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Absolute Defender

Trichocereus pupping triggers?

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Hello! I recently brought home a couple of tall San Pedros from a local cactus farm and in the past month they have started to pup from every tip, including from the pups that were already present. All of the growth looks nice & healthy, I am just curious as to what may have induced this, getting to know the plants better. My other cacti, including other Trichos, have not done this when I brought them home. These were repotted by me, get a bit more direct sun now than at the farm, and I also live in a somewhat cooler environment than where they had been growing. These have the typical PC trait of white hairs on flowers (the farm had some larger specimens), but also have the v-notch above the areoles and are overall much more robust cacti than other PC I have seen. Wondering if anyone has come across non-PC Trichos or hybrids that have the white hairs as these seem a little different to me. Thanks!

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Yeah, it happens a lot that cacti that are grown together at the same place tend to pup at the same time. Not entirely sure what causes it, but I think it might have to do with their inner clock. They somehow sense when it´s a good time to pup. Would be interesting to see if two clones of the same plant would pup at the same time, even if grown at two completely different places. I think they´d probably not as it seems to be directly affected by the weather or light.

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Interesting to consider, I would imagine they wouldn't sync up also (if grown in separate places) but it would be fascinating if they did! I'm up for the experiment... I brought these plants home from the same place but a few weeks apart and they both pupped simultaneously. So maybe a weather trigger. There was a period of heavy rains. I was mostly surprised & curious that they both decided to pup from every tip at once, is that common? I've only been growing Trichos for a few years & hadn't seen that before, mostly basal pupping.

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I think yowie has the white hairs and a few more non PC do , well we could call them grey or silver too :3 

 

Welcome aboard AD !! 

 

pretty sure scopulicola does the grey hair thing too

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Always a pleasure and wishing you all you seek in the fun of plantaceous and ethnoceous knowledgarea ! :) 

 

My gardening enjoyment would be significantly diminished by a few orders of magnitudes if it were not for this gold dust sanctuary so I hope it opens awesome paths your way too and gives you the same fulfillment and pleasure !

 

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It seems especially strange that your cactus has made a pup immediately on top of another small pup.

 

I've never seen them pup from the tip without the tip somehow being damaged.

 

Maybe there's some bug or snail or infection that has damaged all the tips at once?

 

 

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Hmmm... looking again you now have me wondering. I can see yet another pup beginning to form through an areole (last picture), one of the new pups on top had a pup, and the remaining pup that hadn't pupped is pupping also! The pups are exclusively pupping from their tips, no crazy pup explosions yet so not sure if this could be witches' broom or if that is typically more dramatic. Almost certainly not snails or insects. I have moved my other plants away from them, not sure how aggressively I need to quarantine something like this or if it's even a real concern. I'm very open to suggestions on how to proceed as in how far away from others they should be just in case, what to look for as things proceed, etc. These plants are otherwise totally healthy and happy so I'm not convinced it's an infection yet, I just thought they were likely reacting to a change in climate and possibly due to having new soil & nutrients after being root bound for what I'd say was probably years at their former home....all the other similar clones at the cactus farm looked very healthy, too, many very large and well established specimens. Nothing happened to these that was any different than any of my other Trichos recently and they have all been living close to each other. If they are a potential threat to the collection I am willing to get rid of them of course, they are really lovely cactus and the biggest specimens I currently have, but sometimes you just gotta sacrifice for the greater good!

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My hope is, of course, that they are simply seeking to become more vast and mighty now that they have better conditions! That they may simply be feeling the thrill of freedom now that their roots have room and getting a little excited about things, but time will tell.... I did fertilize them lightly and now that I think of it a couple of my indoor cactus have shifted their growth a little since they were fertilized also. Unrelated species with no contact with my Trichos. Anyone have a similar experience? Pups on pups?

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Recently most of mine have pupped at the same time.  It was raining a lot but even those that were covered started to pup.  No visible damage to the tip, maybe the humidity is one of the factors.

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I've had this happen (pup pupping two other pups for no apparent reason) when I was experimenting with heavier nitrogen feeding. What's the NPK ratio of your ferts?

 

Here's an older pic of the cactus I'm talking about, the 2 pups have developed nicely since and didn't pup again.

large.IMG_20170705_104119-1741x1731.jpg.

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The stuff I used was 4-6-3 and a fairly mild dose, though it was a soil additive slow release type and there were heavy rains for a couple weeks, maybe it all broke down quickly. Your picture does look similar, did it only happen on that one pup? None of the new pups are growing pups, just the ones that were already present and all the tips.

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Yeah it's the only pup this happened to, the pup was already there before the nitrogen feeding and it started pupping the 2 new ones shortly after.

I've had some base pups on another cactus after the N feeding, and another one just had tip burn.

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oh wow i came here thinking i was gna see some guys jizzing on cacties ,,

 

i think nitrogen induces pupping but can also induce holes if not careful or so I'm told,, I'd better scroll up n see if y'allready said that :)

 

:o .. dang memory 

Edited by ☽Ţ ҉ĥϋηϠ₡яღ☯ॐ€ðяئॐ♡Pϟiℓℴϟℴ
no recollection of having previously posted earlier
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I did a little detective work to see if there had been any identical changes I made for these 2 and I am pretty sure I figured it out. I was even able to check in on another clone of this plant I bought for a friend and it did not in fact do the same thing at the same time @Evil Genius, though it was also brought to the same climate. What the ones that pupped have in common is that they were both uppotted into soil that had a little slow release fertilizer in it and then it rained like crazy for 2 weeks. I had repotted my friend's cactus also, but didn't use the soil additive. My theory is that the rain caused the fertilizer to release all at once and flooded the plants with nutrients. They keep growing like crazy but have not continued pupping and in fact a couple areoles that looked like they were going to stopped. In other strange news though I went outside this morning and one of the pups was weeping! No dew, no visible damage... @DualWieldRake, maybe you're right & someone has in fact been jizzing on my cactus!!!! Now maybe we have to try and see if it works. Isn't getting off on cactus kind of the purpose of this forum anyway? ;)

pup.jpg

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Hello. As Quixote says, the primary reason for pupping of this kind is damage to the apical meristem. It appears to be the case and I would rule out any other factors as incidental. Many of the plants show callousing on the tip underneath the pups (i.e. post 8, pic 1). The tall ones also show scarring at intervals along the stem, indicating that the plants are being damaged annually at some point in the growth cycle (see first pic, plant on left, has scarring and has in fact terminated 12 inches from the bottom, and has scarring again another 12 or so inches up, and again at the tip - this indicates the plant has been through three growth cycles, growing about 1ft per year and being damaged early in the growth phase/spring in each cycle). Some of my plants do the same thing due to environmental factors. In my case they are either damaged by early spring frost (on sensitive plants like azurocereus) or by bugs on trichs (earwigs or snails). In most cases the damage is not significant enough to remove the apical meristem and the tip continues to grow out, leaving an annual scar that can be used to track the amount of growth per year. However if the damage does remove the apical meristem, because cactus grow from the top more or less, the plant will pup from the closest areoles remaining to the tip of the plant. In this case you get a situation resembling what you have in your garden. This is what has happened to your plants. Once plants start pupping in this way it is very common that the new pups also show a tendency to pup as well out of the areoles on their own tips, and you get the pup-on-pup scenario you have described. This likely has to do with the redistribution of growth hormones to the new apical meristems the plant has formed, its triggers for pupping having been hormonally activated. What you have there is response to damage that has upset the normal growth and behavioural pattern of your plants. Ultimately this will slow the growth down and is less than ideal. A pup-on-pup takes forever to grow out into a decent branch. You should look for what it is that is periodically damaging these plants, although I suspect the annual damage-pattern is possibly unique to the farm they were growing at, since it is clear that this has happened across their lifetime. You probably just picked them up after the damage occurred and in fact if they has been cut for sale prior to you collecting this may have prevented the meristem from growing out in time to offset the damage as they may have done in previous years. The best way to grow attractive large plants is to maintain the integrity of the apical meristem and have the plants pup naturally from the base, making a neat candelabra shape. This produces fatter, more stable, more attractive plants. Good luck. The plants look happy, it's just the early season mechanism of damage you need to identify.

 

Long story short, it's not a result of jizzing.

 

 

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Very interesting! I would think it might have happened to the other clone I bought as well though, but these 2 were in a different area of the farm... if they do it again next year then I'm really going to be scratching my head about it

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My guess is that they won't, the idea that something may have been regularly damaging them at the farm makes sense to me. Maybe from annual frost? It was in the desert, but it still gets cold there and I doubt that particular farm has any serious winter protection for the plants. Bought them in spring.

Edited by Absolute Defender

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Not all types of cactus are affected the same. Some are more sensitive to cold, some are more palatable to bugs (i.e. scops and bridgessii have been more palatable to earwigs for me; very spiny plants protect the meristem by a cluster of spines etc.); age, aspect (i.e. microclimate), soil conditions (i.e. quantities of debris bugs might be living in) and so on. It is the case that unless you have a 'terminating' type cactus (i.e. see the 'sausage plant' which does naturally pup from the tip each year), trichocereus will not pup in this way unless the tip has been damaged, of that there is no question (although very rarely there will be a mutation of some kind but this would not be consistent across the whole garden). If they do it again next year it will be because the same or similar mechanism of damage has occurred. Indeed the plant on the right in the first pic shows the very distinct 'bending' that a meristem will get during damage, as one side continues to grow faster than the other before the tip terminates altogether, producing a somewhat hooked appearance.

 

Spring is the time for damage to occur. The days are warm which causes the plants' growth hormones to be activated, and they develop sensitive new growth that grows only slowly at first. At the same time the nights can still be quite cold, and bugs are becoming more active. Early spring is the time for damage of this kind because later in the year the growth is faster and hardier.

 

It will be either frost (or even a severe non-frosty cold snap) or an insect that has an annual life-cycle that kicks off in spring. It's not that the plants are collaborating to pup at the same time it has to do with a consistency in the environmental factors.

 

I've attached a photo so you can compare. On this plant there is distinct annual scarring. This is because earwigs were eating the tip of the plant as it started to grow in spring. When the cause of damage was removed (by natural causes - hotter weather) the plant powered on and the damage grew out, and you can see how there are v-scars separated by unscarred growth - the plant's annual cycle. Had the plant not been large and healthy the earwigs might have removed the meristem and the plant would have terminated, as yours have done. This happened to me a lot early on in my garden but abated over time.

 

Your plants do not show progressive growing-out of scarring. I suspect cold may be a critical factor. If it does not happen to all clones it is possible some are hardier than others.

bugs.png

Edited by Micromegas
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