Growing a succulents garden can be tough because there is always the danger of pricking your fingers with their thorns. Therefore, it is important that you know how to handle cactus properly so you will enjoy taking care of your succulents. In fact, we daresay your love for succulents will grow once you’ve practiced ways how to prevent injuring yourself when planting cacti.
Use Nitrile-Dipped Gloves
A lot of you may be using a pair of leather gloves to work with your cactus. That’s where you’re wrong. The leather is made of animal skin, which means that the spines of the cactus will cling to the leather much like it does to human skin. Although the leather provides some protection, this is not enough for the spines not to be able to pierce through the material.
Nitrile-coated gloves are basically fabric gloves with a nitrile coating around the fingers. Nitrile is a synthetic (kind of plasticky) material that works better at protecting your hands than leather. Of course, long spines still have a chance of cutting through the material but you will eliminate the need to tame those tiny, hair-like spines on the cactus.
To make this work better, you have to use two gloves on each hand. Put one on top of the other for better protection from cutting your fingers. You can handle the cacti even without tools when you use nitrile-dipped gloves.
Use Silicone Tongs
Do you know those silicone tongs we use when cooking? We can use that for gardening, too. If the cactus spines are too large and too sharp, no nitrile-coated gloves can protect our fingers. You would need to use a pair of silicone tongs. Why silicone? Silicone is a soft material that will handle delicate cacti right. Unlike metal and wooden tongs, silicone tongs have soft edges that will not damage the plant.
When you’re using tongs, make sure to handle the cactus lightly. Don’t squeeze on the tongs too hard because it will bruise the succulent. It may even cut a portion of the succulent and that isn’t good for the plant’s health.
This is a safe way to handle cactus because it keeps the plant away from your body and your hands. It prevents accidental cutting and pricking of your fingers, which usually happens when we’re moving succulents and placing them beside each other.
Use a Towel
If you don’t have access to nitrile-covered gloves or silicone tongs, your best bet would be a clean towel. All you need to do is to wrap the towel a couple of times on the cactus and handle it gently when moving or planting the succulent. Remember not to grip the plant too tightly because you can damage it or you can accidentally bruise or cut it. Also, it’s for your own protection. Gripping a cactus too hard will result in the spines cutting through the towel and piercing your fingers.
Planting cactus may be a little bit more difficult than other succulents but they are great to look at so hopefully, they can find a place in your home garden.