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Cactus Log: 2010

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Please do not send large image files because they are blocked by the server. Email photos should not exceed 200K, if you do not know how to edit, then post your megabyte size images to a URL and email the link. Please understand the time limitation that precludes my having email chat with you. ( I have a farm to run)

Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 / Subject: Indoor wintering

To whom it may concern:
I am interested in growing some Trichocereus spp. and I live in zone 7, so keeping them outside through the winter is not an option, though I think it would be unique to have them outside during the summer in this area where cacti don't normally grow. I can keep them indoors at 70-74 F with fluorescent lights hanging above and/or shining from the sides - is this usually possible?

Also, I wonder about the cold temperatures as shipping is concerned. A low of about 30 F is forecast for the next week. Do the cacti survive being shipped in the winter?

Thanks, Tyler
Huh? I live in sunny California and grow everything outside. I have no indoor plants. Thus I have no experience with what you are trying to do. You should contact plant collectors in your local area to learn how they grow indoors. It is a shame that people visit my website and only use my email address without reading the past years of forum pages where this topic has been addressed repeatedly. Also the home page has a link to a
page about zones.

Dear Verne,
I would like to ask you if you can advise me. I would like to try to grow Peruvian Torch in cold wilderness in Quebec, Canada. Please write me what is by your opionion most cold resistant specimen and if it is even possible to grow in forests. I would like to do it with my indian friends so I do think that in growing programme there can be some aftercare (fungicides and so) possible.

With greetings
Paul C.
Dear Paul,
If you don't see any other cactus growing in the cold Canadian wilderness - maybe that is nature's way of telling you something. I live in sunny California so can't speculate on your region.

my cacti arrived today and they are beautiful!! thanks!!!

Dear zircon6,

Greetings! You have awesome specimens. I bought several from you (logs and a plant) in 2005 which I have propagated and shared. I want you to know that your San Pedro is growing well in several locations in NJ! They are
dormant now, and like them, I can't wait for spring. I know from experience that your packaging is second to none. My question is regarding combined shipping with one of the lots of 3 wild seed grown Andes torches and one of the bridgesii specimens. Is it possible, and how much would shipping be?


Date: Wed, 8 Dec 2010
Subject: Can you help me with a San Pedro problem please?
From: Marijn Neuenheusen <marijn.nieuwenhuisen@gmail.com>

Dear Verne and Dustball,
Hello there, my name is Marijn and I am from Holland. I've been a great fan of you and Dustball but I have a problem and I thought that maybe the two of you could help me out, since I consider you two authorities on San Pedro cacti.
I recently moved from one place to another and since I have been scarce on time I put all my San Pedro's in a shed outside. This last week we had temperatures of about -10 C and in the shed they must have been around -7 C. I think in all the moving madness I must have neglegted my babies a bit and I worrie that when I found out, I may have been too late. The cacti were frozen over and allready felt a bit soft (blubbery/mushy)...but the Pedro's, I'm not sure about. Do you have any tips/ideas about how to proceed with them? I already moved them indoors (not directly into the warmth but into a hallway where temp's are just above zero). Is there any hope? Please help me if you can.

Kind regards (also to Dustball from my nineteen year old, one-eyed cacti collegue Tigger, see photo),

"...my nineteen year old, one-eyed cacti collegue Tigger"
Dear Marijn,
I don't know. Freezing kills them which is why they only exist in areas that do not freeze. The Peruvian Andes mountains are near the equator between the warm pacific ocean and the amazon. Thanks for the very cool photo of Tigger.

(right) My cat plays "Dog can't catch me" with the German Shepherd.


Whoops. I forgot the email text that went with this. But thank you for sharing the photos!

Dear Vern,

Thanks so much. Just got the three torches. I can't believe how well my cactuses were packaged. My wife loves the one with the six cactus (pachanoi and bridgesii) in one pot and wants that one in the living room when I'm not sunning it on the back porch - they are all beautiful specimens. Your nursery does such a good job I had to place just one more order this evening.

I've read the information on the website and am looking forward to many years with healthy cactus added to our household gardening collection.

