Cactus cuttings should heal first before being planted in ground

Q: I want to propagate my prickly pear and bunny ear cactus. Should I place the cuttings immediately in the ground or in a pot and plant them in the ground later?

A: You can plant cuttings from them directly into the ground. Forget the pot. It’s not necessary. Wait until March or April, when it gets warmer.

Remove a pad from the plant you are propagating and let the pad with the cut end heal in the shade for about a week. To do this, take a sharp, sterilized knife and bend the pad over without breaking it.

Touch the sharpened edge of the knife to the suture where the pad joins the mother plant. The pad should pop right off at the suture. If not, gently push the sharp edge of the knife into the suture and slice through it smoothly.

If you really want to guard against infections in the pad, dust the cuts of the pad with a fungicide such as Thriam, copper sulfate or Bordeaux. When you put the pad in the shade to heal, lean it against something so it is upright or the pad will begin curving if you lay it flat.

Mix the soil where you are planting with compost and add water. Stick the pad so the flat sides of the pad face east and west. Sink the pad about one-third of its length into the soil and water it once. After that, water it about every three weeks, and it will begin rooting into the soil where it is stuck.

Q: I have a 3-year-old passion fruit tree in my garden. It started bearing fruit that grew fine and was mature enough to eat in February. In spring, I also had more flowers blooming on the same plant, but these flowers never had any fruit. The same thing again this past summer, but the flowers are not fully developing and are stopping at just little buds.

A: Passion fruit is a semi-tropical vine that can’t handle freezing temperatures very well. It also likes moderate temperatures so it will have difficulties during the hot summer months. It grows very nicely in the tropics and moderate temperatures of high elevations in Africa.

Unless you have a warm microclimate in your landscape, these plants will show serious damage or die from winter freezing temperatures. If you can grow oranges in your yard, you should be OK growing passion fruit vine. Passion fruit may have difficulty setting fruit during the summer months because of high temperatures and low humidity.

Passion fruit definitely does not like soils with poor drainage. If this is the case, and you don’t do anything about it, the vine will always have problems and probably die. Make sure the soil is amended with compost at the time of planting, and cover the area around the vine to a distance of about 3 feet with woodchips so that they decompose into the soil.

Passion fruit flowers are beautiful but they need help sometimes to produce fruit or to produce larger fruit. You may need to hand pollinate the flowers, transferring the pollen from one flower to the next, a job normally done by a variety of different bees.

You may need to grow two different vines and transfer the pollen from the flower of one vine to the flower of another vine. This helps prevent what’s called “self-incompatibility” and failure of fruit to develop.

Passion fruit germinates easily from fresh seed and does well on its own roots. Passion fruit propagated by cuttings has self-incompatibility between flowers and will not set fruit.

Also, prune the vine by removing side shoots after the fruit is removed. This helps the new growth growing from the older wood of the vine where flowers are produced and keeps the vine renewed for more production.

Besides trellising this vine and pruning it back occasionally after fruiting, apply wood chip mulch at its base to preserve soil moisture and keep the fruit from being dropped if the soil gets to dry. Fertilize the plant lightly after it flowers by applying a tomato fertilizer to the soil around the plant and water it in.

Q: What are the best practices to use if I decide to leave calamondin fruits on the ground under the tree to decompose? Or is it better to put the fallen fruit in the trash?

A: Calamondin, called calamansi in the Filipino community, is a small citrus resembling a lime but golden yellow inside. This citrus is native to the Philippines.

Fruit can turn orange in color but is frequently harvested when green but the interior flesh is a golden yellow. We have about eight calamondin on our farm in the Philippines where we have a tropical climate, and they do very well there.

Let’s be clear about growing citrus in the Las Vegas Valley. Many citruses, since they are semi-tropical, share a risk of losing the fruit, or possibly the tree, during some cold winters and early spring freezing temperatures. There are parts of the valley that are too cold most years for even the hardiest of citrus. Other areas with warmer winter microclimates can grow them. As long as you are comfortable with that possibility, have fun and grow them.

In my opinion, all fruit trees should have the area under them free from rotting, mature fruit. Very young fruit is usually not a problem if it falls on the ground and decomposes.

