May 2011

News31 May 2011 02:36 pm

News that’s fit to print in the NY Times.

It’s finally here. Cactus Vodka! Perfect for a vodka drink featuring cactus! The article is from the NY Times so hopefully the link will work for you, what with their new paywall and all. You’d think with this being written essentially as an advertisement for Skyy Vodka that they’d make sure the link to the article would work for everyone, paywall or not.

A Fruit With a Future

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

“For a marketer, it’s a dream come true, because how many dragon puns can you come up with?” said Andrea Conzonato, the chief marketing officer for Skyy vodka. “An orange is an orange. A raspberry is a raspberry. But then you find a dragon fruit, and you’re like, Where did this come from? Why did I not know about this before?”

That is one sexy dragon fruit photo. And then it gets sexier yet. The NYTimes prints celebrities posing with dragon fruit for some odd reason. Oh yeah, baby, now I really want some dragon fruit.

Michael Buckner/WireImage

CELEBRITY STATUS Escorted by Omar Epps, Brandy and Keisha Spivy.

I don’t understand.

Finally, they published a photo of Skyy’s new bottle, because a “Paper of Record” can’t advertorialize a brand of vodka properly if they don’t show a bottle.

I wonder how much they got paid for this? I got nothin’. But it is interesting in a socialogic journolistical kind of way. Plus, you know, Cactus!

Misc31 May 2011 08:46 am

The water feature was leaky, so they planted succulents.

The “overflowing water” is Sedum Burrito and Disocactus flagelliformis. Echeverias are “water lilies”.

Misc31 May 2011 08:42 am

Not very attractive. But that’s what you get when you google around.

And in addition, google came up with this Richard Thomas movie vehicle from 1971, Cactus in the Snow.

Bing came up with this, which doesn’t seem like a snowy addition to the cactus family to me, but then I suppose microsoft knows better than I do what I was looking for.

It may not be snowy in there, but it is the cutest darn cattle-rastlin’ cactus evah!

Just so you know, YouTube came up with a Kenny G. Christmas song, so I don’t recommend clicking the link, but to be fair there is snow on cactus in the video. Now that I think about it, I dare you to watch it! Grab a screencap if you can, ’cause the cactus snowglobe makes an appearance at 1:12.

How-to31 May 2011 06:33 am

We’ve seen succulent centerpieces, painted succulent corsages and succulent bouquets. Now get ready for succulent boutonnieres. No! From Aol’s DIY site.

For a boutonniere that has a distinctly modern feel, why not try sculptural succulents? Even better, Ellen Frost of Baltimore’s Local Color Flowers designed it for those who are a little intimidated about the whole idea of going the DIY route on boutonnieres. Here’s her easy tutorial.

And it turns out we’ve seen Succulent Boutonnieres before too. All tied up!

Questions30 May 2011 12:14 pm

I don’t know if you got my updated photos on my project but here are some photos of the Purple Temple Bamboo. The leaves are turning yellow and I am not to sure if I have a problem.

I am watering once a week for 20 minutes on a drip system but I don’t think I am over watering.
Thanks Dan


It looks like a bit of transplant shock and perhaps wind burn. What is the gallons per hour of you drip hose? If it is one of the low volume hoses, you may need to run the water longer to get enough water to the plants. During the settling in phase your bamboo should each be getting about five gallons of water per week and more during hot windy periods. After a couple of months of growing roots and getting settled, you can cut back a bit, but keep up the regular water the first year or two and get them fully established before weaning them off to once or twice a month water. If they don’t perk up in a few weeks you can give them liquid kelp and that should help them grow out of their funk.

Take care,


the drip hose is .9 gallons per hour and holes every 12″ on the drip hose. Sounds like I was not giving the bamboo enough water so I will water 5 days a week for an hour each time…… Thanks again for everything, Dan

Misc30 May 2011 08:43 am

Usually people plant small succulents for their green roof projects. This one has giant Aeoniums spilling off the roof.

Succulents are spilling off the roof of this shed.
Photo by Lisa Hallett Taylor

There are people in the background of this photo, hanging around while the photographer worked.

California Native Plants30 May 2011 08:11 am

Our first giant poppy flower of the year!

According to Calflora,

Matilija poppy is a glabrous, shrubby perennial, heavy branched and woody at the base, growing to 8′ tall.

I wonder what glabrous means? I suppose I should take a botanical terminology class. Or, let me check the wikipedia.

In botany and mycology, glabrous is an adjective used to describe a morphological feature as smooth, glossy, having no trichomes (bristles or hair-like structures), or glaucousness (see also indumentum). No plants have hair, although some structures may resemble it. Glabrous features may be an important means of identifying flora species. Glabrous characteristics of leaves, stems, and fruit are commonly used in plant keys.

Romneya coulteri

Berkeley Gardens29 May 2011 11:00 am


Environment29 May 2011 09:04 am

Well it’s not a cactus, properly speaking. It’s a “Cactus Sponge”! and not just any cactus sponge, but the Cactus Sponge, Dendrilla antarctica, which I guess makes it more of an animal than a plant, too.

Pretty creature. It would probably be hard to keep it alive in a fish tank.

Questions&Reader Photos29 May 2011 06:37 am

Kathleen has some pictures of mystery plants she needs identified.

I’ve ID’ed a few to start:

  • Tropical #1a: Ruellia makoyana?

  • Succulent #1 looks like Aloe saponaria

  • Succulent #3 Peperomia ferreyrae

  • Succulent #9b would be Agave attenuata

Any others you can ID?