Thanks again,
Thanks for the nice comments.

Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2010
Subject: Thank you
From: Magick Dogg
To: raccoony@sacredcactus.com

Dear Raccoony,

We do not know each other, other than the fact that I once ordered cactus from you some months back. Last week while I was on a healing journey you came to my mind and a vision followed in which you invited me to visit your spiritual cactus plantation. In the vision you told me it was for all newbies ( did not get what that meant), I asked why you had never come to me before and you said it was due to the fact that I had reached a level of sincerity and that not just anyone can get in. I saw the most beautiful cacti and they were alive, people but cactus people on your plantation.

For a whole week I have not known what to make of this, but I have finally broken down and emailed you to say thank you. I've been told the cactus is enabling telepathic communication. I want to thank you for what you have done in the spirit. I've gone through a lifetime of pain, abuse and suffering. It means a lot.

In deepest gratitude,
That doesn't sound like you had telepathy with me; I'm never that friendly. It must have been my Dog Tyler or one of the cats—probably Bobcat.

Bobcat & Tyler always indulge good vibes. I'm sort of an old grouch like a porcupine to discourage people from draining my energy.

October 9, 2010
Hi Bobcat, enjoyed your site. Interesting your “Karel Knize” comments.

I was wondering why my T. fulvilanus KK1419 (mesa garden sourced seed) was producing nice red flowers when it seems they should be white. Now it is clear he is probably selling mesa incorrectly labelled seed.

Regards, Ed
Dear Ed,

Sorry to hear you, too, had problems with seed from Karel Knize. I found the solution to KK seed after all my T. Pachanoi seeds grew into plants with long spines like T. Peruvianus. Not one in 400 looks anything like a Pachanoi.

The solution is to throw out the labels that come with KK seed. Germinate and raise them for many years until one flowers. Then make the labels based on your best guess of what the hell it could be.

KK seed is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get.

Growing these plants from seed is a tedious enough situation; it would be nice to be 100% certain what you are investing years of your time on is what it is supposed to be. I got lucky with the "wild Andes" seed; those grew into the most interesting, genetically varied, authentic Peruvian Torches in my collection.


Hello, I am a recent customer from your online store, beautiful cactus' by the way, and I seemed to have already screwed up my cactus. I accidently overheated it with my plant lamp for indoors. on some parts of the cactus turned a light brown color and now I am hoping i can save it, but how? what should i do? you have any advice. thanks
That is sunburn. Natures way of telling you "Hey! The light is too intense!"
Place in a quiet, stress free, shady spot. It may heal as a localized burn scar --but live. Time will tell.


September 12, 2010
Dear zircon6,

Thanks again. You have the best, healthiest, most vigorous Trichocereus on the web. Thanks again. And my garden grows!


Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2010
To: bobcat@sanpedrocactus1.com

Thank you for the great looking cactus I received today. I already repotted it and it looks great. thanks

From: todor georgiev <tokidg@abv.bg> / Subject: HI THERE I WANTED TO ASK SOMTHING


Your .bg email is from Bulgaria. You should discuss your sick plant with someone in Bulgaria who sold it to you.

The pot you put it in is wrong - that is a non-draining house plant pot. The muddy slime on the rocks at the right side indicates this plant has been repeatedly over watered.

I've posted your email in case someone reading this cares to email chat with you. Thank you for ignoring all the advice and information on my website to simply send a sick plant picture. You haven't read my advice and wouldn't understand that same information if I privately sent it to you in email.

There are lots of people in Bulgaria who collect cactus and who could help you learn to grow cactus instead of simply killing them. But I understand it is easier, for you, to send megabyte size files to strangers half way around the world expecting that stranger to give you some miraculous secret solution to your dead plant.


Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2010 / From: "eBay Member: jobobwenz"

Dear zircon6,

THANK YOU. those were the BEST cuttings I have EVER ordered in the past 5 years. I'm super impressed with the quality of your product. I also appreciate the letter with rooting instructions. You provide a valuable service to the ebay community again thank you.


Thank you!


