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Cacti Root Systems

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I have several cacti seedlings that stall and simply seem to stop growing.  Take this guy below.  When I unearthed it for repotting, the root system is enormous for its relative size.

 

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Compare that to these healthy seedlings that are not much different in size, but their root systems are microscopic in comparison.  The root ball on these would be no bigger than a ping pong ball. 

 

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Now I don't think my grow medium would be too different from each other - and they would receive pretty similar watering and environment.  What gives?  Why the massive root systems for so little result?

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Hey mate, are these different types of seedlings or species or the same? Different species have different growth rates, both in regards to the body and the roots. Then, the soil definitely looks different in structure, which could make a big difference too. Even if it's the same ingredients, their structure might be different or there might be additional add-ons in one soil that aren't visible, e.g. clay dust is often added to improve the root formation. Also, soil pH might be different, which could make rooting easier or more difficult. Position in the greenhouse/garden/environment might play a part too. A spot that's in full sun means less soil humidity and one that's  more in the shade would provide more humidity in the soil. Both have effect on the roots.

 

And yeah, nutrient availability or fertilizer composition might be different. For example, I use extracts and fertilizers containing silica because it improves the root formation dramatically. Lots of ways to look into this and hard to tell what the culprit was. Bye Eg

 

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Different species admittedly in this example but all tricho crosses of something or another.  It's good to know it doesn't all come down to soil quality as I think i'm pretty consistent with my mix these days.

 

Would it be reasonable to speculate that a bigger species might try and scope out a larger area before it even begins to think about growing? 

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it might well have to do with the size/shape of the pot and/or if the seedlings are individually or group potted.. first seedling is looking like it was needing a bigger pot, but I could be wrong 

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