August 2009

Environment31 Aug 2009 03:30 pm

From the Chicago Botanic Garden Blog we find out that…

The planting is almost complete on the Green Roof Garden North


I wonder what it looks like right now?



Questions31 Aug 2009 10:00 am

Hello Cactus Jungle,

We lover your store. We bought these plants there.

They are getting brown curling on the ends of some leaves, and some leaves have fallen off?

Help? Save us?




Thank You

Tom and Joy

Tom and Joy,
You have 2 different problems.

1. Rex Begonias are a generally easy houseplant, preferring bright indirect light, but there’s a few tricks. The first thing is they like a moist environment, even though they’re drought-tolerant. So water weekly. And when it’s warm, mist the leaves twice a week. But the problem is, they don’t like wet leaves. So the trick is to water the soil, not the leaves, and to mist with a very fine spray, with no visible water droplets on the leaves. Also, direct sun can burn the leaves. Even then, they are semi-deciduous and will have fewer leaves in winter. For the brown leaves, just cut them off.

2. The Aeonium kiwi looks like it’s not getting enough sunlight, or it’s getting too much water. Or maybe there are little pests on the underside of the leaves? Hard to say from the photo.

Hope this helps,

Misc31 Aug 2009 08:34 am

In the middle of an article comes this quote having to do with cactus. I think it stands on its own, and there’s no reason for you to read the rest of the article, so I’m not linking to it at all.

Price said Schaer was the first patient he has seen with a wasp sting on his uvula, although he once treated someone with a cactus spine in his uvula.

OK, here’s the link in case you think I’m making this up.

Questions31 Aug 2009 06:56 am


I have been a follower of your blog for quite some time. We are raising some hen and chicks and wondered if you had any tips on increasing the number of “chicks” produced. Our stock of hens is increasing slowly.


There are 2 different types of plants commonly called “Hens and Chicks”. A good place to start is a fertilizer. We mix our own organic nutrients called cactus meal, and recommend you apply them once per year for healthy, natural growth.

If it’s a Sempervivum, they like a lot of root run, so if they’re in a pot, they will stay small and multiply slowly. In the ground they take off. To help them along, we use Supergro, a balanced organic ferilizer.

If it’s an Echeveria, the growth rate depends on many factors, however some species are just very slow to multiply. You can cut off the main rosette, and that will often cause branching at the cut end. Supergro is also beneficial.

Other factors include watering and sun, depending on your climate.

News29 Aug 2009 10:23 am

The Ithaca Journal recommends eating cactus.

Improve the variety of your diet — try some exotic produce.

Nopales or cactus pads are often used in Mexican or Southwest dishes.

But they don’t tell us where you can find it in Ithaca. Maybe you have to go all the way to Tampa, because I don’t think your regular safeway in Ithaca is going to stock nopales.

News29 Aug 2009 08:18 am

Last week, Enchiladas Mexican Restaurant (opened)…, bringing downtown diners yet another option.

Chile verde con nopales ($10.95) is a classic Mexican dish that combines spicy pork chunks with a flavorful sauce of green tomatillo and cactus (yes, cactus).

I’m sure it’s delicious.

Whippets28 Aug 2009 11:42 am

When Darin comes to visit, Benjamin and Jason get busy.

Misc28 Aug 2009 10:36 am

I was going to have a photograph of a Clusia orthoneura bloom for you by now, but the bud is still not open!

I hope you don’t mind this morning’s posts with me  just writing whatever’s on my mind. I promise you I’ll post the clusia bloom as soon as it opens. They’re very pretty.

And I have the best Friday Whippet Video ever coming up soon too.  Stay tuned.

Misc&Science28 Aug 2009 08:05 am

So earlier this morning I mentioned it’s the time of year to take your final cactus cuts. And I thought I should also mention that it’s OK to take some succulent cuts all the way into winter.

For instance, Aeoniums. And Aloes, too!

Fun fact: Did you know that the stoma of the aloe leaf are often sunken, and surrounded by well-developed lobes?


Portion of Vertical Section of Aloe Leaf

1. Stoma                            5. Vascular Bundle
2. Cuticle                          6. Water Storage Tissue
3. Upper Epidermis     7. Palisade Tissue
4. Palisade Tissue         8. Lower Epidermis

And from Aloes: The Genus Aloe By Tom Reynolds



How-to28 Aug 2009 07:34 am

I don’t give a lot of gardening advice on this blog, unless someone asks a question directly. But here you go.

If you like to take cuttings of your plants and propagate new ones then you should know that we’re taking our final cactus cuts of the year so they’ll be rooted before winter – any later than this and they’ll rot away to nothing.

