November 2011

Quotes&Videos - Instructional24 Nov 2011 10:33 am

Comedy gold!

“What is this ‘mac and cheese’?”

Quotes23 Nov 2011 03:30 pm

If you have to deep fry the turkey tomorrow, please do it at least 25 feet from a flammable structure.

Words to the wise, indeed.

Photography23 Nov 2011 12:56 pm

They should be in full bloom just in time this year.

I wonder what color the flower will be?

Photography23 Nov 2011 09:19 am

These took Hap a lot of work to get those damn tiny plants inside those narrow-throated glass vessels.

Good job, Hap!

Questions22 Nov 2011 12:09 pm

Here’s another mystery plant, but this time we don’t know what it is. It’s going out on the floor for sale tomorrow, so if you know then let us know!

It’s in the Crassulaceae family but whether it’s a Crassula or a Kalanchoe is hard to say. For us! Maybe not for you. Let us know! Yay!

Nursery&Photography22 Nov 2011 11:00 am

We’re working hard getting the last mixed pots and fancy little terrariums put together before Black Friday. It’s a lot of little pots everywhere.

Pleiospilos bolusii

Questions&Reader Photos22 Nov 2011 06:54 am

I am Pat and this is my question plant. Hope you can help me identify this mystery succulent.


It is Senecio kleiniiformis, an interesting succulent daisy from South Africa and hardy outdoors to about 26 degrees.


That was a short answer. Any other questions?

Photography21 Nov 2011 06:53 am

Jatropha mcvaughey

Back when we first started the Cactus Blog, I started photographing succulents. It’s been 9 years now, and you can probably tell that my style has changed since back then.

This is the first group of photos I took for the blog and website.

Aloe “Green Gold”

These were not very high-res back then. (I’ve had a few camera changes over the years.) At least they were digital.

Euphorbia suzannae ssp. bupleurifolia

We haven’t had that one at the store in a few years. I must have sold the parent stock when Hap wasn’t looking.

Ceraria pygmae

Nice! We still have a couple of these in the house growing. Eventually Hap may take a cutting or two to sell.

Adenium obesum never go out of style.

Euphorbia pubiglans

Now this last one we have a large parent plant that we’ve been growing nice and big for years and finally this summer we took a bunch of cuttings. But they still haven’t rooted yet! I’m hoping that we have them ready for sale in the spring. I wonder if the parent plant we have is the same as this individual I photographed 9 years ago? Probably not.

News20 Nov 2011 12:43 pm

Not only is our ad in today’s paper, but they featured Haworthias in the garden section. Now that’s the best news out of the Chronicle in years!

H. turgida v. pallidifolia Photo: Erle Nickel

Consisting of more than 100 species and subspecies, this hardy, small succulent boasts an impressive range of forms and a devoted following in the world of horticulture. For us novices, what makes haworthias such an attractive houseplant is that they are easy to care for and can take some direct morning sun but can also handle lower light conditions. And once you begin searching them out, it quickly becomes apparent why they have a devoted following – they are some of the coolest-looking succulents out there.

We use Haworthias as the basis of our entire shade-tolerant succulent section. We grow about 20 types although they often look very similar to each other when grown together and can be hard to tell apart.

Misc20 Nov 2011 07:13 am

This object, so interesting it’s practically an objet d’art, is unusual in 3 ways.

Montana Lodge Pole Pine Three-Candle Holder Cactus

1. It’s a cactus but it’s made out of forest pine.

2. It’s a candle holder but it’s made out of flammable pine.

3. It’s from Phoenix, Arizona but it’s made out of Montana pine.

I think you should order one on Black Friday so you’ll be ready for christmas with just the right present for just the right person. Possibly your neighbor Jess.

Nursery20 Nov 2011 06:50 am

In today’s SF Chronicle.

How-to18 Nov 2011 03:40 pm

No, I don’t understand why someone put a cactus costume on their adorable pet pygmy hedgehog.

I don’t understand!!

Even more amazing is the whole thing is at a site for DIY and they give instructions on how to make your own cactus costume for your pet pygmy hedgehog. Awesome is not the right word I’m looking for, but it will have to do for now.

Just so you know, these cute little animals are illegal in California. I know this because I had one back before I lived in California and I was sad to learn I couldn’t have another pet pygmy hedgehog after we moved here. They are the cutest pet in the whole wide world ever, but nocturnal so not the greatest pet ever. Plus they eat mealworms which was OK since we also had geckos at the time.

