Tips & Tricks
By doc. Mimmo Rocchi
  • This page is devoted to those who are starting a real collection of cactus and want to know the “tricks of the trade” in order to select and grow up at best their beloved plants. The advice here included are efficacious for most of succulents, but as a matter of fact every species, kind and variety comes from different and particular habitat, therefore requiring its special care.
    For this reason the main point is to know the species which the plants we are going to buy belong to, so as to adapt the growing conditions to the particular plant.
    You can directly and freely ask to Pungilandia about any of your doubt or uncertainty, but we suggest, as a good rule, to read up this subject or get in contact with an association of “connoisseurs”.


When You Buy

  • First rule, to observe the plant with great care at basis and apex: in this areas dark brown or black spots could be find, as a sign of infection and putrefaction leading the plant to death.
    Never to buy plants whose extremities are significantly narrowed, with small or absent thorns: they have been grown in insufficiently illuminated environments and suffered the so-called aetiologic process which irreversibly modify their deportment.
    If you are looking for very valuable plants, especially uncommon species or variety, you must be absolutely certain of the seller’s competence, good faith and earnestness: the economic difference between an uncommon variety and a spread one is usually substantial, but the morphologic difference could hardly be noticeable or purposely modified.
    It is the case, for instance, of Astrophitum coahuilense and the common Astrophitum myriostygma, which are unlikely recognizable while their value is considerably different.
    Last but not least the purity of plants: what is absolutely necessary is to gather informations about and buy them from thrustable collectors and retailers; the risk is to pay a mongrel at the same price of a pure race.

The Soil

  • If you are still a novice, remember to use for your plants a specific mould: you can find it at florists’ and department stores’.
    Do NEVER use common mould, owing to its excess of nitrogen - which is good for ordinary plants but really dangerous for your cactus health.
    As you will be more experienced you can prepare the mould on your own, according to the kind of plant it is addressed to; but if you are not in the mood for getting sand, peat, clay, etc. mixed, you only have to order Pungilandia a special mould suitably prepared according to the particular plant you are growing up.


  • Success or failure in growing cactus definitely are determined by the skilfulness in watering.
    Cactus suffer and are lead to death both by exaggerated watering and by doing it out of growing season - which usually comprehend a period from April to the end of August.
    Different species evidently have different needs, but as a good rule watering should be done two or three days after the groung gets completely dry.
    At that very moment your cactus need generous watering, enough not to flow down the bottom hole.
    Moreover, take care NOT to leave water stagnating in the mat.


  • Use ONLY specific compost fertilizers with cactus, adding just a bit of iron sulphate available at florists’.
    We suggest not to exaggerate in fertilizing - as plants could suffer irreversible damages - and to read manufacturers’ instruction: half of that doses is enough.
    Pungilandia manufactures a range of specific fertilizers perfectly suitable for every variety of cactus: only an adequate fertilizing concurs to the healty best growth of your succulents.

The Pots

  • You can use both plastic vases or flower-pots always remembering the necessity of more watering in the case of porous pots which facilitate evaporation.

Top of page