Plants28 Mar 2014 12:48 pm


First up us a lovely little Prickly Pear, Opuntia “Baby Rita”.

That sure is a nice plant. Small pads, brightly colored flowers, low growing, and prolific. I better get started parenting one of these.

Plants24 Mar 2014 09:45 am


It’s a tiny little bud on the side of a Pachycereus marginatus! This one is only 4ft tall, we’ve never had one this size bloom!

Now it’s a race to see if it flowers before it sells so I can get a picture.

Plants12 Mar 2014 11:15 am

Aeonium Jolly Green

Our newest green Aeonium is “Jolly Green”. Well that’s a festive name. I wonder who decided this particular succulent was festive enough for that name?

It is low growing, staying under a foot tall, and will spread about 4 feet wide. Red edged in sun, more green in shade. Hardy to 25F or so. Maybe below 30F you should throw a frost blanket on it.

Apparently this hybrid has uncertain garden parentage, so we’re not going to make a claim on the species or species.

Plants11 Mar 2014 09:57 am


Leucospermum “Veldfire”

Now that’s an amazing inflorescence  in the Proteaceae family.

4 to 5 feet tall, and from New Zealand? Why do they get all the best pincushions?

Plants10 Mar 2014 12:27 pm


Aeonium undulatum

These only grow about 3 feet tall, but the giant rosette and the wavy leaves are quite distinctive. Full Sun at the coast, but afternoon shade inland for sure.

Plants08 Mar 2014 09:34 am

People seem to love them some Sedums these days. The low groundcover varieties are very popular right now, and not just in the areas where they’re cold-hardiness is more important than the mild Bay Area climate, but right here in the Bay Area, where our coastal mild climate doesn’t test the hardiness of these Sedums at all, are they also very popular.

I wonder if I got the grammar of that last run-on sentence right? I could reread it and try to fix it, but that would hurt.

Sedum Tricolor

First up is a very colorful Sedum “Tricolor”, one of the S. spurium cultivars.

Sedum Lemon Ball

Check out the tape measure for scale! It’s  Sedum “Lemon Ball”, very chartreuse, stays chartreuse, doesn’t get red in sun, although otherwise superficially similar to S. “Angelina”, one of the S. rupestre cultivars.

Run-on sentences for everyone!

Sedum hispanicum purpurea (2)

Finally we have the not very colorful right now Sedum “Purpurea” although the Sedum “Aureum” is right now the most popular of Sedums, but this one does get purple in sun, but not too much sun or they wilt. And this one is onje of the S. hispanicum cultivars.


Plants07 Mar 2014 06:45 am

Big fat Dasylirion
Dasylirion wheeleri
Desert Spoon

These never get this tall here in the Bay Area. Generally they can get 6 feet across, but with very little to no trunk at all. These have been growing in Arizona, and it’s true what they say about Arizona – it gets hot. Some plants need extra heat to grow to their full potential.

These plants do look like they want to get out of those pots and into the ground so those roots can ease out a little bit, or a lot….

Plants03 Mar 2014 10:21 am

Is it a late winter bloom or an early spring bloom? I wish I knew, but then that would make me a magician.


Echeveria setosa


Echeveria agavoides

The weird thing is that they are both supposed to be summer boomers, so they are quite confused regardless. California will do that to Mexican species sometimes. Just imagine how the Madagascar plants must feel.

Plants25 Feb 2014 11:27 am

Three pretty Sedums for your enjoyment. Sedums are also known as Stonecrops and are found around the world. North America, South America, Asia and Europe. I don’t know about Africa, and probably not Antartica, though they are native to Alaska in the Southeast portion of the state.

Sedums are in the well traveled Crassulaceae family, which consists of about 1500 species, of which fully 600 are Sedums. And then there are the cultivars. 2 of the 3 below are cultivars. And then there are the shrubby Sedums, possibly moved recently into Hylotelephium, which have large pretty bloom sprays on top of thick succulent leaved stalks.

These are not Hylotelephium-type Sedums. But they are 3 different subtypes nontheless.

Sedum Little Missy

First up is Sedum “Little Missy” which is a small rosette with flat leaves. This attractive groundcover is prolific and wqill get quite red in the sunshine.

Sedum hispanicum purpurea

Sedum hispanicum “Purpurea” is a classic shade-tolerant, freeze-tolerant groundcover stonecrop that is very popular with the kids today. Small tubular leaves on trailing stems.

Sedum furfuraceum

Sedum furfuraceum is one of the thick leaved sedums, quite rounded and pleasantly colorfulized.

Plants24 Feb 2014 11:22 am


Euphorbia “Tiny Tim”

European hybrid
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Moderate
Water: Drought tolerant
Size: 10″-14″ tall x 14″-20″ wide

Blooms chartreuse flowers Summer through Fall with deep green foliage and red tips. Deer resistant. Compact Dwarf species. Hardy to 5°F.

Plants20 Feb 2014 08:25 am


Leucadendron salignum “Blush”
Willow Cone Bush
Native to South Africa
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 3 to 5 feet

Stunning shrub with bright red foliage and cone flowers. Needs full sun and fast-draining soil. Hardy to 25F.


