September 2010

News16 Sep 2010 11:14 am

It turns out that the key to growing succulents in the UK is to get them under a cold frame before winter while they’re still dry. And I thought the key was to bring them indoors by the fire while you’re sipping tea.

They overwintered in pots in the cold frame. All the succulents survived the winter in that same completely unheated cold frame. The secret is to get them under cover while the pots are still quite dry. In winter, succulents are more likely to rot off because of damp, than shrivel because of cold.

The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Garden, Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4JW is open daily (10am-6pm, last admission 4.30pm); admission £11.60. For more information go to

News16 Sep 2010 10:23 am

Apparently the succulent bouquet idea for weddings isn’t going away anytime soon. The hot trend from 3 years ago is still the hot trend.

Succulents are always in style, but their deep, rich colors are a natural fit for Fall weddings. Luscious centerpieces filled with these hearty plants will look sophisticated set in vintage silver vases and pails scoured from flea markets and thrift shops.

For bouquets, compliment your succulents with vibrant flowers in purples, magentas, and blues, from organic and local growers.

We do centerpieces for a lot of weddings these days, but always potted, never cut. People come to us because we’ll pot up hundreds of little succulents for them in their own special little pot, and then they group them as centerpieces and everybody gets to take one home. Sometimes we even plant up larger mixed succulent pots for a special centerpiece too.

Photography16 Sep 2010 08:20 am

We’ve got an Aloe plicatilis blooming out of season, but then the weather has been strange all summer.

Travel15 Sep 2010 12:42 pm

It turns out there’s a cactus garden that you can visit if you’re looking to visit a cactus garden when you are in Australia. First off, the article has some strange Australian english to get through.

To the west of Strathmerton lies the Barmah forest and its magnificent red gums. South, and you’ll find the irrigation centre of Numurkah….

But then they do get to the point of the story, the cactus.

So it is an odd site indeed to come across Jim and Julie Hall’s Cactus Country.

And what do they say about this themselves? Something about cactus hats?

It is, according to the couple, among the top 10 cactus gardens in the world.

Good to know.

Misc15 Sep 2010 08:32 am

Ian keeps sending me photos of “successful” mousetraps. If you know Ian, please let him know that I have enough photos already. Thank you.

California Native Plants15 Sep 2010 07:22 am

Solanum umbelliferum “Spring Frost” is a very pretty white-flowered cultivar of the Blue Witch Nightshade. But don’t ask for any at the nursery, we’re out. And we don’t get it in very often anyway. But you never know if you come by often then one day, maybe, there it will be. Yay!

If you do have it, go ahead and prune it back in the late fall so it comes out pretty in the spring, and then prune it before summer again to get it to rebloom all summer long.

Blogs14 Sep 2010 03:44 pm

Frederik from Ystad, Sweden has a lovely Aloe photo for you to go visit. Maybe someone can help him out with a species name?

News14 Sep 2010 11:08 am

From the Boston Globe:

4th Annual Show and Sale presented by the Cactus & Succulent Society of Massachusetts September 18-19.

The Cactus and Succulent Show is included with regular admission to Tower Hill Botanic Garden… at 11 French Drive, Boylston, exit 24 off Route 290.

Or from the botanic garden’s website, with picture!:

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is proud to host the 4th Annual Show and Sale presented by the Cactus & Succulent Society of Massachusetts. Visitors will be awestruck at the amazing and unusual forms, textures, and colors of these rare plants

Nursery14 Sep 2010 09:36 am

It appears that Keith’s mousetraps have worked to stop the little critter that has been eating our organic fertilizers. I won’t share Ian’s photo with you, but let’s just say that the mouse did not decide to go for the bait in the no-kill traps.

Photography14 Sep 2010 07:08 am

Rebutia fiebrigii

These have been our most reliable bloomers during this record cold summer (with a couple of very short heat spells.) Here’s a photo of one blooming back in June. Notice the color variation. I wonder if we should hand select these for the different oranges and give them cultivar names? Rebutia “Orange Sherbert” and Rebutia “Orange Ice Cream” and Rebutia “Orange Chocolate Cake”.


