti in. I really don’t think there is anyone of you out there that would actually pick up a cactus with your fingers but you never know, there is always a first for everything in life. I would love to meet the first person that decided to try cow’s milk or even better…an egg from a chicken. Yeah, that’s a hard one for me to think about too ,but eggs for breakfast are so YUMMY. Thank you to that first person way way back in time for volunteering for that taste test. Anyway, wear gloves too, if your fingers could talk they would thank you for that. I think my fingers would swear at me for not wearing them. They do suffer once bitten by these tiny green monsters.
Once your cactus is centered and in place, finish off with more dirt. Cactus don’t need a lot of water. Use a spray bottle to mist every now and then.
They are so adorable. I know…I’m weird, but anything tiny is adorable to me.
With all my other cacti I used little paper planting cups to transfer them into.I was outside awhile propagating all kinds of succulents. We have two new neighbors that moved onto our street. A pretty little pot with a plant and a note that says Welcome to the neighborhood is always a nice gift to receive.
I will pop cacti in just about anything. They are even hanging from glass pots from some of my gazebos in our garden area.
These babies will eventual grow up to pass on some beautiful gifts.
Happy crafting and gardening everyone. Remember, careful around the thorns.
And Special thanks to my husband’s Aunt who gifted us with a lot of these cacti from her move. They redid her house but the tree and some of the plants are still around. We almost didn’t recognize it. This home holds a lot of happy memories of eating pasta and family visits for my kids. Always enjoy seeing how homes change over the years.