The finished product features a rock wall, along with numerous and colorful succulents. Courtesy of Jan Nelson. Read more: Press-Banner – The Mountain Gardener Living wall shouts love at every turn
If you click through you can see the closeups of the succulents stuck in amongst the rocks in the rock wall, the succulent rock wall.
The El Paso Times has an interesting way to illustrate an article about very colorful cactus for sale at a local cactus show.
Learn to grow, care for colorful natives at club’s Cactus Fiesta and Plant Sale
But anyway, the sale was last month so you have already missed it. I have fallen down on my job of informing you in a timely fashion of all the latest cactus club sales throughout the greater West Texas region.
The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park has a lot of Nepenthes hanging around, doing their Pitcher Plant thing. In contrast to the orchids, the Nepenthes are not well labeled, so I don’t know what species most of these are. Except for the one fancy fanged Pitcher Plant…
“Nepenthes bicalcarata, also known as the fanged pitcher-plant, is found only in Borneo. The purpose of the fangs has long been debated among botanists. They have been thought to deter mammals from reaching in and stealing the contents of the pitcher, though the more intelligent mammals like monkeys have been observed tearing open the side of the pitcher to get to drowned insects. Other botanists suggest that the fangs, which secrete nectar, serve to lure insects into a precarious position over the pitcher mouth, where they may lose their footing and fall into the pitcher fluid, eventually drowning and becoming food for the plant.” via SF Conservatory of Flowers QR Code.
The rest of these are not quite as spectacular, being without two perfect fangs, but they are amazing, even if the Conservatory did not see fit to name them.
From the Green Valley News Tribune Record and Sun comes news of a broken Saguaro. It seems to have been hit by a car, but probably after it fell. If it fell on a car then the picture would still have the car under the Saguaro.
Pima County Sheriff’s Auxiliary members wait for a cleanup crew to show up in the 1200 block of North Abrego Drive about 7 a.m. Tuesday, in the Country Club of Green Valley. A saguaro fell into the road and apparently was hit by a car sometime in the night, according to the Green Valley Fire District.
Those look like some very shallow roots. No wonder it fell over.
I hope you can help me out with an unusual repotting problem.
A well-meaning friend of ours recently sent us a “cactus garden” as a gift from an online website, pictured below:
Any idea what the different species are? The online vendor simply labeled them all as “cacti”.
Well, the various cacti and succulents are doing fine so far, but now I think they are starting to crowd each other out. I was hoping to repot them, but the potting soil that they used is as hard as concrete! I can barely dent it with a hammer!
Yes, it is that hard. I can’t even pull the wood chips out of the soil!
I have no idea what crazy concoction they are using as a soil. The directions that came with the garden only say that, “The cactus soil is a blend of nutrients combined with a hardening compound. It was scientifically developed to provide a healthy growing environment for cactus while also providing protection during shipment. Although it appears hard and impenetrable, the soil does absorb water and distributes it throughout the planter.”
Have you ever run into this strange potting medium before? If so, are the poor plants going to be okay in that stuff as they grow? And if not, what is the best way to get them out safely so that I can repot them?
Finally, it is currently winter here in southern California, and the cacti are sitting outside on our back porch. Should I wait until the spring growing season before attempting to repot them? And how much space should I give them?
Thank you for all your help!
You have 3 cacti and 3 succulents. This type of potting is not intended as a long term solution, so yes they do have to come out of the concrete (and they do add gypsum, i.e. concrete, to the mix to get it to harden). So basically you will be rescuing the plants.
If they are healthy now, I would wait until spring. If they look desperate, then go ahead and get them out now.
I don’t have any secrets for rescuing them – get the whole thing out of the pot and chisel them apart as best you can trying to save some roots where possible, but allowing for the fact that these may be cuttings you are starting with once they are out.
Pot them in dry fast-draining cactus soil, keep dry for a couple weeks. I would try a 4″ pot for each plant, if I am judging the size correctly.
Crassula ovata (Jade)
Faucaria felina (Tiger Jaws)
Pachyphytum, maybe longifolium
It doesn’t look good for Israel’s National Fruit, imported from the Americas a long time ago. Hint: It’s a cactus.
Israel’s Iconic Sabra Cactus Endangered by Invading Aphids
Israel, being on the “land bridge” that links it with Africa and Asia Minor, has always been well known for a number of biblical fruits….
Now, this national plant symbol is being threatened by the invasion of a species of parasitic aphid that has been attacking Sabra cactus plants in the far north of the country and threatens to spread over other parts of Israel as well….
Sabra fruit is harvested in late summer and is often sold in roadside fruit kiosks in both Israel and in the Palestinian Authority. The fruit is best served chilled and it is recommended that one wear gloves when peeling them to avoid being stuck by numerous cactus spines.
The Times Herald Tribune Record prints interesting cactus questions from their readers.
Q: What is the difference between a Thanksgiving cactus and a Christmas cactus?… — Sara, Eldred
A…. The Thanksgiving cactus generally begins flowering in mid- to late November and continues into December….
The Christmas cactus normally begins to flower about Christmas and continues flowering into January.
That was easy! I could answer newspaper questions too! Someone, quick, get me a column! I want at least 25 column inches every week!
Normally the California Native Lewisia cotyledons bloom in spring and summer, but we do always have a few that will bloom at other times of the year, like now.
In fact, we find that as these plants mature they can bloom up to 6 times per year! That’s a lot of blooms. You just have to dead-head them to prevent them from going to seed in case they were pollinated. If they go to seed then they are done blooming for the year.
Bonus picture of an Owl after the break… (more…)
All the brightly colored Christmas Cactus are out, and not a day too soon.
These are all hybrids from Brazilian species. Nobody knows anymore what the original species from the jungles were, but we like to think they are hybridized from Schlumbergera orsicchiana, which tend to be pendant and epiphytic.
All those green segments that look like leaves are really stem segments, and the cactus spines, as these are true cacti, come from the joints between the segments. The segmenting of the stems makes for easy cuttings.
Some would call these hybrids something along the lines of Schlumbergera orssichiana x truncata, but the truncata part of that was long ago gathered into Zygocactus, but then put back into Schlumbergera in 1967. So if you see these advertised as Zygocactus you should know that they are archaically sticking to the early 60s. Old people today.