January 2009

News31 Jan 2009 11:34 am

Try this, and then let us know how it goes.

Digging It Series continues
Milton Garden Club is presenting the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs organized series of horticulture series of horticulture courses….

Each course is $20. There are no refunds or credits. Lunch will be served for a small fee. The times for each course is 10 to 12 noon, study and demonstration, with lunch from 12 to 1 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. a hands-on workshop. All courses will be held at the Milton Garden Center, 5256 Alabama St., Milton.

Course X – May 11 (Cacti & Succulents)….

Costa Rica31 Jan 2009 06:44 am


Blogs30 Jan 2009 04:43 pm

Boing Boing guest blogger Charles found some lovely looping Aporocactus at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The resulting photo is nice too.

I found these looping cacti in… Phoenix, where exotic species display the most amazing attributes… I admire those traits.

Costa Rica&Science30 Jan 2009 12:24 pm

When we were clomping through some Costa Rican jungles, we saw lots of epiphytic peperomias up high in the branches. Here’s one just starting the climb on a fallen branch with tillandsias.


Peperomia rotundifolia

That is one nifty peperomia they have there in the jungle.

Did I mention that the name peperomia is in fact from the same name as peppers (they sound alike, they are alike!), since they’re both in the same botanic family, Piperaceae, which is in fact called “the pepper family”? No? Well, let me tell you… It’s the genus Piper that yields the famous black peppercorns that created the spice wars and the piracy and the tales of buried treasures told through the ages, by elderly grandfathers trying to scare the little ones.


Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) corns, from left to right: Green (pickled ripe fruits), White (dried ripe seeds), Black (dried unripe fruits)

However, just to be clear, this so-called “Pepper family” that includes black peppercorns and succulent peperomias does not include bell peppers (Capsicum annuum), for those would be in the Solanum family (Solanaceae) that includes the nightshades and the tomatoes and potatoes and our favorite, the purple-leafed naranjillo (Solanum quitoense) from Colombia.

Interesting where these blog entries can get to once you start deviating from plant that started it. I like it!

Whippets30 Jan 2009 10:09 am

Well here’s an interesting find.


A whippet named Cactus. Now that just beats all.

News30 Jan 2009 07:15 am

At the Memphis Botanic Garden’s Annual Sale, of course. It must be that time of year again.

(T)he annual “Green Your Home” Winter Plant Sale… (is) scheduled for Feb. 6-8 this year….


Kalanchoes are succulent plants with brightly colored flowers. For buds to open or plants to rebloom, bright light is necessary.

Aloe, another succulent, has spiky leaves filled with a gel that heals burns and scrapes.

Cacti of many types are easy to grow indoors, if you can give them plenty of light….

A greenhouse at the botanic garden is filled with about dozen different rhizomatous begonias, plants prized for the shape, texture and color of their leaves.

It seems they have a large selection of cacti and succulents. That’s good news for you, if you live near there, that is. Plus, they have a nice feature that I haven’t seen at any of our local botanic garden sales:

Bring your own container to the sale, and the staff will fill it with artfully arranged plants.

News29 Jan 2009 04:20 pm

The English will eat anything, even a cactus smoothie.



Fresh for the detox season we’ve been off to Mexico to harvest La Nopelea cactus. This amazing plant is packed full of goodness to get your year off on the right foot.

Our Crussh smoothie boffins have designed a drink that is as tasty as it is healthy for you with a sweet and zesty blend of pineapple, lime, banana, 98% fat free probiotic yoghurt and of course, organic la nopelea cactus.

And yet the picture is not a cactus, but an aloe. Well.

According to Cult Beauty Blog they cost £3.00 each. That’s one heck of a deal.

News29 Jan 2009 01:33 pm

In San Francisco, but still, it seems like a good thing.

Gardening With Succulents

Ernesto Sandoval talks about aloes, agaves, cacti and other practical succulents. Some of the plants presented in the workshop will be available for sale. Preregistration required. 9 a.m. Sat. $55-$65. San Francisco Botanical Garden, Ninth Ave. and Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park, S.F. (415) 661-1316, Ext. 400. www.sfbotanicalgarden.org.

Let me know if you go, and I’l make sure you get credit on your cactus doctorate you’ve been working on.

Costa Rica29 Jan 2009 06:59 am


Epiphyllum pittieri

You can really see this giant hanging epihanging pendulously from the tree, and climbing way up to the top of the tree too. A very successful plant. Some day we hope to go back to Costa Rica when the epi’s are in bloom. Won’t that be spectacular?

News28 Jan 2009 11:20 am

Well, actually they’re betting on the Superbowl.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs has thrown down a wager to Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

If the Arizona Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, a cactus must be planted outside Heinz Field to remind Pittsburgh fans of the desert underdog’s victory.