April 8, 2010
I was curious as to whether you had any Peruvianus "Fastest" cacti that you are willing to sell. If so, you could just post them on your google "buy direct" on your website. I regularly check both you stores for this type, but it seems you are only selling them in the fall ;(

I assure you, you are the source of sacred cacti on the internet. Don't let anyone fool you.

p.s. I love how you "tore that guy a new one" on the forum, it really adds humor to your page!

Keep up the good work! Hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on more of these sacred cacti, especially the Peruvianus "Fastest"

Your anxious customer,
It is the wrong time of year - last years crop is sold, now I'm working on the 2010 one. You have no idea how much pain I'm in from Spring farm chores. My hands are peppered with infected spine I have to dig out with pointed tweezers.

You'd have to make me a "Favorite Seller" or something on ebay...to catch whatever, whenever.

Oh, that guy - I truly feel sorry for city dwellers or anyone still under the spell of human society. It was a long road in my life, decades of struggle from coast to coast, to give it all up and live alone in the country. I no longer own an alarm clock or cell phone and every day I don't have to join the commuter rush to the death machine is a great day for me.

Every day I marvel at the warm bright lush life around me, rest in the solitude, adore my animals, love my plants like they were children of angels. Would love to chat but I have compost to make, and miles to go before I sleep.


Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2010

Hi Verne, Thanks a lot! I have a question, if you have the time. Per your instructions, I potted each of those 2 I already received from you into their own 2 gallon pot. As I begin to acclimate them to the outside, I was wondering about rain. I don't yet have a greenhouse, so my question is: How much rain is too much? Should I just bring them inside on rain days and water them myself, or is it ok to let them have a day out in the rain?

Sorry for the questions, but you're the best! :)

Thanks, Mike
Rain is no problem, just drainage. If the pots drain well trichocereus love the rain! It is how Heaven gives them a fresh clean shower of pure water.


From: JYansick@... / Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2010
Subject: About San Pedro specimens hello Bob....from Dr. Yansick.....question on creast??

cuttings?? If you do not have them...no one will..If you have a few that you would, could part with I would be most grateful. Love your site, and logic....I was destined to be a farmer, and will still one day..for now, god wants me treating others with old wisdom, that I was trained in 4 years as an OMD, DOM...eastern medicine...acupuncture, Herbs, etc...Treat the heart first...the spirit..the body often heals on its own...I would like to attempt to grow the creat cuttings, I HAVE TRIED in past...with some success..However they are 'semi' rare, as you know, but have a feeling your farm your must see them this time of year...Please keep me in mind...say a prayer if it is correct to sell them, and let me know.,Wishing you well with your life, farm!

Date: Sun, 04 Apr 2010 / From: Jens W / Subject: About sanpedrocactus1.com...


your site is the best trichocereus "san Pedro" in web. Sorry my englich is not so good. i have a german trichocereus page the adress is trichocereus-kakteen.de i have no trichcoereus glaucus and cuzcoensis, can you give me on or two pictures for my site?

Tahnk you from Germany
Thank you!


Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010

After reading the instructions you included with my cactus (which arrived today looking splendid!), I couldn't help myself and just sat and read your website for an hour despite having to do other things. Everything you have on there is fascinating. I'm very glad to have bought through you and I will definitely steer more people your way should they absorb my curiosity for sacred cacti. Thanks,
—Jesse F

Thank you!


Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 / From: Daniel H
Subject: Ever sell seedlings or pups?

I love your website! You have a lot of great information for those interested in cactus gardening. I was wondering if you ever sell seedlings or pups? I have just recently began growing and collecting cactus this past year and am anxious to try some grafting. As you have wisely cautioned on your site, starting from seed has been excessively challenging. Keep up the good work, and thank you for the wealth of information. Dan
Thank you!


"How do I get this full content look in my cactus?"
March 25, 2010 / Subject: About San Pedro specimens - narrow barrel growth

I've had my San Pedro for about 6 months and it has grown about 6 inches, but it seems tapered and narrow and not full and plump like the specimens in your photos (attached photo). I water with a liquid cactus fertilizer every 2 weeks allowing the soil to dry fully between waterings. Thanks! Larry
My face is squished up in horror
. You ask "How do I get this full content look in my cactus?" Oh, dear God!