Misc28 May 2011 01:39 pm

It’s a book cover!

A romance! But he looks gay. Hmmm, what is she thinking? But then she does look a bit masculine… too much blush applied… and that wig looks like it’s about to fall off. She’s a he! It’s a gay cactus romance with lavender balloons.

News28 May 2011 11:32 am

Anti-aging cream made from succulents?

I find… that the dry skin on my hands and neck are thirstily drinking it up.

I guess that’s a good sign. Or maybe you’re skin is naturally dry and it’s a temporary moisturing.

This is made up of… prickly pear, blue agave, lady’s slipper orchid… aloe. Of all of these, prickly pear, or cactus pear (opuntia tuna) is the most convincing…. Cactus pear has plenty of antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid, carotenoids, reduced glutathione, cysteine, taurine, and flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin.

Sounds important!

Unfortunately… Blue agave, from which tequila is made, doesn’t have much research to back it up and I could find no supporting evidence as to its role in skincare. Lady’s slipper (cypripedium pubescens) has primarily been used as a sedative.

So you can drink it if you prefer. A little prickly pear juice for the anti-oxidants, some tequila for the buzz and a little Lady’s Slipper for the sedative…


Misc28 May 2011 08:31 am


The cactus is in front of the Travel Inn near I-10 and Wilmot.

From a distance, the cactus may look like it’s broken or even dead, but it is alive and healthy.

Seasonal birds visit from time to time, making one of the saguaro’s arms a temporary home, Patel said.

I like the term “seasonal birds”. Like the seasonal retired people who come down to Arizona every winter, the seasonal birds do too.

Misc27 May 2011 01:17 pm

The reds and greens of the Sempervivums and Jovibarbas, as seen on my phone.



Whippets27 May 2011 06:57 am

Jaxx and Amica are visiting at the store today. Stop by to see a herd of whippets.

Environment26 May 2011 08:58 am

James Cornett of the Gannett Company was looking for cactus near Palm Springs.

I had heard the Mojave fishhook cactus was rare. I did not, however, expect that it would take me an entire day to find one in what was considered prime habitat or that it would take me another four years to finally discover one in bloom. In the end it was worth it. With the discovery of this species in bloom (known to botanists as Sclerocactus polyancistrus) my list was complete. I had found and photographed all 25 species of cactus known to exist in the deserts of California while they were in bloom….

The other factor making it difficult find a Mojave fishhook is that each specimen looks very much like a browsed clump of bunch grass. The spines (some of which are hooked) are drab in color and appear as wispy as grass blades. Since bunch grass mounds are usually common in the Mojave Desert, distinguishing the grass clumps from the cactus is not easy even at short distances. I had to walk within a few feet of the two specimens I eventually located on my first full day of searching.

No closeup of the bloom? Maybe he’s saving them up for a book.

Questions26 May 2011 06:57 am

Hello Cactus Jungle!
A few months ago, I bought a couple of bamboo plants from Cactus Jungle and planted them in a planter box on my porch in San Francisco. One of them is doing really well, but the other one has yellow leaves and a few of its shoots have died. Unlike the healthy plant, the sickly bamboo hasn’t sent up any new shoots at all. I’m wondering if you can recommend how to cure whatever ails it. It’s a wind-tolerant variety, I think from Chile–I’m sorry I don’t remember the name. I’ve included some photos in case they help.

I water the plants about once every two weeks. The planter box has two inches of pebbles at the bottom to help with drainage. The plants get early morning and late afternoon sun. And lots of wind…
Please let me know if you have any advice.
Thanks for your help!

The plant, Chusquea culeou, does look a little thin in the photos. With a little care you should be able to get it to green up again.

The basic problem is that you are not watering them enough. In general we recommend watering once per week – drenching the soil completely. They are drought tolerant, so it’s losing leaves as a response to underwatering. In addition, you’ve got a wood planter box which will tend to dry out very quickly, and high winds which will tend to dry out the plants quickly. So water once per week – and with your conditions there I wouldn’t miss a watering.

You can also feed the bamboo now. If you got Bioturf fertilizer from us, use that.

Carnivorous Plants&News26 May 2011 05:36 am


Dame Helen Mirren is presented with a nepenthes cultivar (a new variety of the carnivorous pitcher plant), Nepenthes ‘Helen’ named in her honour. Doesn’t she look pleased?

Questions25 May 2011 10:13 am

A long letter…

Dear Hap and Peter,

I’ve come across your blog and a few others while researching what I have done wrong with my aloe plants. It is very nice of you to answer all those questions. I was hoping you could help me please. Also, please bear with me, this e-mail might have a lot of wording, I’m told I’m long winded…

I have quite a few aloe plants that we’re originally my grandmother’s. Once a year or so my grandfather would give them to me to separate the baby aloes and re-pot them. They always did very well. Now I have them, and the year before last I had no problems with them. I wintered them in front of a patio door that faces east and didn’t water them but once over that time. After the last threat of frost I would put them on our deck which is under a large maple and they would get dappled light and indirect rainwater all summer long until the fall.

We’ll pause here. Click through for more… (more…)

Reader Photos25 May 2011 08:39 am

Aloe polyphylla photos from Annie.

I think we may be getting some of these giant spiral aloes for the nursery. If I understand correctly, we installed these years ago and then the house was sold and the new owner wants something different so we’re going to be taking them out and putting something else in. In the meantime they grew so big! Bigger!

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