Plants09 Feb 2014 08:29 am


Now that’s an attractive Pachycereus pringlei

Another one of our Baja native plants that do well around these here parts of the California area. This cactus gets tall. 40 feet tall is tall.

Plants08 Feb 2014 07:21 am


This one with golden chartreuse foliage is “Aureum”


This stonecrop with bluish purple foliage is “Purpureum”

Both are Sedum hispanicum, Spanish Stonecrop, from Spain. From the rocky slopes of the Spanish Steppes. Does Spain have Steppes? Or is that Poland and Argentina that have Steppes?

Sometimes I’m just BSing you here on the Cactus Blog. But not about the part of these Sedums being Spanish. They are. Cold hardy too. Can handle sun or shade, but will look best with a little direct sun and a lot of indirect sun. Can handle a bit more water than other succulents.

Plants07 Feb 2014 08:17 am


Echeveria “Rosy Ghost” is our newest cultivar. We found it among a crop of Echeveria subsessilis, so we think it’s a hybrid. But look at that color! Rosy edges, bluish white leaves! This one definitely likes a lot of sun. We think it will get about a 6″ rosette. Hopefully we can keep this in production year after year, but in the meantime we have a first crop ready. Dazzling!


Here’s another otherwise unnamed Echeveria Hybrid you can enjoy too. Colorful! Maybe we should figure this one out rather than name it ourselves.

Plants&Science06 Feb 2014 06:07 am


Dudleya brittonii is what I would call a California Native, but not everyone would agree with me. It is a Baja Native, i.e. Mexico, or Baja California. Is that California or not? Only the geologic formations can know for sure. But I’m betting that Eons of development would indicate that Baja and the US part of coastal California are part of the same Biome.

That’s my argument for including this plant in a list of California natives.

The other argument would be that some of these are growing naturally all the way up as far as San Diego County anyway so what’s this scientifically insignificant argument really about?!?

Plants04 Feb 2014 07:32 am


Aloe nobilis are small and green right now but when they get bigger they will form a mounding field of rusty dark green toothy aloes that are covered in orange flowers in the winter.

South African, some would say this is not a species at all but a hybrid aloe. A hybrid? Between A. mitriformis x A. brevifolia? Is that so? I don’t know. My South African Aloe book doesn’t mention the plant at all, so that might indicate its a hybrid.

Plants03 Feb 2014 08:20 am

aeonium pseudotabuliforme

Aeonium pseudotabuliforme isn’t the Dinner Plate Aeonium, but it is a very large headed rosette Aeonium. The leaves are glossy and rounded rather than hairy and pointed, hence the pseudo in the name. It’s also more propbably a subspecies of A. undulatum, and not its very own species.

From the Canary Islands, this succulent will branch, stay low to the ground, and eventually have yellow flowers.

It is very green and will not color up in sun, so it’s probably better to grow it with less sun.

This makes it also a good choice for indoors, but the heads do get big – dinner plate big – so maybe you should let it grow outside where it will have more room to wander.

The Canary Islands are off the coast of Italy, or Morocco or somewhere in the Mediterranean region of the area that is midway between Africa and Europe, but the Islands are probably closer to Europe because they are Spanish-owned, but in reality they are right off the coast of Africa. Perfect Mediterranean weather makes for perfect succulents for coastal California. Yay!

Here, have a bonus large-headed Aeonium from the African Islands owned by the Europeans known as the Canary Islands.


Aeonium subplanum

Plants02 Feb 2014 07:45 am

Aloe bakeri

Aloe bakeri

It’s a Rare Madagascar Aloe in bloom! The blooms are few and not tightly grouped, so the photo is sparse too. But it’s pretty. Ooooooo. Narrow green spotted leaves and yellow flowers. Not very hardy so we grow them indoors. Great in hanging baskets! Can handle full sun but will be a deeper, more luscious, green in shadier conditions. Treat them like an orchid? That would be one suggestion.

Photography&Plants01 Feb 2014 07:31 am

The rosiest of the yarrows is the Rose Yarrow. So it would seem it has been correctly named, after all! But the common name and the cultivar name don’t match? What’s up with that? It turns out that Cerise (244, 0, 161) is just another name for Rose (255, 0, 127) in the color-wheel of plants.

Achillea Cerise Queen

Achillea “Cerise Queen”

Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: Under 1ft. tall

Rose colored flowers. Drives the butterflies crazy. Remove spent flowers for a late fall rebloom. Cut flowers last a long time, look great dried. Hardy to below 0°F.

Plants30 Jan 2014 10:20 am

This is a very colorful and very spiny Bromeliad. Not as spiny as some Puyas I’ve known, but spiny enough in its own right. The colors on the other hand are spectacular and well worth the fight. The blooms are orange.

Dyckia Rubra

Dyckia “Rubra”

Rich dark red terrestrial bromeliad; lots of sun/regular water in summer. Hardy to 25F. Prefers Full Sun.

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