I know what you’re thinking – you never know what you will find on the Cactus Blog! Woohoo!

Whippets18 Nov 2011 12:59 pm

Questions18 Nov 2011 08:47 am


I purchased these succulents from your garden about a month ago. They were planted directly into the soil 3 days from purchase and given a little water. Since then it’s rained a few times and I never saw any puddling. Others rooted very well, when lightly tugged on they didn’t bend or shift. A couple of days ago I noticed some of the other succulents weren’t doing so great. Attached are the ones that didn’t do so well.

– Photo (forgot the name): It seems the stem had rotted and fell limp. Is the soil not draining properly?

– Sedum hispanicum: Not sure if there’s anything wrong with them but they seemed a bit soft and not as hardy as the day I purchased them.

– Sempervivum: As you can see from the picture the succulent is just black! From the second picture the succulent is slightly elevated from the soil level just like the others.

Please help!


The first one I think is an Echeveria that is turning into a single bloom stalk. The roots have definitely rotted because of the moisture. I recommend cutting the roots off the stem, bringing it inside and letting the cut portion heal for a week. Then you can replant it into dry cactus soil in a pot. If you’d like, you can bring it in to the store and we can take care of it for you.

The one Sempervivum that turned black has died, and should be removed. The Sedum looks OK, but it’s hard to tell from the photo for sure.

So the basic problem here is too much moisture around the roots. You have a wood-based black mulch on top and that is holding in the water, not letting the soil dry out. This is a good thing for perennials and annuals, but for succulents the soil needs to be able to dry out, so I recommend removing the mulch you have and using a rock mulch, like lava or drain rock.

I can’t tell what the soil is, but if it’s a clay soil it also needs to be amended for faster drainage.
Let me know if you need any more help with these.

Misc18 Nov 2011 06:43 am

Opuntia microdasys “Aurea” is also one of the infamous Bunny Ears Cactus. Infamous because of the story that was told in the Old West…

It was a long time ago, in Utah this story was told, in the old country near the old hot springs. Sam Pine came to town but he wasn’t known to the good people of Rusty Saddle as Sam back then; he came to town with the name and reputation of the famous “Big Bill” Biggens. When all of a sudden, Saucy Susie served him a platter of homemade waffles and thick cut bacon….

…Stay Tuned for the next episode of Saucy Susie’s Waffle House on the Prairie. Coming soon to a Cactus Blog near you.

How-to17 Nov 2011 02:44 pm

Airplants have become very popular these days. We see this at the store every day. But you know how you know when something has become really popular?

This is how: a glow in the dark giraffe accessory for your Tillandsias, now available on Etsy:

Polls17 Nov 2011 09:20 am

It’s Christmas Cactus season at Plants are the Strangest People, so I thought you might like a poll.


Reader Photos17 Nov 2011 06:40 am

Genn from Idaho has a really big cresting ghost Euphorbia lactea that she’s shared with us.

This is what happens when you grow one successfully for a few years. The crest grows bigger with fans on top of fans.


Recipes16 Nov 2011 12:20 pm

Are now available throughout the country, or at least at the few restaurants that will be carrying them.

This month’s taco is from Michael Kornick…. His Tacos Nopalitos y Pollo is available at Mercadito locations in Miami, New York, and Chicago until November 30.

If you can’t get over there in time, don’t worry, here’s the recipe.

24 thin corn tortillas 4-inches to 5-inches in diameter
Oil to warm on the griddle

1 fresh Nopalitos cactus
2 cups rich chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 oz. olive oil

1 pound of chicken breast
2 cups rich chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 Serrano chiles minced
½ cup sliced onions
½ tsp cracked black pepper
Salt to taste

6 medium tomatillos
Oil to grill
Salt and pepper

½ cup chiffonade cilantro
¼ cup minced red onion
½ Serrano chili minced (no seeds)
6 lime wedges

That is a long list of ingredients. You’ll have to click through for the instructions.

They sure look good.

Quotes16 Nov 2011 09:24 am

A Phoenix native living in Franklin, Mass., or thereabouts, schools you on your cactusey language.

The general public would (be) more surprised to learn that cactuses is an acceptable plural form of cactus, not just cacti.

So true. Also, cactus is both a singular and a plural form and cacticularies is an archaic plural. I just made up that last one.

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