September 2011

News22 Sep 2011 09:12 am

According to a poll released Tuesday, nearly 20 percent of U.S. citizens now believe Barack Obama is a cactus, the most Americans to identify the president as a water- retaining desert plant since he took office.

A growing segment of the population believes the president is pollinated by moths and hummingbirds.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found a sharp rise in the number of Americans who say they firmly believe Obama was either born a cactus, became a cactus during his youth, or has questionable links to the Cactaceae family.

That is one scary-**s truth-telling there.

(Tip to Mr. Subjunctive. Thanks!)

Questions22 Sep 2011 08:11 am

Hi Guys,
Both front porch and back porch potted succulents are getting vandalized and/or eaten by local animals. The uprooted plant in the wooden planter box is in front.

I think it might have been caused by a deer rooting around? The other succulent is in the back yard and appears to have been munched by an animal.

Raccoon? Squirrel? The critters also like to dig around in the dirt, especially in freshly potted plants. Any advice?


It looks like squirrel damage… try sprinkling with cayenne pepper and then pick up a bottle of animal repellant when you get a chance. We use and sell Deer Off which works on the stupid sky rodents as well! The cayenne works (until it gets wet) on mammals fairly well but not birds, but make sure to wear a mask when sprinkling it on a breazy day, it hurts if you breath it in or get in your eyes!

Take care,

Hi Hap,
Thanks! Coincidentally, a couple of days later, I actually saw a squirrel eating one of the fat succulent leaves. He had taken up to the garage roof and just sat there furiously munching it as I glared at him. Arg!

I’ll try the pepper and animal repellant. Will check out the Deer Off next time I come by. Last night a deer ate every last yellow bloom off my potted coreopsis. Will keep those in the back yard from here on out…


Reader Photos21 Sep 2011 12:43 pm

Our readers do a good job getting us some nice cactus photos.

Hello cactus jungle blog …. This is a nice big cactus on our way home. It has took on a nice purple this yr. But it could just be we are looking for them. We’ll get a blooming picture next time.

Phil. And son Henry.

Thanks for the Opuntia santa-rita photo!

Questions21 Sep 2011 11:36 am

i purchased a succulent arrangment in the summer from you for my mother and we have both subsequently become OBSESSED with them, i now have a huge garden of whatever succulents i could find, we have several redwood trees around us, and wondering since so much of the leaves are falling right now, will the excess acid from it harm the succulents? also if im planting the succulents in the ground, aside from the potting soil and lava rock we added what is the benefit from adding mulch/or rock? and is there a certain type of mulch to use?

we cant wait to come back and visit you now that we are so excited about succulents, thanks so much.

Oh ya and all the sudden there are some little white specks on the schawrkopf in the arrangment and a small amount of cottony white material on the leaves…is this mites? are there specific solutions or natural remedies for treating succulents for this?

thanks for any help you can give



I little bit of leaf drop from the redwoods isn’t a problem, but a good healthy coating would be a problem. Not only will it reduce the sun get through to the plant, but when wet it can cause rot problems. It also can make the plant more prone to pests, which it sounds like you already have. Without seeing the plants I can’t be sure, but it sounds like you have aphids or mites (the little white specks) and mealy bugs (the cottony white material).

We recommend using 100% Neem oil on the succulents to kill the pests, while still safe for the plants (if sprayed when not in full sun).

As for a mulch, in general the succulents really don’t need any mulch. We use a lava rock mulch mostly for decorative purposes. Bark mulch will hold in too much moisture which can cause rot problems, especially in winter.


News21 Sep 2011 07:46 am

It’s street art in New York. I suppose it resembles a cactus and the colors are flaming.

For the month of August The Department of Transportation asked ANIMUS Art Collective to install their “Flaming Cactus” on 12 lamp posts around Astor Place.


I suppose.

It’s very touchable. But do you want to touch the public art after thousands of other New Yorkers have also touched the public art? Get gloves!

Blogs&News20 Sep 2011 11:23 am

Liza at Good to Grow used an electric knife to trim her mother’s Cereus down below the ceiling, as told on PATSP.

From her comment I’m not sure if the cutting of her mother’s cactus was shown on her local TV news, or if the cactus being cut was in the local TV station’s offices, but not broadcast Live! Film at 11!

Travel20 Sep 2011 09:04 am

Rikki managed to get Keith to switch shifts with her and she ended up in Big Sur where apparently there are some mature cactus and succulent specimens.

At the Big Sur Bakery there are plentiful cactus and agaves too.

And a giant Cereus.

I would say this looks like a productive day off in the high paced cactus industry.

Misc20 Sep 2011 06:43 am

Portait of a Gnome with X-Large San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi).

Questions&Reader Photos19 Sep 2011 11:47 am

I was thinking that today I would blog about the relationship between chemical fertilizers with a focus on potassiums, mycchorizal fungi and flatworms. But then this email came in with such pretty pictures from Kew Gardens that I decided not to delve into the soil, metaphorically speaking, today. Ah well, the opportunity is lost for good now.

Anyway, enjoy the view from Kew.

Hi, Hap

I took this pic at Kew Gardens in the Mediterranean section. Any idea which type of begonia (if it is really a begonia) this is? It’s stunning, and I think the fuchsioides comes somewhat close to this one.

