ISI Schick Hybrids
About the Descriptions
The descriptions are limited to basic colors, color patterns and central-spine lengths. When coupled with the photographs these can serve as diagnostic to help identify a plant should it lose its label.
Accuracy of Identification
One should bear in mind that thousands of Echinopsis hybrids have been created by various hybridizers and are in circulation. Therefore, resemblance to one of the 129 Schick hybrids introduced to date through the ISI may be coincidental. Likewise, some nurseries are in the practice of offering progeny of particular hybrids under the name of the parent cultivar. This is both inaccurate and misleading as the progeny of open-hybrids (or even self-pollination) may bear little resemblance to the parent. Every effort has been made to assure that our plants are properly identified and labeled.
Several numbers are given at the end of each description: ISI number (International Succulent Introductions) indicates the year of introduction and, following the dash, the number on the introductions list for that year. Information associated with ISI numbers is the most readily accessible in past March-April issues of the Cactus and Succulent Journal or in the convenient Directory compiled by Harry Mays and available for $15 postage paid.
HBG number (Huntington Botanical Gardens) is the Huntington’s accession number. Huntington accessions have been numbered consecutively as received into the permanent collection starting with # 1 in 1930 and now exceeding # 93000.
Lastly, Bob Schick’s hybrid cross number is given. This indicates Bob’s consecutive cross number as recorded in his records. Following the dash is a clone number assigned to an individual deemed worthy of observation and possible introduction. For example, a given cross usually resulted in a single fruit. Typically fewer than 50 individuals germinate and are numbered with the cross number followed by the dash and an individual clone number. Most individuals of a cross are eventually discarded. Worthy individuals are retained and may be introduced. For example, E. ‘Rosalie’, Schick # 77-4, is the fourth individual resulting from Bob’s 77th recorded cross. This was the only individual of this cross that was retained. It also happens to be the earliest of Bob’s hybrids to be introduced through the Huntington. It is named after Bob’s mother. Clearly, Bob was very selective to find a hybrid worthy of the name after 77 tries!
Echinopsis hybrids are among the easiest cacti to grow. However, the following guidelines may be useful.
Container or Ground. Echinopsis hybrids tend to have very vigorous root systems and become pot-bound within a year or two. Plastic or other non-porous pots will help keep roots hydrated but frequent repotting is best to keep plants healthy and flowering. In suitable climates, they can make fine additions to a xeric garden. Soil should typically be amended to improve drainage with the addition of 1/8 to 1/4" pumice, volcanic cinders (scoria), or other course gravel. Raised beds can also help with drainage.
Watering and Fertilizing. Plants in containers are at the mercy of the waterer. They will tolerate extended periods of drought but growth and flowering will be reduced. For optimal growth, potted plants should be watered thoroughly on a more or less weekly basis during the warmer months. We fertilize with every watering with 2/5 the recommended strength Liquinox (12-5-5) but any balanced fertilizer with a similar percentage of nitrogen will do.
Light. Echinopsis hybrids are sensitive to sunburn. Our shade structure is covered with shade cloth of about 50% density. Plants in the ground generally appreciate some protection from the hot midday and afternoon sun. A strategically placed tree or shrub can serve as a nurse plant just as it would in nature.
Temperature. Our climate ranges from winter minima in the 20s F in winter to the 100s in summer. Echinopsis hybrids are amply hardy to this temperature range. Under dryer conditions they may even tolerate colder temperatures in the single digits.
Pests. Like most cacti, Echinopsis hybrids can succumb to a variety of pests: mealybugs in the roots and on spines, scale insects on the stems and aphids on the flower buds. These can often be most easily and safely dealt with by blasting them off with a strong stream of water. We have found a portable air compressor very useful and easier than water for literally blowing away pests which once dislodged soon die. Various insecticides may also be effective but we recommend the least toxic to do the job.
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