How To Grow San Pedro Cactus
While the San Pedro Cactus originated in the Andes Mountains at altitudes of 3000 meters or more, it can now be found being cultivated all throughout the world. This mighty plant can grow extremely tall and give off a powering presence in any garden, but that’s not the only benefits you can reap from growing your own.
Why Would You Want A San Pedro Cactus?
If you aren’t familiar with the San Pedro Cactus, you might not know that the very presence of this plant has been associated with religious settings for over 3,000 years. In America and Peru researchers have even found ancient carvings and remnants of this plant spread all around.
The natives used to cut the stem of the cactus in small slices and boil them. Once the mixture cooled it would then be consumed like a coffee or tea.
It was their believing that the plant gave off sacred psychoactive effects. The plant was held in high regards along with coca and tobacco plants. In fact, this plant has become so well known over the years due to its psychoactive properties. While the plant’s structure produces a number of alkaloids, mescaline is without a doubt the most well known.
Mescaline is a highly potent psychedelic alkaloid that has been known to produce similar effects to that of LSD.
Mescaline not only alters one’s sense of time and self-awareness, but it can completely change the thinking process and induce physically distorted images. The psychedelic effects that mescaline produce comes from its structure and makeup. In fact, mescaline’s structure is very similar to that of dopamine and serotonin. When consumed it makes the molecules work in as similar manner, thus producing these highly potent effects.
Starting The Growing Process
So as you can see, wide numbers of individuals cultivate the San Pedro Cactus for three main reasons. They either use it for ornamental purposes, to give off religious significance, or to reap its psychedelic benefits. Whatever the situation is, the plant can be cultivated right in your own home garden or greenhouse, as long as you know what you are doing. To begin with the germination process there are a few things that you are going to need to gather ahead of time.
You will need a plastic box, fine sand, potting soil, pebbles, perlite, and San Pedro Cactus seeds. Keep in mind that the majority of these ingredients will be utilized to create a potting mix for the seeds. The mix will consist of 50 percent of the potting soil, 20 percent fine sand, 20 percent pebbles, and 20 percent perlite.
Preparing The Plastic Box
Before you get your potting soil all laid out, you need to prepare the plastic box. This is a simply process, as all you are going to do is drill several small holes in the bottom. You can either do this with a drill bit or just take a knifed and puncture the bottom of the box.
These holes will pretty much be nothing more than a drain. They will allow excess water to escape and prevent it from building up. You never want too much water in the box at one given time, as this can less to root rot.
After preparing the holes you want to take your 20 percent of the pebbles, mix them into two separate piles (equal sizes), and scatter one of the piles across the bottom of the box. This will form your first layer. Now, you will take your soil, sand, perlite, and other pile of pebbles, mix them together, and scatter that mixture over the first layer of pebbles.
Keep in mind, that before putting the remainder of the mixture in the box some expert growers might recommend sterilizing the mixture, but this is really just a personal preference. The sterilization will ensure that all the microorganisms are removed from the mixture.
This is usually accomplished by heating the mixture on an oven at 80 degrees Celsius for one hour. A small amount of water will need to be added to mixture in order to keep is slight saturated throughout the boiling process.
Now, back to the box. Once the mixture is spread of the initial layer of pebbles, you will be ready to sow the San Pedro Cactus seeds. To accomplish this task all you have to do is place a few seeds on the top of mixture, take a wooden skewer or stick, and push the seeds down at least a few millimeters into the soil.
Know The Right Temperatures And Growing Environments
Now, this is where the process becomes a bit now scientific. It is always important to ensure that you keep the seeds in a location where the temperature is going to be 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. It never hurts to place the seeds and box near a heating source the reach the temperatures, but in doing so you have to be extremely careful about drying out the soil.
Humidity is another environmental factor that you have to consider when you are going through the germination process.
While the cactus will eventually be able to handle the dry conditions, the seeds cannot at this point. Throughout the entirety of the germination process always try to keep the environment as humid as possible. Some individuals will utilize humidifiers, whereas others will just mist the box.
Whatever method you choose is up to you, but either should suffice. In addition to this, you are also going to need proper lighting. Never put the box and seeds in direct sunlight at this point! Artificial lighting will be your best option during the early stages.
It is best to put the seeds and box under artificial lighting for sixteen to eighteen hours a day. And, you want to do this for a period of two to three months. After the first two to three months, the seeds and box can be placed in indirect sunlight, but never right in the direct sunlight. It will take an entire year before the plant can be placed in direct sunlight.