What Is A Chin Cactus?
Chin cacti are small succulent plants with a bulbous stem and leaves which resemble those of a bunnyloss. They grow from a single root and produce flowers when they reach maturity. These are white or pinkish-red in color, but may vary in size from 1/8 inch to 2 inches long (2 cm). Their petals are usually attached to the plant’s stem, but they may be free floating.
The name “chin” comes from the Latin word “cistus”, meaning “little head”. The term was originally applied to other types of succulents such as prickly pears and Japanese lilies, but it later came to mean any small succulent with a bulbous stem and short-stalked leaves.
Chin cacti have been cultivated since ancient times, probably before recorded history. They were used as ornamental plants and for their medicinal properties. Today, they are grown mainly for their decorative value in home décor.
Some species are now being bred to increase in size so that they will not only look better, but be easier to care for.
How To Grow Chin Cacti?
Watch them carefully for the first couple of weeks after they are planted and water them sparingly. The soil should dry out before you water again.
Ensure that the growing medium is well drained and free of organic matter. Soil with too much humus tends to produce plants that are weak and sickly.
Over time, the growing medium will break down and allow more air into the root zone.
The plants need full sun to grow well. If they do not receive at least six hours of direct sunlight every day, the growth of the plants will be weak and spindly.
While chin cacti can survive in temperatures as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), they grow best when the temperature is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).
Allow the soil to become nearly dry before you water again. Waterlogged soil tends to cause the growth of weak and deformed plants.
Add a balanced fertilizer to the soil every three weeks from early spring to late autumn.
Prune off dead or dying parts of the plant to promote new, strong growth. Dead parts are identified by their lack of color and firm texture.
How To Propagate Chin Cacti?
There are three ways of propagating your chin cacti:
The first method involves taking offsets or pups and removing them from the parent plant. This method is typically used for growing Gasterias, Haworthias and other types of succulents. However, it can be used for growing Echinopsis species such as the Peach Granite.
The offsets are removed with a sharp blade at their base. They are then potted up separately and allowed to grow.
For the second method, take a chin cactus that has at least one eye, or bud. Plant this into an individual pot, then wait until it grows enough to form a top. It is then ready for separation.
The final method involves placing the cuttings directly into separate pots and allowing them to grow. If you wish to use this method, you will need to soak the cuttings first to reduce the risk of rotting. The cuttings are then allowed to dry for a couple of hours before being planted.
These plants are sometimes grafted to speed up the propagation process. This involves joining a young plant to an older, more mature one. The advantages of this method are that the growing period is shorter and there is less risk of failure.
It also enables the nursery to produce more mature plants more quickly.
Buying And Taking Care Of A Chin Cactus
If you choose to buy your chin cacti, there are a few things to look out for. Make sure that the cacti are not too big for their pots. This is an indication that the plant may have outgrown its container and will soon need repotting.
The soil should also only be just covering the roots of the plant. If there is a thick layer of soil, it means that the grower has potted the plant in a pot that is too big.
Look at the roots. The white parts should not have any brown or black spots on them. These indicate that the plant may be rotting inside, which would eventually kill it.
Pay attention to the leaves as well and make sure that they are firm and not drooping.
When you get home, leave the plant in its pot and put it in a warm, sunny spot in your home. Make sure the place gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you live where the temperature regularly falls below 40 degrees, grow your chin cacti in a place that is at least 55 degrees or warmer.
Water your plant when the top few inches of soil becomes dry. Never allow the pot to stand in water.
Chin Cacti With Different Colored Spines
The spines of chin cacti come in a range of different colors. The Echinopsis species is particularly well known for the variety of its coloring. Some of the most common colors to be found on these plants include brown, gold, yellow, red and purple.
There are also some that are multicolored with several different hues being displayed on the spines.
Sources & references used in this article:
Practical Cactus and Succulent Book: How to Choose, Nurture, and Display 200 Cacti and Succulents by F Bailey, Z Allaway – 2019 – books.google.com
The cactus primer by AC Gibson, PS Nobel – 1986 – books.google.com
Essential fatty acids of pitaya (dragon fruit) seed oil by AA Ariffin, J Bakar, CP Tan, RA Rahman, R Karim… – Food Chemistry, 2009 – Elsevier
Cactuses of Big Bend National Park by DB Evans – 1998 – books.google.com