prepping for winter [UK]

Do-it-yourself projects such as greenhouse or shadehouse builds and related topics.
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Posts: 57
Joined: Sat May 30, 2020 3:49 pm
Location: UK

prepping for winter [UK]

Post by prickle »

this winter is going to be my first winter as a cacti lover and i feel unprepared, so i am starting to think about a plan now before it comes from nowhere. i was hoping you guys could offer some knowledge to help me through it.

my collection:
4x Echinocactus grusonii
1x lophophora williamsii
2x opuntia ficus-indica (probably. it is some kind of monstrose)
1x trichocereus bridgesii
1x trichocereus pachanoi

my budget is very tight so i am looking at building a small grow house style greenhouse for them. i have a grow tunnel i was going to use as a roof and i was going to build a wooden base and slight walls to raise the roof high enough to fit them. the tunnel i have is ~50cm tall, which is about the same as my tallest cactus+pot, so i only have to raise it a little, so would be somewhat like a tray.
the tunnel is long enough that i could cut it in half and double layer the plastic sheet and put bubble wrap between the layers. i was also planning to line the inside with cardboard, polystyrene and whatever else i can find that might help insulate. i also have some reflective mylar i can use to help get the most sunlight in there.

as well as the cold i will have to worry about moisture in the air, which gets quite high in UK. i do not know how to address that problem yet.

any help would be greatly appreciated.
thank you <3
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Re: prepping for winter [UK]

Post by esp_imaging »

Keep them indoors, on cool windowsills or even just in a cool room. If it's cool enough, they don't grow, so don't etiolate, so don't need light.
A small diverse collection of Cacti & Succulents
Based in the UK
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Re: prepping for winter [UK]

Post by NiklasTyreso »

But You need to take the cactuses inside every time the temperature goes close to 0 degrees C.

They can be in a few degrees below frezing for som hours, but not for several days.

A greenhouse is ok in the winter if you have a heater that keep the the temp above freezing.
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Re: prepping for winter [UK]

Post by DaveW »

If it is a cold period any cacti in an unheated greenhouse can be covered with a couple of layers of newspapers. If the plants are not growing, since they should be dormant in winter because you have stopped watering around the end of September until about mid March in the UK, you can leave the newspapers on night and day for a week during a particularly cold snap. They will come to no harm since they only etiolate due to lack of light if in growth. Usually if the temperature rises during the day when the sun comes out you can take the papers off again until night time.

My Lophophora's go through the winter in my unheated greenhouse in the UK which drops below freezing at times. However when watering stops they dehydrate to thicken their sap as a form of antifreeze and Lophophora's are the only cacti I know that can feel soft and squishy in winter and yet not be rotten.

Echinocactus grusonii can be a bit tender when young and tend to cold spot due to humidity on cold nights, but a newspaper over the top at night usually protects it. As it ages past about 6 inches diameter grusonii seems to become more cold resistant.
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Location: UK

Re: prepping for winter [UK]

Post by prickle »

thank you all very much for the replies! <3

i will make a small greenhouse for them and i will wrap them in newspapers and keep them as insulated as possible. i guess the newspaper would help absorb some moisture too.
i will keep a thermometer in the greenhouse and in the coldest windowsill i have and transfer them inside when conditions get too cold or wet.

looks like i will be on my toes this winter!

thank you all very much for the help <3
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