Questions01 Mar 2015 10:43 am

Hello Peter,

I’ve got a challenge for you with this Crown of Thorns plant. The plant is obviously not as healthy as it was when it was attached to the roots. I cut off the top because it had these weird growths on it. If I had to guess, I would call them galls. What do you think?

close2 full P1050419 top



Uggh! It looks like a virus that is mutating the tissue. It should be disposed of right away. Sorry about that! The bottom parts of the plant may or may not be infected, so give it a chance, but if the stuff shows up then dispose.


Cactus27 Feb 2015 10:56 am

Wow you are good! Thanks so much!

Here is a picture of some cactus I bought at the nursery. It’s labeled as “Penis Cactus” but it doesn’t look any of the pictures I found online!

Penis Cactus

Enjoy your day!



My google search for “Penis Cactus” pulled up this page:

Trichocereus bridgesii forma mostruosa “inermis”
Clone A (The short joined type)
“The penis cactus”

And there you go!


Whippets27 Feb 2015 07:02 am

Jason whippet dog

Questions&Reader Photos26 Feb 2015 10:52 am

Bought plant year ago and you repotted. Plant is on balcony in Mission Bay SF. Watered 4-6 cups every 2 1/2 weeks; fertilized in Sept.


Lower leaves of plant gets soft and shrivels so I cut off. However, as plant grows, the lower leaves continue to get soft and shrivel; is this normal? Also, some of the leaves get these brown spots as you can see in the lower leaves in the photo. What is this? From water? In strong rain and wind over a number of days, I cover plant with a plastic bag; is this necessary?
Thank you for your help!


Your Dudleya is looking great! All succulents lose bottom leaves, and Dudleyas are no exception. They do get the brown spots and if its on a bottom leaf that will be falling off soon then there’s nothing to worry about. On upper leaves the problem is that Dudleyas prefer not to have water sitting on them, so in the ground it is often best to plant them at an angle so the winter rains roll off. Not as possible in a pot, but generally a little water on top won’t hurt the plant more than the occasional spots. Or bring it under cover when we get those too-rare rains these days!


Questions&Reader Photos25 Feb 2015 09:57 am

Here is another round of mystery cactus and succulents. My sister went to Ojai and went to a nursery there and brought back these wonderful plants for me.


Thanks so much Peter.



The plants are…

Top row: Adromischus, probably a Crassula, and Ruschia

Bottom row: Sempervivum “Oddity”, crested Sempervivum and Austrocylindropuntia.



Questions&Reader Photos24 Feb 2015 01:52 pm

We have this little plant sitting in my shop and my coworker and I have no idea what sort of succulent it might be! It has what looks like roots coming out from places on the stem (even from the little one) but they might not be roots?

IMG_0752 IMG_0753

Thank you!

Tea M. from California

Tea M.,
It’s a fuzzy little Kalanchoe, probably Kalanchoe tomentosa that is not getting enough light – it wants more light! They can get aerial roots coming off the stems so that when they fall over they will root from right there.


Reader Photos23 Feb 2015 09:12 am

Hello there! So happy to have found your blog! I was wondering if you could identify these beauties for me? I took these at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA but there wasn’t a little card with its name.



The big green one is an Echeveria right? I’m not sure what kind though.
The flowers on the second photo were coming out of a plant (silly me I didn’t snap one of the plant with the flowers) but I cannot remember what it was called, any guesses?

Thank you in advance,


The green one with the Ladybug is an Echeveria, possibly E. pumila.

The flower spray looks like a Crassula.


Cactus&Reader Photos21 Feb 2015 10:44 am


Cactus Jungle Crew I bought a Dragon-fruit Cactus from you. It was in the green house. I wanna share a photo, one of your crew said to send a photo to see it in a happier place.

Dragon Fruit Cactus


Thanks! Lots of nice new growth on it.


Plants20 Feb 2015 08:28 am


Mammilaria bombycina

And a bonus succulent flower photo!


Delosperma “Moonstone”

Whippets20 Feb 2015 07:16 am


Berkeley Succulents16 Feb 2015 11:19 am


Grayson St, Berkeley
Aeoniums in a potted succulent garden.

Misc15 Feb 2015 01:21 pm


Tea Tree


Plum Blossoms



Misc14 Feb 2015 02:22 pm


Fourth Street, Berkeley

It’s right in front of Cactus Jungle!

It feels like summer.

Plants13 Feb 2015 12:22 pm


Sedeveria “Hummelii”

Intergenic (Sedum x Echeveria) Hybrid
Small blue rosettes with red-tipped oblong leaves and sprays of yellow flowers.
Hardy to 22F 
Full Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Whippets13 Feb 2015 09:26 am



Plants12 Feb 2015 12:23 pm


Aloe dinteri looks similar to Aloe variegata, but it’s different!


Stemless rosettes; dark leaves w/bands of white spots
Hardy to 25F 
Part Sun to Part Shade
Cactus Soil
Low Water

How-to11 Feb 2015 06:52 am


Goth Garden sends along a remarkable photo of Cactus Nails.

Nails of the Day says:

Well if this isn’t the cutest nail art I’ve ever seen!

OK, so maybe. Maybe not. What do I know about nail art anyway?

Plants10 Feb 2015 09:04 am


Crassula “Springtime”

Thick-leaved cultivar to 12″ with pink flower sprays in late winter/early spring.
Hardy to 20F 
Full Sun to Part Shade
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Whippets06 Feb 2015 10:37 am

whippet beds

Jaxx and Amica down in Santa Cruz got a giant new Whippet Cave. They like it.

Cactus&National Parks05 Feb 2015 03:57 pm


Genn sends a photo from the Arizona desert. And it’s a crested Saguaro!

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