Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cati Collecting: Hack A Large Collection- Fast

If you find yourself bitten by the Cacti & Succulent collecting bug and want to start a collection there are many ways to acquire one in a relatively short amount of time. Here in Chicago I don't have many options and I can't walk into a great Cacti nursery and browse the plants. Here's how I started my collection and how it got to be too much.

I check all of the big box stores whether it's Home Depot or WalMart or Lowe's or Menards if the place sells plants I will go and take a look at what they're offering. You never know what you're going to find. Make sure to look over the dish gardens you find in such places, some times they have one or two nicer plants mixed in with the common one. I'll buy it for the one plant and give the others away if I already have enough of them. Right now I'm particularly fond of shopping at Home Depot because they're carrying plants from Altmans and as far as I've seen the selection is very good. If you're going to shop at big box stores try to make nice with the person who's in charge of the plants and ask them when the new shipments come in. The best plants are the first to go, so get there first. Think outside the box and look around in your area and pay attention to where you can find C&S plants. I picked up some last summer and this Christmas from Walgreens. In my area WM is the cheaper place as their C&S start at ninety-nine cents.

Another way to get a large collection fast is to propagate the plants you do buy. Take some leaf cuttings and make more of what you have. Take your extras and trade them with other plant hackers. Ask around and see who will give you cuttings of their plants so you can start your own Cacti & Succulent collection. Going a C&S forum and get to know people and do some trades. Join a C&S group near you and go to meeting ask if they have fund raisers and go shop at it. You'll probably find plants there that are very rare in retail.

Look at the seed racks of stores near you I found two stores carrying seeds last spring and start from seed. If you shop on-line check out places like Amazon and ebay or see if anyone is trading seeds on gardening forums like GardenWeb.

If you want a nice collection of plants you'll have to do some leg work and have various sources that you check up on often. But be responsible, many popular C&S are endangered so don't buy plant that are collected from the wild. Ask if you're not sure and ask again if you don't believe.

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