Interesting that the mayor of Glendale is offering the wager. I’ve been to Glendale, and it’s not that big. Phoenix may resent the Card’s name change, but still, Glendale? Of course, I’ve also been to Wasilla, AK and Glendale is certainly bigger than Wasilla. But then Larry Fitzgerald’s shoe size is bigger than Wasilla.

Questions28 Jan 2009 09:10 am

The original post is here.

Sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done. It can be hard to say what caused the problem in the first place, but when it gets to looking like this, there’s not much left to try. If you look at the original post back in November, you see that the plant was well on it’s way to this end, but we had more hope that it could come out of it. Viruses are tough on plants.

Hi Hap,

My cactus isn’t looking so good lately. After your original email in November, I thought it was due to water stress from my watering in October (I also fed it for the first time a little bit of dry cactus food I bought at your shop), but it seems to be getting sicker. I did come by your shop again to get the kelp, but was talked out of it by one of your employees. We decided that time and delaying its next watering would help it back to life. Based on my 3 month schedule for watering, i would be watering it this month. I attached some recent pictures.

I’m kind of attached to this cactus and would like to fix any problems before its too late (hopefully it can be saved). I live in Oakland. Please let me know what I can do to cure my cactus.

In the recent pictures the “brownness” has spread all over the cactus and its starting to get crusty white spots near the bottom.


Thank you for your help,


I have to say it really looks like a virus. At this point I think it is unlikely to pull out of it, but you might be able to try a strong chemical fungus-virus treatment that are available for roses and other fussy ornamental. Unfortunately we grow organically and do not use dangerous chemicals like that so I do not have a suggestion on what might work.

Sorry I do not have better news, Good luck.


Costa Rica28 Jan 2009 06:59 am


Questions27 Jan 2009 04:26 pm

They get questions over at doug green’s simplegiftsfarm.

Sharon in Morgantown, WV asks:
Should you mist cactus in the winter time?

Doug says you don’t mist cactus at any time.

I agree with Doug.

Misc27 Jan 2009 12:27 pm

cherylslist has felted succulent pillows.


That is just a fascinating thing. I could stare at this picture for hours.

News27 Jan 2009 10:15 am

Cactus flavored ice-cream discovered by Canadian.

9. Las Iguanas, Boca de Arenal, Costa Rica: “Unique flavours including cactus and tamarind.”

Well that’s kind of weird, because we didn’t find any cactus flavored ice cream in Arenal, but that’s what teh google is for.

Misc27 Jan 2009 07:57 am

As I often say, “You never know what you’ll find on the intertubes.”

Today we find that Mr. Scherer’s 4th grade class has a reading assignment this week, “Saguaro Cactus”.

I wonder if that’s a short story, or maybe it’s part of a biology textbook.

Anyway, Mr. Scherer’s 4th grade class seems to be in the Philadelphia area, judging by the sports logos on the site.

If you happen to be a 4th grader and know what this reading assignment is all about, write in to us and let us know where we can find this text and we’ll assign this to all of our bloggy readers right here on the cactusblog.

Costa Rica27 Jan 2009 06:42 am


We found these little blooming Begonias hanging onto some concrete steps along a trail in Carrara NP in Costa Rica. We like the little wild begonias, although we sell more of the large frilly begonias. Same flowers, though; very little variation in size or shape.

Reader Photos26 Jan 2009 03:19 pm

Michele sends along a cactus photo.


Photo of our  backyard feral kitty named Whitey, who guards the neighbor’s prickly pear. Whitey is King of our Backyard in El Cerrito.

Science26 Jan 2009 09:54 am

We cactus peoples like us some reptiles too. Cactus gardens and tortoises just feel right together. But don’t forget the lizards (Who could forget the lizards.) Anyway, this is all an introduction to some lizard evolution caught in action, although from the SE US, not from the desert, but like I said we cactus peoples like us some reptiles too.

Native U.S. Lizards Are Adapting To Escape Attacks By Fire Ants


ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2009) — Penn State Assistant Professor of Biology Tracy Langkilde has shown that native fence lizards in the southeastern United States are adapting to potentially fatal invasive fire-ant attacks by developing behaviors that enable them to escape from the ants, as well as by developing longer hind legs, which can increase the effectiveness of this behavior.

Now that’s some change we can believe in.

Costa Rica26 Jan 2009 07:30 am


It’s the most adorable little baby Begonia. Begonia species are nearly impossible to identify, so I won’t even try. And most of the begonias we came upon in Costa Rica were in bloom, but this one was so photogenic even without the flowers that it had to be shared.

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