Questions


Questions06 Nov 2013 11:42 am

Hello Cactus Jungle!

I started out life living next to a Echeveria Dondo. Alas, my plant mate did not survive being abandoned as an office cubicle plant. I believe that I am 3 or 4 years old from the tag that came from my plantmate.

I have gone through many neglectful owners but my story does have a happy ending. I have found a plant guardian that is now dedicated to taking care of me! I have even grown 3 inches under her watchful eye. She wants to take care of me the best she can, but she knows nothing about me.

photo(1)

Can you please help tell what I am and what I need to be at my max levels of happy? Thanks!

McMullen the Mystery Plant
Sent by Christina L.

Christina,

I’m not sure what exactly type of plant McMullen is, but it is probably a Kalanchoe that wants more light. However, it could be a vining succulent like a Dischidia or Hoya too, but probably not.

I’ll post the picture to the blog and see if anyone comes up with an idea.

Peter

Questions&Reader Photos27 Oct 2013 06:59 am

Peter,

Thanks again for reserving my ‘Ebony’

Please find attached the 2 cacti that I cannot ID without help. Let me know if I have something worth dividing, planting or tossing.

SAMSUNG  SAMSUNG

Thanks,

John

John,

The one with the smaller stems is Parodia leninghausii. This will have a lot of beautiful big yellow flowers. These can safely be divided and propagated in the spring.

The more sprawling one is probably an Echinopsis, but I wouldn’t be able to ID the species until it blooms. It’s probably easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Both look like they need to get out of the wood boxes and into something bigger. I would generally wait until March to repot these.

Peter

 

Questions&Reader Photos19 Oct 2013 11:15 am

Hi Peter,
We were wondering about these two cacti given to us by friends. The tall one on the left seems to want to branch (we got a cutting off a 3-4 foot tall potted specimen). The short guy we think is a gymnocalyceum, and have always been a bit puzzled by its odd coloration (kind of dayglo yellow and pink). It was potted in fine sand and really suffering when we got it 2 years ago. Not sure what either of their specific needs are (minimum tolerated temp, sun exposure, etc).

photo 2 photo 1

Thanks for your help!
Marion

Marion,

The tall one is a Cereus. The short one could be a Gymnocalycium, but I wouldn’t know for sure until it blooms. The coloration seems to be an effect of the sun and probably the soil too. It can handle less than full sun, and may need to be repotted into fresh fast draining cactus soil in the spring.

In the San Francisco area I would recommend watering every 2 to 3 weeks through the summer, less in winter. They are probably hardy down to about 30F.

Peter

Questions&Reader Photos11 Oct 2013 11:24 am

hi — i’m in northwest Wisconsin. wondering if you can identify a vine-type cactus, as far as I remember I got at a garage sale. Attached is a photo. I came home on my lunch hour today to take a photo of the single flower that had bloomed — good thing I did, cuz I just looked at it and the flower is drooped and lifeless. Evidently they only last a day?

cactus flower

I’ve had it about 4-5 years I think. It was root-bound so I divided it a few months ago. Some of the spikes are 3 feet long, long and narrow. There are others that are narrow, then form into a paddle, then get another narrow spike on the end. There are also rows of brown strings that form on the spikes, point toward the light. It’s in an east window.

Hope you can find the time to answer me.

Thanx –

Debbie A.

The cactus is an Epiphyllum, or Orchid Cactus. It is possible it is one of the night-blooming varieties – the blooms only last one night – although most epiphyllums will bloom during the day for 2-3 days. The brown strings are aerial roots – it is looking for tree branches to grab onto.

Peter

Questions02 Oct 2013 08:38 am

Hello,
Would you be so kind as to tell me if there is something wrong with the two specimens? One is a Fairy Castle Cactus (I think) with brown spots forming and the other specimen (no idea what kind) is discoloring or developing bark. I am new to all this. Growing the cacti indoors under fluorescent lights with reflectors set about 12 inches above the plants.

WP_20130906_008 WP_20130906_009

Thank you!!!
Steve

Steve,
The round cactus, probably a Gymnocalycium, looks like it might be rotting. If the lower portion that is turning brown is soft then the plant is not going to survive. It looks like it may be too much water for the light conditions.

The Fairy Castle, or Cereus, looks fine from the photo. The spots could be scale, an insect that you can clean off by spraying rubbing alcohol directly onto it which will kill it and break down its shell, and then you can wipe it off with a soft paintbrush. Or it could be some damage from neighboring spines that have healed over. The plant looks like it could probably use more light and less water too.

I don’t know where you are or how hot it is there, but assuming that it is not too hot then growing these under lights I would water every 3 to 4 weeks only.

