September 2009

Misc22 Sep 2009 01:26 pm

I refuse to link again to the ongoing saga of the pathetic Kiko the Cartoon Cactus, so don’t ask. This is an offense to all fun loving cacti everywhere.

News22 Sep 2009 11:05 am

This article shows us a prize-winning succulent arrangement, and expresses surprise that a succulent arrangement even won, but the article does not tell us what the competition was.

At a recent competition in Mississippi, a container of colorful succulents entered by a local nursery stole the show.


The winner was a surprise to many of us horticulturists. We knew there is a succulent trend, but we weren’t sure whether the trend could win over the gardening public.

I guess the succulent trend has finally hit Mississippi.

Questions22 Sep 2009 08:00 am

The Las Vegas R-J gets questions.

Q: I bought a Mission cactus last year. The tag said to water it well until it “was established,” but I didn’t really know how much water to give it after that. I looked up Mission cactus on the Internet and most sites said little or no water, or arid dry. It has grown quite a bit since I planted it, and even now has small new growth on a few ends. Lately though it has twists and folds with a yellowish color in the middle of the “hands.” I have no idea whether I am watering it enough or too much as it doesn’t respond much differently. I really like this plant, and it is a focal point when anyone comes through our gate into the courtyard.

A: Mission cactus is basically a beavertail or a nopal-type cactus.

When you are watering a cactus it is important to water it deeply but infrequently. This is what is meant by telling you to water it “well” until it gets established. If, by chance, you interpret that to mean watering frequently with small amounts of water, you run the risk of having it fall over when it gets bigger or possibly killing it….

If you click through to read the rest of the article, you’ll find out a lot more about growing cactus in the desert, like,

Many cacti will indicate they need water through the appearance of their “skin.” Their outer surfaces will become slightly wrinkled…


fertilize it once a year…

All good advice, and the article is just chock-full of advice.

Misc21 Sep 2009 11:22 am

While looking for more porcelain cacti, instead I found this interesting product reviewed on a few different sites, but I can’t seem to find a place to buy it, or who manufactures it. I think it may be so last year (or even as far back as 2006), and is no longer available.


Misc21 Sep 2009 10:03 am

Kiko the Lonely Cactus is a sad kind of character.

Questions21 Sep 2009 08:48 am


My campfire plant developed this fungus, I did mist it recently?

Can you help


Thank you

Tom and Joy

Tom and Joy,

It looks like your plant has a fungal infection. I recommend you treat it with a Neem Oil 1% solution, sprayed on once a week for the next month. That kind of infection is usually brought on by over watering, how often are you watering your plant? It needs to dry out completely between watering’s and is happiest with at least 4 hours of sun.

Take care,


Questions20 Sep 2009 08:45 am

Hey Hap…hope things are going well…a bit of rot has set in in both branches of the mealybug cactus…should I cut off above the rot and put both branches in the potting room for a couple a weeks after a dousing of roottone and then have you come back to repot it? thanks dianne

treat the rot spots with hydrogen-peroxide and leave on if you can… it is hard to get cacti to root this time year.

Hi Hap…me again…so I’ll spray the hp…how often?

Sorry about that I should have told you!

Spray three days apart, repeating three or four times. The rot should dry out and scab-over in a couple of weeks. If it doesn’t by then, more drastic measures will need to be taken.


Misc19 Sep 2009 08:55 am

I forgot this item in my previous post about porcelain cactus and succulents.


How could I have forgotten that one, you may ask? Well, I have a bit of a head cold, so that’s the excuse I’ll be using.

News18 Sep 2009 12:52 pm

Oddity of the Day.

An entrepreneur has come up with a way to foil monkeys who steal underwear from washing lines.

Ray Liddell has stopped the thieving barbary macaques of Gibraltar by selling a plastic spiked device – called The Cactus – which can be fitted to fences to make life difficult for the cheeky primates.

‘The monkeys are everywhere,’ said the 38-year-old, from Hartlepool.

No pictures.

Photography18 Sep 2009 10:45 am

Well, it’s true. The Clusia bud converted over this morning to a bloom.


Clusia orthoneura

I think it’s clear why they call this the porcelain flower, but if not, here’s a link to some porcelain figurines. Now is it clear? No? Well, how about this? What!?! Those porcelain flowers aren’t enough to convince you!?! I don’t know what more I can do to convince you of the propriety of the name “Porcelain Flower” for the Clusia. Maybe this will do it. Aha! Now you see what I’m talking about. And yet… Is there a picture of a porcelain cactus or succulent, just to be sure? There is! And it’s a triplet!

I’m feeling a bit silly right now. Sorry about that.