Thanks for any help with this.


It looks like it is either one of the new ‘Dragon Wing’ or ‘Phoenix’ Begonias that have been introduced over the last couple of years. I am not which clone it is, but it is a very nice one!


Photography&Plants19 Sep 2011 07:08 am

Ferocactus emoryi is also known as the Coville’s Barrel Cactus because it’s also known as F. covillei. I suppose it’s also called Emory’s Barrel Cactus too just to even things out.

Found in the gravelly hillside washes of Arizona, these will grow to  a beautiful 4 to 5 feet tall, eventually.

The emoryi species name was first published for this cactus 150 years ago, but originally considered to be part of the Echinocactus genus. I don’t know why; those flowers are indubitably Ferocactus-ian (Ferocactus-esque?).

Apparently in Mexico it’s one of the barrels known as Bisnaga, or more specifically Biznaga-barril de Emory.

Science18 Sep 2011 12:59 pm

Dinosaur feathers found in Canada, from Scientific American.

A partial view of 16 feather barbs trapped within a single piece of Canadian amber. These specimens provide few clues about their potential bearer, but provide another tantalizing view of well-preserved pigments within the deposit. The overall colour of these specimens would likely have been medium or dark-brown. Photo: Ryan McKellar

Photography17 Sep 2011 12:31 pm


Nursery17 Sep 2011 09:37 am

I hope there isn’t a yellowjacket nest here at the nursery, but I found this guy eyeing the cryptanthus terrarium hanging off the wood pole.

Misc16 Sep 2011 04:11 pm

And now we see there are cactus wind chimes available from Garden

I have questions about this cactus wind chime. But I think I asked enough questions yesterday about the cactus peephole, so maybe I’ll leave this one alone to speak for itself.

OK, well, maybe one question.


Nursery16 Sep 2011 09:18 am

The newest member of the Cactus Jungle team is….



Reader Photos16 Sep 2011 08:09 am

Julian sends along a picture of a very tall cactus that seems to have grown too big for them. They’re looking for a new home for it. I’m guessing Stenocereus, judging by the long spines, but I’m not sure. Any ideas? Know anyone who wants one?

Misc&Whippets16 Sep 2011 06:45 am

Whippets under the covers


Misc15 Sep 2011 01:05 pm

I’m not sure what to make of this fascinating object from Amazon. It’s a peephole with a painted cactus surround. I don’t know if the cactus goes on the inside of the door or the outside. I wonder who this is intended for.

I wonder why the peephole is located at that point on the cactus and not another.

I wonder how it’s attached to the door.

I wonder whether anyone who has bought this object bought it for themselves and not as a gag gift.

I wonder if anyone who has received one as a gag gift has installed it on their door.

I wonder if anyone who has installed it on their door has ever peeped through the cactus peephole in their door.

They do say it’s…

  • Designed with attention to detail
  • Includes mounting instructions

Good to know.

Questions&Reader Photos15 Sep 2011 10:25 am

Mark writes in with a quick photoshop of his front yard wanting a plant for a hole in front of his window.

Hello Folks at Cactus Jungle.

I recently pulled a huge bush/tree thing I hated out of my front yard and have been in search of a good replacement. (I’m actually in a hurry to find something new because it left my entire living room exposed to the street traffic — poor planning, I know.) One plant I was considering for a replacement is an acacia, specifically an acacia baileyana ‘purpurea’ and was wondering if you had any thoughts. If you had positive feedback on that choice, is there any possibility you have them in stock? (I realize it’s not a succulent…)

The reason I pulled what was there before (an Angel’s Trumpet), was because it was really messy — dropping leaves all over my cactus and succulents below. And I wanted something more colorful that would also complement the colors of the house. (Below is an embarrassingly unprofessional Photoshop’d exploration of what it might look like.) But I am certainly open to other suggestions, if you had any.

Pluses would be drought tolerance, not too many dropped leaves or berries, grows quickly but not too large (I do plan to prune though), enough foliage to create a visual barrier, but still let some light into the front of my house. Sculptural is always nice too. Originally I was jones-ing for a beautiful, giant euphorbia. But I know it would cost a bazillion dollars and might not serve as a good screen from the traffic.

As I’m writing this I worry it might be sound like I’m asking for free design advice. But I trust you’d say so if it felt that way to you.

Thanks for any input.

P.S. Speaking of huge euphorbia (I saw your recent blog entry about it), I have to remember to send you photos of ones I saw in Southern Africa recently. Enormous giants! (Wait, that’s redundant, isn’t it.) Massive. And all over the place. And in bloom.


Now we do have the Purple Acacia in stock, so maybe he’ll get that and all will be good, but if you have any other suggestions for Mark, let us know right away!

Photography&Plants15 Sep 2011 07:55 am

Hydnophytum formicarum in bloom and with ripe fruit. We better collect those seeds ASAP! Hap better be prepared to provide them a lot of humidity as soon as he picks them.

This is the famed Ant Plant from the jungles of Malaysia or thereabouts. It’s an epiphyte, so it doesn’t need a whole lot of soil nor does it need a whole lot of direct sunlight.

The ants that colonize  the caudex enter only at the base. They leave behind nutrients in exchange for their home in the hollows.

Wanna see the caudex too? Follow me…. (more…)

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