Peter

Questions&Reader Photos01 Oct 2013 02:29 pm

A tricky ID? You tell me.

 crassula falcata

I picked this plant up last year but it didn’t come with an ID tag. It’s blooming and the flowers look pretty.

Reilly

My answer is after the break (more…)

Questions&Reader Photos22 Sep 2013 07:12 am

They ask us to ID their cactus, and we oblige.

Love your webpage. I hope you can help me.
My question is do you know what species this Opuntia is? It is in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

The owner gave me a cutting and I would like to find out more about it.
Thank you,
Mike Muench

Mike,

I believe that is an Opuntia monacantha, also known as the Droopy Prickly Pear.

Peter

Questions11 Sep 2013 03:41 pm

Hi Peter,

We talked on the phone a few minutes ago regarding paling/brown color that’s appearing on my cactus. Based on the attached pictures do you have any advice?

image(1)

Thanks so much!
-Chris

Chris,
It’s hard for me tell for sure, but it looks like a little bit of discoloration at the very bottom of the cactus. What I can see looks like it might be a bit of rot. Looking at the pointed-top shape of the cactus, I’m guessing it is not getting enough light, and even though you are only watering every 3 weeks, with that amount of light it would want less water. But mostly it wants more sun.

First, regarding the discoloration – push gently against it to see if it is soft. If it is then it is the start of some rot. I recommend spraying with Hydrogen Peroxide, and a few days later following up with an organic fungicide like Neem (although not Rose Defense).

Make sure the soil is completely dry before watering. And bring the plant out into more sun – although not all at once. Every day bring it into about 1/2 hour more direct sunshine until it is getting at least 4 hours direct sun.

Peter

How-to&Questions06 Sep 2013 09:42 am

Peggy called and needed to transplant the cacti she had bought from us, but she now lives elsewhere so we talked her through the process and pictures ensued.

Hi
We purchased an Oreocereus trolli in 2009. We since moved to Los Angeles and cacti out grew its container and spawned three-four new growths. I called a month or so ago and spoke to someone about transplanting it. I was able to transfer it this morning, I promised to send photos.

Best
Peggy

Here’s what it looked like before the repotting. Nice!

1_transplant

2_transplant

3_transplant

And the final result…. After the break…. (more…)

Carnivorous Plants&Questions03 Sep 2013 11:19 am

A complex and detailed question?

Carnivorous plant

carnivorous plant terrariums

Dead or dormant?

Thanks

Adam

Adam,

I would say there is still hope for the Sarracenia. The problem is there is too much water. These are bog plants, which generally means they prefer very moist soils, but not where the water line is above the soil like you would do for a pond plant. And in a terrarium where the water is not moving, the water needs to be able to go down.

I recommend carefully tipping the terrarium over to get all the water out, holding the plant in place as best you can. When you water, add enough to let the water sit at the bottom just high enough to get above the charcoal and into the soil, and then let the water go down below the soil/charcoal line before adding more water.

Hopefully there will be new growth within a couple weeks.

Peter

Questions31 Aug 2013 11:02 am

Help! The rotten wind knocked my pot full of cacti off the sill and my beloved cacti are all messed up! My tall column cactus is in the worst shape. Although he is still whole, he seems to have internal damage, as in, he feels squishy in some areas. He also has a couple of external damage marks (see white streaking at top and discoloration near bottom). The other sprawling one came completely out of the pot, but otherwise seems Ok, and the other one stayed in the pot and seems Ok also. I am really sick about this. I have had them for years (since tall guy was just a few inches tall) and really hope they can be saved. P. S. Also can you please identify the types?

photo(11)

Thank you,
Louise

Louise,
The tall one is probably a Cereus. The white streaks are where there was bending stress. That should heal over. If the bottom of the cactus is soft and not just discolored then you need to cut the cactus off above the rot and try to root the new cutting.

Basically you need to cut above the rot, making sure there is no rot inside at the cut edge. Spray the cut with hydrogen peroxide and set aside to dry for 2 to 3 weeks.

If you see rot when you cut, keep cutting higher until there is no rot in the branch.

When the branches are fully healed over you can plant them in dry cactus soil and keep dry for a few more weeks. Water only every 3-4 weeks. Do not re-use any of the old soil as it is possibly infected.

The sprawling one, I’m not sure what it is but it looks like it can be repotted just fine.

In general it looks like you needed to repot these into larger pots at this time anyway.
Peter

California Native Plants&Nursery&Questions30 Aug 2013 12:14 pm

Did you know that Google stopped by and photographed the inside of the nursery and you can see the result of that here on Google See Inside?

