Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Can an artificial cactus die?

Artificial (?) Cactus
From the National Radio Gardening Program...
Caller: I'm a beginner at caring for plants but I have a question. How often need I water my cactus?

Cactusman: Depends on the species. Some succulents like a drink once or twice a week. Others can go months. What kind of cactus is yours?

Caller: I don't know. It's plump and green with longish spikes. I didn't water it for 6 months and it seemed fine, no change.

Cactusman: Could be an Acharagma ... They can go a long time without water.

Caller: Might it be an artificial cactus? The green looked too green and it never seemed to be growing. Do artificial cacti need water?

Cactusman: Well, yes, this does sound like you might have an artificial cactus. I can't think why that would need water.

Caller: Then I left it for two months and it collapsed into a soggy heap. Can artificial cacti die?

Cactusman: A very good question. (Pauses) Depends on what kind of death really. (Grimaces) Perhaps it was insects, mold, bacteria, or even a virus. There are many causes. (Grins) Of course, artificial plants are sometimes disposed of by their enemies. There is the odd person who actually aren't sympathetic to cacti. Can't think why.

There is a subtext of Q & A going on here. The caller is setting up Cactusman to say something foolish. Cactusman realizes this, and from the mire, fires a final shot "depends on what kind of death..." But it's really too little, too late. He's struggling in the mud. Be wary of openings like, "I don't know much about this field but..."

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