This is a plant that has the heart of a tree - it wants to grow into a huge plant but you put it in a small pretty clay pot with river pebbles on your end table?

Hello? Earth to you! Earth to you! Come in human!
You do not grow trees in a flower pot in the shade; yet that is what you are trying to do then ask me how to get "...this full content look..." as if this was a machine that you could command to your wishes.

Look, earthling, it is called Nature. Her name is Mother Nature and she speaks loudly to anyone who has ears to hear her. Your plant is in survival mode searching for sunshine. That elongated tip is the search team.

The scientific term for this is etiolation. Look it up.

Cactus grow outside, not as houseplants in the shade. The 3-page growing guide I included with your cactus explained the need for light on page 1 but either you did not read it or did not care because you wanted to force this magnificent specimen into a decorative house plant.
From page 1 of the literature I sent with your specimen
Cacti do not thrive on neglect
• Do not try to raise large columnar specimens such as Trichocereus in “flower pots”—unless you intend to practice bonsai. Oak trees are not grown in flower pots (except bonsai) and neither should a San Pedro or Peruvian Torch.

• Obtain 5 gallon or larger growing containers.

Light—cacti require strong sunlight to grow well
• Too little light will cause cactus to become tall, skinny and spindly in appearance. This is bad and the plant will get sick. Technical term is etiolation.
You are typical of earthling humans; out of touch with Mother Nature. Like many of your species you have isolated yourself from the life force - you have lost your connection to the earth itself.

Plants and animals serve as direct connections to Mother Nature. They teach us, balance us—but you have pay attention and learn. Verne

From: Kaleb / Subject: thank you! / Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010

i just wanted to thank you for all of your beautiful cacti! i'm so glad that someone takes the time to care for these cacti. it seems there is a lot of confusion about varieties and such but i know that i have the correct ones because of your vast knowledge and experience. the only time i read about anyone else's experience with these cacti (if you google it) it is usually in a drug forum context with people who really have no clue or experience growing them, but have only read trout, m. smith etc. hell even alexander shulgin endorses it...but hes a chemist not a botanist!@ lol so they really dont know anything about the botany of the different species. (i think they smoke too much dope too lol)

anyways thanks again, every cactus ive received has come packaged perfectly and healthy :) i have transplanted them into a mix of 20% worm cast, 30% coir, and 50% perlite with some rock minerals for nutes like your site says. maybe when they get to be small trees in a few years i'll send a pic :)

i only recently noticed your other site with google checkout, i will use that from now on instead of ebay. your site is both hilarious and informative :)

How deep do you repot seedlings?

January 24, 2010

Hi Verne,
I bought a cactus from you a few months ago via your eBay store. While I was out of town this week for work, we got a bad storm here in Phoenix and my little guy is in distress. There is a partial break near the bottom, about 2-3" from the soil. Was wondering to let it try and heal, or cut it and replant the top portion?
You did good.
Put it back together and support it. A partial break is OK. They can break but if you put it back on they often heal and are fine.

The only problem is time of year -- this being winter there is a possibility of fungal infection. These plants are sort of dormant this time of year so their immune system is low. I would never take cuttings, try to root, or graft in January. In spring/summer you can do anything to these and they survive. Not so in winter.

If you can keep the plant like it is in the photo -- put it inside without much direct sunlight. Inside the house is a less infectious environment -- outside there is cold, damp, fungal spores in the wind, etc.

If either end starts to get yukky brown (rot) then separate them. Cut cleanly & use a small electric fan to help dry both halves. The rooted one will be fine and sprout offsets. The tip you shouldn't plant until spring. Let it dry the end, heal in a dry room with indirect light.

In nature these fall over and self root. Greenhouse ones sort of outgrow their necks - they get top heavy. When I tell customers to plant deeper but they never trust me. They think if they do that it will rot. Or they treasure every inch above ground and don't want to loose that. But you have to realize these can grow to the size of your leg in one season!