Come follow me after the break for a close up of this wacky and entertaining porcelain-like flower. (more…)

Whippets18 Sep 2009 08:18 am

Waking Dogs

waking dogs

News17 Sep 2009 10:55 am


CHRIS HILLOCK/ Taranaki Daily News

CACTUS QUEEN: Ngaire Ward has a passion for prickly plants. Mrs Ward has been made a life member of the New Plymouth Cactus and Succulent Society.

“This is a great privilege and I really hadn’t expected it.”

Photography17 Sep 2009 10:17 am

The stupid Clusia orthoneura bud won’t open. It’s been in bud for months.  I keep telling myself  “any day now” and nothing. It’s gotten humongous, but maybe tomorrow…


You’ll be the first to know.

Questions17 Sep 2009 07:34 am


My name is Allen and I live in half Moon Bay. I’ve got 4 large cactus growing in pots and they seem generally healthy and are growing. But they are developing what appears to be a scale or fungus and I’d like your advice on how to treat them. I’ve attached some photos of the worst/most representative areas of concern. I’ve sprayed several times with Neem oil and it’s possible that it’s making a difference but it’s to early to tell. The columns are firm, no mush is developing and all is good other than what you see in the photos.

Your thoughts on the malady and the cure?

Thanks, realy appreciate your help!



It looks like your cacti has either a virus or a fungus (or both) as well as a few scale. Neem Oil should deal with both the fungus and scale with a few treatments. I recommend retreating it with Neem Oil, spray to the point of run-off, once every seven to ten days at least three or four more times. If any of the infection looks like it is turning to rot, (the spots will turn either orange or slimy-black), treat those areas with regular 3% hydrogen-peroxide, paint or spray on the infected area. Alternate with the Neem treatments.

If it has a virus, the best thing you can do is give it some liquid kelp (Maxicrop or other brand) to help boost it’s immunity and fight off the virus, just like you taking a vitamin, or drinking orange juice when you have a cold. Hopefully the plant will fight off the infection and heal. It will likely always be scarred, but the infected areas will “bark” and give it character.

Take care,


Misc16 Sep 2009 10:23 am

Maureen Gilmer, regular contributor to the Orange County Register


Her new book, “Palm Springs-Style Gardening” (Sunbelt Publications, $24.95) brings as much insight into gardening in dry places as she brings to her myriad projects.

They haven’t sent me a review copy yet. So no review. And we don’t carry it at the store. You’d think the publisher would be on top of things.

Questions16 Sep 2009 08:22 am

Can you help me identify this plant?



Are you asking about the euphorbia or the leucadendron?


Questions15 Sep 2009 11:50 am

The questions they get in Florida are totally different than the questions we get in California.

Several years ago we placed a potted cactus at the base of our lakeside cypress. We did not know that it was a climbing cactus. It has climbed 45 to 50 feet to the top of the cypress and is branching out in each direction. It has become a conversation piece for visitors, but will its growth harm the tree? — Maggie Robin, Plantation

The climbing cactus is a night blooming cereus, which has spectacular night opening blooms that are very fragrant. People used to stage entertainments around the opening of the flowers at night.

The white flowers can be 1 foot wide. I think the cactus will not harm the cypress as the tree is strong. The cactus is heavy but the cypress should be able to handle the weight.

I wish they had pictures, don’t you? Now, as for it being a “Night-Blooming Cereus” that could mean anything, as there are dozens of species that are called that. Do they mean Cereus, Peniocereus, Epiphyllum, Hylocereus, etc…? Harsh.

Misc15 Sep 2009 09:48 am

Devine Tropical sells a lovely pink dragonfruit, or pitahaya, also known as Hylocereus, probably H. costaricensis.


The LA Times says they’re becoming more common, more popular even.

And all from a happy vining tropical jungle cactus. Here’s my photo of the plant growing in a tree in Costa Rica.


Misc14 Sep 2009 01:16 pm

Erde Design on Etse has some beautiful handmade wood succulent planters for sale. Singles, triples, you name it, they have it. Not that you couldn’t plant something other than a succulent in it, but why would you?


I wonder if they have drainage?

Environment14 Sep 2009 11:39 am

The cactus moth, a South American bug that destroys the prickly pear cactus, was recently discovered on Louisiana’s coast….

The biologists want to stop them now, before they get to western cactus-lands where they could devastate environments.

The agriculture agents are also breeding sterile male moths that they will release in areas where other cactus moth is found. The female cactus month mates only once, and if she mates with a sterile male the population will decrease.

More info is here and here.


Larvae inside a prickly pear pad. Photo: Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ

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