Blogs13 Sep 2010 03:39 pm

A+C: Succulents wants to know if Aeonium “Schwartzkopf” will grow in her neighborhood in Utah. One commenter has suggested they’re annuals there.

A photo shows them interspersed with blue fescues, possibly growing in Utah, but hard to know for sure.

News13 Sep 2010 08:57 am

Spokane, Washington prepares for winter by starting up the indoor gardening. Cactus comes first. And for the 2nd time today we have an unnamed Mammillaria.

A Clustering Globular Cactus is on display at Manito Park’s Gaiser Conservatory.

Photography13 Sep 2010 06:50 am

This Mammillaria has a lot of blooms. More than is usual, since usually there is a single row of blooms open at any one time, with additional rows along the crown ready to bloom later.

I don’t know the species – any guesses? It has pronounced tubercles, and very bright pink flowers. A little bit of woolly between the tubercles and at the crown. That should be enough to ID it.

Photography12 Sep 2010 09:14 am

Yes, that is the common name for this member of the cactus family that looks like it should be in the agave family.

Leuchtenbergia principis is from the Chihuahuan desert and unlike the agave it can bloom and bloom again, every year. Though they do not bloom young, so you may have to wait 10 years to see such a vibrant yellow flower.

Those weird papery spine things on the ends of the arm-like thingys are in fact the spines, true cactus spines, coming off the “arms” which are not branches or stems or even leaves, but what is a tubercule. Cactus are soooo interesting!

They need a tall pot, since they have a big and ruddy taproot.
Science11 Sep 2010 11:57 am

Euphorbia tirucalli, like all plants in the Euphorbiaceacea (check spelling…) family, has a caustic or poisonous sap, a milky white latex excretion. And yet it appears to be a valuable plant for it’s many properties.

Many pharmacological activities of Euphorbia tirucalli has been documented…
inhibition of the ascitic tumor in mice…
control intestinal parasites…
treat asthma, cough, earache, rheumatism, verrucae, cancer, chancre, epithelioma, sarcoma, skin tumors and as a folk remedy against syphilis.

I didn’t know that (not that I needed to know that last one either).

Saturday Science!

Photography11 Sep 2010 08:55 am

Haworthia reinwardtii

You can’t tell the species of haworthia apart by the bloom, at least not without an electron microscope. They all look the same. Tough to capture on film, too. So here you go, use this photo as an illustration of your haworthia blooms no matter which species you have.

Blogs10 Sep 2010 04:33 pm

Cactus bling

It’s a photo. Of a cactus.

With bling!

News&Recipes10 Sep 2010 12:07 pm

A Nipomo (CA) man who grows and markets edible cactus nationwide believes its value soon will be discovered by U.S. consumers as well as those working to help poverty-stricken countries.

“This plant could save the world,” said John Dicus as he gave visitors a tour of his Rivenrock Gardens.

But how should we eat this cactus that you sell?

Dicus offered visitors a taste of his own recipe for cactus salsa.

A mix of beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and cactus chunks that look like chopped broccoli stalks, the salsa has a unique flavor but doesn’t scream “cactus.”

“Cactus should be seen as an herb, where it doesn’t really overwhelm the salsa,” he explained. “It’s been compared to green beans. It should be mixed in as an overall ingredient.

That’s practically a recipe. And what do you know, there’s a whole recipe page too. Now that’s service.

And where is this so-called Nipomo? Southern Cal of course.

Questions10 Sep 2010 10:11 am

Help! We are sick. Please help us to get better.

Thanks, Leigh


For the 2 aeoniums, something is eating them. Possibly slugs, but there appears to be whole bites out of the A. “Sunburst” so it could be mice or deer as well.

Other than that, they have gone dormant for the summer and will perk up as we get into winter and they start growing again.

The bromeliad, on the other hand, looks like heat stress. We’ve had a couple days of sudden heat in the Bay Area recently, including a 35 degree rise in 2 days. We’ve noticed a lot of plants have been affected. Basically, it’s going to need to grow out of it, but you may want to try a little extra water for it, including today which should be pretty warm. Liquid kelp could also help.


Whippets10 Sep 2010 09:00 am

« Previous PageNext Page »