Place a regular cutting in the soil and it roots. The skin as well as the aeroles (spine pores) can send out roots.

Similarly, if you up-pot a Trichocereus deeper than it was it will be fine. (Not true with deciduous trees where you never bury the "crown" or it will rot the tree.) But Trichocereus root from their stems just like tomatoes do.

Trichocereus stems don't mind being underground. In the earth the (once above ground) stem stops producing chlorophyll and that plant tissue turns tan colored.

[right] Here is a 3 year old in a 5" pot that needs up-potting to a 2 gallon one.


[right] Yes, for real - bury all that portion under potting soil when you up-pot.
I plant seedlings deeper to support the large tip --deep enough so the portion above ground has parallel sides -- not the appearance of a baseball bat. Look at yours; it has that baseball bat shape.

I'm currently up-potting hundreds of these seedlings approximately the size of yours. I'll do a photo essay on the depth I plant them to support the heavy top.





[right] See how good it looks? Now it is a stable specimen that won't flop over and break off. It will increase its root system and become huge in the next year.

This is how I repot seedlings.

January 29, 2010

First of all I would like to thank you for the healthy San Pedro I recieved from you earlier this month. My name is Joseph and I live in Orlando. The cactus is doing great and today I went and bought a 5 gallon pot to re pot it with. My question is " was it smart to put a thin 1 inch layer of small rocks in the bottom of the pot" cause thats what I did. It is supposed to be good for drainage. I did exactly as the site instructed and used 5 % construction sand as well as 1/2 perlite and 1/2 potting mix. Will the peebles and small rocks in the bottom cause an issue? There are good drain holes in the bottom of the pot as well.

If you can answer this thanks and once again thanks for the cactus. I look forward to buying a Peruvian Torch in the near future when funds allow.

Sincerly Joseph

I don't know of any issues with rocks, or pebbles in the bottom. But I don't do it.

Collectors sprinkle crushed rocks on the surface to act as a mulch, hold down the soil from sloshing during watering and to look nice. It does look nice; I used to obsess to obtain bean size chunks of feldspar, granite, or red rock.

But rock mulches are not needed for these cactus. San Pedro wants to become a tree!

So I concentrate more on re-potting every year with fresh soil in a bigger pot up to 20 gallon. Those produce so much growth I harvest cuttings from them like a farm crop.

Pebbles on the bottom are fine, many people do that for house plants. But the real concern is that there be side slot holes - like nursery pots have. That allows water to exit the bottom side. Bottom only holes can allow standing, stagnant water if the pot is in a pan.

Extreme cases of no drainage
A person once sent me photos of rotting San Pedro left outside in Florida. He used those molded Styrofoam pots that look like terra cotta. They sell them at Home Depot and they do not have any drainage holes at all! I did the same thing -- my helpers filled some huge containers from Home Depot that didn't have drainage holes. I was moving a 100 pound San Pedro stump. It died with rot before I discovered there were no holes on the bottom.
Back in 2004 I had to move my entire collection, so I used those blue 20 gallon tubs from Walmart (they used to be $5) I drilled several 3/4" holes around the bottom sides - to ensure full drainage. The bottoms were drilled with about a dozen 1/2" holes. The side bottom holes assure positive, visible drainage. Now I buy nursery pots in 10 and 20 gallon size used for trees/shrubs. They have nice large slot holes on the side around the base.

Rocks in the pot are perfectly OK. Kate used to use crushed rock instead of perlite. She used the rock mix in clay pots with rare cactus that never grow very large. But 50% perlite makes a lot of sense when you fill a 20 gallon container because 50% - 10 gallons - of rock would make it very heavy to move. Either rocks or perlite provide good drainage.
My perlite mix, potted San Pedro drain so well that my best specimens grow outside. They get drenched by the winter rains - pure sweet water that rids the soil of built up salts. Very few develop rot. More and more of my large ones are being placed outside to let the winter rain clean the soil of salts and left over fertilizer.

I have specimens in the earth, too. Gophers go for them, so that is another story. Large containers work great is what I have discovered. Some are under stretched 30% shade cloth, others are placed where there is not shade net, but where they receive full sun 1/2 the day, shade the rest.