Phew, that was useful.

Maybe I should make a video.

Misc27 Aug 2009 12:17 pm


Bins of fresh nopalitos, the wing-like pads of a cactus that can be grilled or pressed into juice…. at El Chavo, a Mexican market in Roslindale Square

Well, I guess if you’re looking to eat the cactus then that’s the place to go. What if you want to grow the plants? Then what do you do? Apparently you bring them back from Arizona.

News27 Aug 2009 09:16 am

Bug Fest Philly ’09 is underway and featuring the adorable cactus beetle.

Guests are invited to come hungry since there will be a cooking demo of how to prepare grasshoppers, crickets and dragonflies.

Oops, that’s not the part I was looking for…

Other bugs of interest will be Cactus Beetles, which use cactuses for both food and protection

That’s more like it. No photos, so let’s go to the google and see what we can come up with.

Here we have a beetle in the collection of the St. Louis Zoo.


This beetle lives in the hot, arid deserts of the American Southwest. It spends most of its life cycle in and around various cactus plants, especially those in the Opuntia family. It relies on the cactus for both food and shelter. Females chew “wounds” in the cactus and lay eggs in the openings. The young beetles (grubs) feed inside until they emerge as adults.

Nasty looking thing.

Misc27 Aug 2009 07:36 am

I love doing random google searches. However, today I tried a random bing search, and look what came up!


It’s George Jensen’s Cactus Fork  and the whole cactus collecton in pdf form! 31 sterling silver pieces in the collection!

Misc26 Aug 2009 11:26 am

I wonder why someone would feel so inspired by cactus to make a chrome bathroom faucet called Cactus?


Yes, it does look like a cactus.

National Parks26 Aug 2009 08:24 am

High desert among the grasslands of Colorado? Pawnee National Grasslands are a bonanza for walking and birdwatching and flower spotting too. This is a long excerpt, but there’s even more if you click through. More pictures, more interesting descriptions. It makes me want to go visit, you know.

This spring brought downpour after downpour of rain, making the prairie burst into bloom. The pioneers who came here in the 1880s learned that plowing the sod in the arid high desert shouldn’t have been done and when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s, the farms were abandoned.

After the people gave up on their dreams and forfeited their land, it reverted back to its natural state. Remnants of homesteads, windmills and cemeteries can be seen from the trails near the Buttes…


Whenever we’d see a photo opportunity, I’d say, “Stop!” Wild flowers were everywhere we looked, a sea of lavender, Vetch, Yellow Evening Primrose, Ball Cactus, Prickly Pear Cactus, Sand Lilies, bright pink Locoweed, Penstemon, lavender, Fleabane, and yellow sweet clover.

Just watch where you step, OK?

News26 Aug 2009 06:51 am

in Stockton, California.

Stockton Cactus and Succulent Society

Have you ever wondered how to move and/or relocate… extremely large mature cactuses or succulents? This month’s speaker, Mark Muridian of Fresno, is going to show how it’s done….

This month’s meeting will be held Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the San Joaquin County Building.

Good stuff for the Central Valley.

Here’s our own little secret to moving big cactus: Use carpet scraps to wrap the plant. Also, if someone asks you to remove an Agave americana, just tell them no.

Misc25 Aug 2009 01:19 pm

I see Rabbits Against Magic have added a cactus to their home decor.


And a fly, too.

Misc25 Aug 2009 10:54 am

You’d think the BBC would have fact-checkers and editors, and that the British people in general would be pedantic about getting the names of their plants right. At the Taunton Flower Show we find this lovely cactus.


Apart from flowers, visitors could also see a wide range of cacti – this is called Noto Cactus Magnificus.

OK, so what do we see wrong with this? What can be fixed if we want to be as pedantic as we imagine the BBC to be? Why, to start, it would be “Notocactus,” one word. And the species name “magnificus” would be lower case – if we were to get all pedantic on the BBC.

More importantly for you pedants out there, and I’m certainly not talking about myself, because I am no pedant, don’t you know for I fear no run-on sentence, but the genus Notocactus has long been retired and replaced with Parodia. So there.

Reader Photos25 Aug 2009 08:52 am

Matt in Portland sent along this extremely-bright-pink-flowered Echinopsis photo in July, and I forgot to blog it! Oh the horror. It’s a good thing I found it, because it’s a gray day here in Berkeley and we need a little bit of bright pink this late in the summer.


Anyone know the species?

Environment25 Aug 2009 06:50 am

From Design Boom, we have this amazing water-re-using shower system.


Phyto Purification Bathroom Image: Jun Yasumoto

There’s more detail at the link, but I think the image says everything you need to know about this.

I want one.

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