If we want to preserve them during this inhospitable period of time and see them flourish and even flower for us next year, there are just a few precautions that we must take.
During winter cactuses and many varieties of succulent plants planted outside quite simply stop growing therefore do not fertilise, although some of the succulent types do continue growing as for instance 'Aeonium', 'Othonna', etc., which must be watered and fertilised.
Note that any succulent plants living indoors or in a green house, in an environment between 15º and 20ºC, also keep growing in winter and it is necessary to water them a little, once or twice a month, but do not fertilise.
There is hardly much work involved so it is fairly easy to remember the following main points:
- To be sure that the plants will flower, you must respect their dormant state during winter and reduce watering and feeding to a minimum.
- At temperatures below 10ºC you must never water cactuses as they might rot. The excess of water in winter is the main cause for deterioration and rotting of succulent plants. It produces fungi.
- Protect from intense cold (below 5ºC) this is the reason for superficial burns and it can kill the plant. If necessary, use a heater in the greenhouse. You must also protect the plants from heavy rainfall or hailstorms.
- If you do not have a heating in the greenhouse, it is best that you do not collect seeds and of course take cuttings or do any grafting.
- If you notice the presence of woodlice or red spiders it is because this is the time of year is when they multiply rapidly. These plagues thrive under a dry surface. The adding of insecticide in autumn, at the time of the last seasonal watering, will prevent this happening.
- Should it be necessary, to cure against woodlice use 'Folithion' o 'Baytroid' (Bayer) or 'Cuprosán' (Sandoz) making spraying twice with an interval of 15 days. This is to deal with the woodlice that invade the top of the plant, as far as the cocooned woodlice that invades the roots are concerned, you should submerge the pot for 15-30 minutes in a mixture of water and insecticide that contains some of the following active ingredients available in Spain:' Fenitrotión', 'Diazinón' o 'Folithión' (Actellic 50E o Folithion 50 EL). A further treatment in spring and then again in autumn is recommended as a precaution.
- In the case of Red Spiders you should use 'Acaricida KB' (Kraft), 'Acaricida' (Compo), 'Triplex Eco' (Asocoa),etc. All are products commonly available in Spain.
- Should you find any snails in the green house, quite simply just spread some 'Metaldehído' pellets over the greenhouse floor.