I don't use pebbles or crushed rock.

From: Rafael / January 2010

Hi Verne,

latest plants look great, im really enjoying watching the genetic variation in all the diff andes peruvian torch seedlings. Hate to say it, but it seems like you should be charging me more for these beautiful plants. Amazing value, especially for anyone that has tried aquiring specimens anywhere else and ended up with a moldly mess.

Im enjoying noticing the signs of genetic variation among the seedlings. i see two diff major cultivars, one with 8 ribs, one with 9. in addition, while the rib number is split 50/50, only 2 of the six have beautiful pale emerald green spines on top, while the other four have a nice dark amber/brown color. It makes me want to buy another 6 seedlings just to see if the pattern holds up, or if there are other even rarer permutations i havent seen yet =) Soaking up the patterns of spines and geometrically pleasing outlines is a very relaxing pursuit. especially in moonlight. Might sound crazy but i have to pull myself away from admiring them sometimes.

But enuf unbridled enthusiams for now! I have a 2 questions for you sir about using clonex on cuttings. Recently tracked down a vendor for the gel, took some searching because everyone else is pushing the powdered rootone white stuff.

I have a cutting that has already naturally dried out pretty well. In your opinion would it be better to just put clonex on it now or should i go ahead and make a new cut and apply the clonex to the new cut.

Secondly, regarding when you mention to add a small amount of isoproyl to the container for storing the paint brush so it will remain soft: do you rinse the brush in water before using the clonex to get rid of the alcohol then dry or is it ok to mix the two? thinking should wash but would like to do it same as you since your way is working good.
thanks, Rafael / UF agricultural extension, broward
Dear Rafael,
I germinated thousands of these Wild Andes Peruvian torches a few years ago. One repeat customer like you asked me to select as varied ones (wild andes) as possible when he figured out how much genetic diversity they express. You are the second person to notice this.

[More photos]

This same broadness of variation (spines, fatness, skin color) shows in the larger Peruvian torches I sell -those are from Karel Knize seed shipped directly from Peru.  Only Bridgesii, KK242, San Pedro and a few others are boringly similar because they have been propagated from cuttings for decades.
The genetic differences in apples
Apples have so much genetic diversity that commercial farmers don't use apple seeds. They graft cuttings from the specific variety they want. For example if you germinate the seeds from a golden delicious apple it will most likely produce a small sour apple. Most apples grown from seed turn out to be sour - and historically used for making cider, not eating.

Biologist traced apples back to their origin in central Asia. Here is an edited explanation (will make you roll your eyes):

There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

In the wild, apples grow quite readily from seeds. However, like most perennial fruits, apples are ordinarily propagated asexually by grafting. This is because seedling apples are an example of "Extreme heterozygotes", in that rather than inheriting DNA from their parents to create a new apple with those characteristics, they are instead different from their parents, sometimes radically. Triploids have an additional reproductive barrier in that the 3 sets of chromosomes cannot be divided evenly during meiosis yielding unequal segregation of the chromosomes (aneuploids). Even in the very unusual case when a triploid plant can produce a seed (apples are an example), it happens infrequently, and seedlings rarely survive. Most new apple cultivars originate as seedlings, which either arise by chance or are bred by deliberately crossing cultivars with promising characteristics.

OK, so I am saying that maybe these Peruvian sacred cactus seeds are also unpredictable. There is no commercial interest in sacred cactus so no one is spending millions of dollars to research their genetics. We can assume that people valued trichocereus for thousands of years, propagated them by cuttings based on the particular traits they liked. They fall over naturally and self root; any fool can figure that out and did for thousands of years. Growing them from seed is almost unnatural. In 20+ years I have never encountered San Pedro spontaneously growing from seed.

Right now (winter) my cactus are dormant (it is winter) and I have thousands of Peruvian seedlings to pot up from 2", 4", and even 6". I have spent years patiently tending these KK seeds. In 2010 that effort will pay off as their growth rate rockets.