Immature fruit thinned from the trees can be dropped on the ground to decompose with no problems. Mature fruit dropped on the ground may present a different issue.

If this were a peach, fig, apricot or plum tree, we would most certainly clean up the fallen mature fruit that dropped on the ground. There is a pest called the dried fruit beetle that becomes a problem infesting soft, mature fruit growing on the tree if fallen fruit is not picked up from the ground.

With citrus, the only pests to worry about are rats and mice. To be on the safe side, I would pick up fallen fruit and dispose of them rather than leave them on the ground to rot and attract varmints.

By the way, calamondin is easily grown from seed and does well on its own roots rather than purchasing it grafted like most commercial citrus trees.

Q: Several of my bamboo shoots died completely, and now they are all starting to yellow and have a white film on them. Any suggestions?

A: You didn’t say which bamboo it is, but I assume it’s one of the bamboo tolerant of our winter temperatures. The so-called “running bamboo” rather than the clumping types represent those that tolerate our climate better.

The white film is sometimes called a bloom of wax on the outside of the stem and is normal. If these are instead white fuzziness in patches and appear to be a problem, then you might be looking at mealybugs. But I think this white film has more to do with the naturally occurring wax produced by many plants rather than a pest problem.

Yellowing can be caused by water not draining from the soil around the roots and suffocating them because of poor drainage or watering too often. You may be thinking that this plant needs water all the time, which it doesn’t. The soil needs to be kept moist for good growth, but let the soil breathe so that the roots and rhizomes can get air.

Invest $10 in a soil moisture meter for houseplants. As long as the soil is somewhat soft, push the probe slowly into the soil and get a soil moisture reading at the 4- to 6-inch depth.

I would not irrigate until the meter on this gauge reads approximately “6” at this depth in three locations. On these gauges, 10 is sopping wet and No. 1 is totally dry.

The yellowing could be a soil alkalinity problem, but I think instead it is probably poor drainage. When planting bamboo, amend the soil with compost at the time of planting and cover the soil around the plant with woodchips out to a distance of 2 to 3 feet. If drainage is a big problem even after amending the soil, plant it on a mound.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert and professor emeritus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. Send questions to Extremehort@aol.com.

Local Videos
Butterflies At The Springs Preserve
The butterfly habitat is now open at the Springs Preserve. Learn about butterflies and take in the peaceful surroundings. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (pullout)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids Read Books To Dogs At The Animal Foundation In Las Vegas
Kids from local Las Vegas elementary schools took part, Thursday, in a program at the Animal Foundation, where they read books to dogs. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pioneer Trail highlights historic locations in West Las Vegas
The Pioneer Trail, a 16-site route of historically significant locations in Las Vegas, starts at the Springs Preserve and snakes east until it reaches above the brim of downtown. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Vegas Warm Weather Hits Las Vegas Valley
Between Feb. 20-21, parts of the Las Vegas Valley were hit with 7.5" of snow. Less than a week later, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70s. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest at the VA Hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II Army veteran, was arrested in November after he caused a ruckus at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas and stole his driver's car keys. He was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, and the charges will be dropped after 60 days. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Claytee White talks about Black History Month
An interview with Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on the Moulin Rouge and a segregated Vegas
Former employees of the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel-casino in Nevada, talk about what it was like in the brief six months the casino was open. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices
Home prices rose in every ZIP code in the Las Vegas Valley in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to SalesTraq. Prices grew fastest in older, more centrally located areas. But prices were highest in the suburbs. The top three ZIP codes for price growth were 89119 (29.8%), 89146 (25%) and 89030 (24.6%). The top three ZIP codes for median sales prices were 89138 ($464,500), 89135 ($420,500) and 89052 ($370,000).
Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP advises motorists to take caution during Las Vegas snowstorm
NHP advised motorists to take caution during the snowstorm in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life Videos
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Army medic’s Afghanistan story told in new book
The graphic novel “Machete Squad” is based on journals written by Las Vegan Brent Dulak.
Las Vegas man talks about losing his wife
Dwayne Murray, 37, lost his wife, LaQuinta while she was at Centennial Hills Hospital. A jury awarded him $43 million last week after it said the hospital failed to perform the standard of care in administering a drug for her sickle cell disease.
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing