Caroline from Marin sends us 2 photos of her recently planted succulents.
I purchased this cactus from you about a month ago. The leaves are slowly turning black, almost as if they are burning? I live in Marin and it recorded full sun almost all day. Any advice?
Hi. I purchased this aloe plant from you about a month ago and sent a note last week because I was concerned it wasn’t doing well. It seems to be getting worse. Here is a recent picture. Any suggestions what could be wrong?
Hap was gracious enough to provide an extensive answer discussing Mediterranean climate plants in Mediterranean climate summers (That’s us!)
Both of your plants, Aeonium “Sunburst” and the Aloe striata are winter growing plants from Mediterranean Climates just like ours (the Aeonium is from the Canary Islands and the Aloe from South Africa), where all the rain is in the winter months and summers are basically a long drought.
To deal with this they have a summer dormancy period (just like many native Californian plants) where they shut down and nap for the summer and then wake up with the onset of the winter rains and start their active growth stage.
The Aeonium deals with the summer dormancy by letting some of the lower leaves dry out and curl up, to reduce surface area exposed to the sun and the Aloe by doing something similar as well as developing Carotenoids (red and orange pigments) that are more resistant to UV during the long hot summers and increase in the intensity of the sunlight and UV.
Both of the plants you sent photos of look normal for this time of year and should take off with new growth in October and November and really look great by the Holiday season. You can keep them slightly awake and looking “garden fresh” with an occasional drink (weekly to every two weeks), but do not over water in the summer, since it can lead to rot and infections, since while they are dormant they have a harder time fighting off infections.
Robin Cooper gets questions on the British Radio. Bites on your cactus – are they head lice? No! But they’re screaming! And they have families too! The lady finally tells Robin that she’ll pray for the baby beetles before she kills them with insecticides.
Apparently there’s a newspaper in the next town over from Berkeley and they have a cactus that blooms so it’s featured in the newspaper every year. They don’t know what it is, but they don’t stop over here and ask us, now do they? Reporters should call us you know, we’d answer all their questions for them.
Long-time residents know that the plants bloom once a year, subject to the vagaries of weather and traffic. At one time, there were more cacti in the group with multi-colored flowers, but so far this year we just have a single bloom atop one plant.
Gardeners will probably know the names of the plants, but for most of us, the beauty is in the patterns and the blooms.
Geez, don’t reporters have phones anymore?
Not sure what variety of succulent this might be, but it’s an interesting visual effect.
Oh, the humanity. Should we tell them what they are?
Keith tosses snails onto the roof. This snail is crawling back down the wall, from a height of about 22 feet. Brave snail! Do you think it will make it all the way down to safety?
I suppose this photo is a bit hard to read, so at the top of the photo there is blue, that is the sky. I am standing 18ft. below the snail looking up at a solid concrete wall with a snail crawling down from the metal cap flashing on the roof parapet, with it’s slime showing the trail down. Does that make more sense now?
Green paper, glue, scissors, about 20 or 30 spaghetti noodles and something to use as a pattern (I used a wooden spoon)
Picture 6 – Finished
These make great 3-D table decorations for a party and they are also a great take-home item for the party too. Have the kids sit at a table and have the cactus cut out ahead of time. That way they only have to take one side of the flat paper and paint with glue. Have them add spaghetti and they have a wall hanging to bring home or add a magnet to the back for the fridge.
You’ll have to click through for the rest of the photos, not to mention instructions numbers 2 through 5. Nice! But I don’t recommend trying this with more than 1 kid at a time as suggested by the author. Getting a bunch of kids together can only mean HAVOC! Spaghetti noodles everywhere! Strips of cut up cactus papers on the floor, glue on the chairs, magnets stuck to the underside of the couch. And imagine the horror if there were a dog in the room too. Too much!!!
1. Slice nopales into thin strips. Saute in olive oil till just browned, but not soft.
2. When cool, toss with other ingredients. Add more lime , if necessary.
3. Serve in a chilled bowl, or iceberg lettuce cups, or on a crisp tortilla. Sprinkle with queso fresco.
Cheryl Marquez grows her own cactus for nopales dishes at her Tortilla Flats restaurant in Soquel (Dan Coyro/Sentinel)
Hey! If you’re paying close attention to this blog then you realize I already featured this plant last year and the year before that too. It must be a pretty reliable bloomer for me to keep photographing it year after year and posting it here for you to enjoy. Maybe it’s a sign that you should grow it too and enjoy it year round in your own home.
Hello! I was wondering if you might be able to identify the attached for me? Someone thought it might be an Echinopsis – but the flowers look wrong for that to me. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate it very much!
Again, I really enjoy your blog, and read it all the time.
Thanks very much!
Very nice cactus! And not an Echinopsis at all. It’s a Parodia magnifica. Very distinctive.