Many of the wild Andes seedlings were too weak, many too light sensitive, etc. I've lost over a thousand weaklings. But that leaves thousands more that are vigorous. Some are fat, others tall and thin. Spine variations is fascinating --just as you observe.

My Karel Knize seedlings (started in 2006) and the wild Andes (2007) will be my most interesting specimens ever offered for sale. I have to keep some for private stock (take cuttings), but now have more and more of them to share with other collectors.

I can't name these variations -there is no official study of what is growing in remote parts of the Andes. But I can group the plants by appearances (spines, column shape, skin color, etc.) and photograph each population as a "look similar" variety for sale.

A small number of my seed grown San Pedro from Knize are now 12" to 16" and must be saved for propagation by cuttings. These are the only San Pedro I own that were raised from Peruvian seed. They are lovely - fat, dark green, glossy, with short spines.

This stuff is a lot of fun if one is patient. It takes years to produce mature specimens. Sacred Cactus are as sweet as kittens with just as many different faces. They have lived for thousands of years in remote Peruvian mountain valleys before making their way to my farm in California and to your house via FedEx Ground! It is a great honor for me to host their existence. Boy, when I die someone is going to have a fun time with the cactus orchard I have created.

Indole-3-butyric acid (clonex)
IBA is a plant hormone ...an ingredient in many commercial plant rooting horticultural products... should be dissolved in about 75% (or purer) alcohol

The literature says alcohol but is that methyl, ethyl, or isopropyl? Usually they mean ethyl when not specified if I remember correctly. I use iso because I hate methyl and ran out of ethyl. Used to have reagent grade ethyl but that is expensive...and iso is on hand. I just store the brush as is. It gets nasty. Why save the brush? I use a basting brush from the grocery store and each season buy a new one. 2" paint brushes are also inexpensive.

Clonex can be overkill. It is an option but is not essential. Root buds can figuratively explode out like maggots from a corpse. I rooted San Pedro for 18 years without clonex. It is used simply to speed things up - to produce plants with good root systems earlier in the year (so I can sell them sooner).

I've done both. Doesn't seem to matter. You can put it on fresh ones, or dry ones when you put the cutting in dry (not wet) potting soil. On fresh cut tips it dries with the cut end.  I plant cuttings loosely in the soil to allow air circulation. I no longer tamp the soil down around a cutting as that can cause anerobic stuff to grow. Damp soil packed tightly around a cutting increases the incidence of rot.
Here is a private section of the website I don't usually link to. Notice the effects of Clonex with root buds popping out like maggots. rooting101_4.htm

So just set in dry soil loosely. Go at least 4 to 5 inched deep as that seems to helps with support and rooting. Mist the cuttings with water in the evening during hot times of year, even before roots form -- the mist lays droplets on the skin the plant will suck in when it opens its stoma at night. That is my understanding.

Don't waste your time with tiny cuttings. God am I sick of email asking how small a cutting can you root? Can I slice this up into 10 pieces? THE BIGGER THE CUTTING THE FASTER IT TAKES OFF GROWING! Below a certain size they can barely muster up enough energy to root and photosynthesize worth a damn. Yet many arm chair geniuses do not understand "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts." Trust me - a large cutting chopped into slices is like expecting the linear addition of pieces to exceed the exponential growth of the whole.

I just do this once a year in spring. Well, then again in fall at harvest time for cuttings that are too skinny to sell. Oh, ebay people would love to purchase them but they fall below my size standards. Those get "winter rooted". If I leave them on a shelf they will go phototropic and develop yellow tips. Instead put them in dry potting soil under 2 layers of 30% shade cloth, in an unheated greenhouse. Believe it or not they just stand still looking exactly like the day they were picked -- September ones look right now in January like live plants. But they are simply waiting for spring - they will not root in wither.

SEASON IS THE KEY! Size matters!
Cactus go winter dormant, then they wake up in spring. Go with the seasons and they will root just fine. Has to be spring, early summer, warm soil. Take the largest cutting you can for the best results.
Cuttings weighing 10 or 20 pounds can become very impressive specimens in just 12 months. Have fun!

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