Nice!

Now it is true that this happened 3 years ago so the nursery looks very different now. In a good way! But still, you get a pretty good idea from the googles.

Now we have a question about a plant someone saw on our google page.

Hi cactus jungle!

I was being a creep and looking at the google maps street view of your store when I saw a plant I fell in love with immediately! It’s the one to the right of the bamboo in that picture, to the left of the white arrow. Looks like a little tree with bright green neon leaves. What is that thing and how can I get one I must have it!

streetview

Anyway, thanks for having such a great blog I love it!

- Mary

Mary,

That is a Manzanita (Arctostaphylos). We do have lots in stock. That one was potted into a terra cotta pot and trimmed up to look like a bonsai. I’m not sure exactly which species since the photos for Google’s See Inside were taken over 3 years ago.

 

Peter

Questions&Reader Photos21 Aug 2013 10:14 am

hoodia

We forget the name of this little gem that just flowered this week!

Sent from iPaula

 

Paula,

There should be a label on the pot inside the clay pot. But it is Hoodia gordonii. And that’s a very big flower!

Peter

California Native Plants&Questions19 Aug 2013 09:40 am

Hi Peter,
I just had my Dr. Seuss repotted, and he doesn’t look so great. I chopped back all his dead hair, he was quite lush before, but had out grown his pot. He’s about 5.5 feet tall from base of trunk. We potted him in a sandy mix of soil. He has gotten all this new growth, and the flowers since he was potted. I’m not sure how much water he needs, in old pot he was doing good with twice a week. Also, do you know his technical name? Can’t seem to find anything about him online.

coreopsis gigantea

Also, he’s getting a couple extra hours of sun each day in the new location. More afternoon sun than before.

Thanks!
Barbra

Barbra,
It is a Coreopsis gigantea. It’s a California native from the Channel Islands and the coastal cliffs of SoCal, so it is a winter grower and goes dormant in the summer, often loosing most of it’s leaves. In your large pot I would recommend watering well once every week or two and letting it dry out well before re-watering. Being a summer dormant plant too much water in the summer can cause rot and disease issues. It should perk up and take off this fall and look great again by Thanksgiving.

Peter

Questions14 Aug 2013 11:29 am

HELP
I bought this beauty a month ago, now seeming healthy leaves are falling off. I’m in Sacramento, hasn’t been that hot, it’s getting bright light, but not direct sun, heat here 70-90. Is this dormancy? Is it too hot?

aeonium

Still looks healthy on top yellow flower, it’s the two smaller bottom flowers that are lighter that the leaves are falling. Are they just too sensitive to heat? suggestions appreciated. It’s the nicest one I have.
Rick

Rick,
Aeoniums are winter growers and do go dormant in the summer, losing bottom leaves. However usually those leaves dry up first before falling off. I suspect that with dormancy and the difference in climate between Berkeley and Sacramento that more leaves have dropped off in response. The plant looks like it should be fine. Do not respond to this with extra water. Keep it in a cooler shady location for now. You won’t see new growth until November or so when it comes out of dormancy.
Peter

Questions31 Jul 2013 07:52 am

photo (1)

Who am I?

And can This cactus be cut down into segments and propagated like I propagate san Pedro’s?

Thank you!
Maggie

Maggie,
It’s a Cereus, probably Cereus uruguayanus, and it can be sectioned like San Pedros for propagating.
Peter

Questions26 Jul 2013 11:45 am

Hi there.
I live in England, and I have been growing some cacti for about four years now, but I don’t know what they are. They have never flowered, and I was wondering if you could identify them?
I know that the one on the far left is Astophytum ornatum, and that the one one in from the right is Opuntia subulata. I have only had these for about two months.

Wiltshire-20130704-00637 (1)

Also, could you please give me some tips as to how to make them all flower?
Thanks very much.
Helena

Helena,
The Opuntia subulata looks likes it’s probably a O. subulata monstrose, which means it won’t get as tall, which is probably a good thing. The one on the far right could be a Cereus, but I wouldn’t be sure of the species until it blooms, which could be many years depending on the species – they often won’t bloom until they’re 6 ft. tall or more! The one on the left looks like it’s not getting enough sun, so it’s hard to tell for sure what it is, but either a Mammillaria or a Rebutia.

As for flowering, the Astrophytum looks large enough to flower, as well as the Mammillaria/Rebutia. However the other two wouldn’t bloom for many years. To help the first two along in blooming I recommend a lot of sun and a bloom food – Bone Meal, and we prefer Fish Bone Meal, works well.

Depending on where you live in England the sun could be a problem, in which case you might want to try a full-spectrum UV light.

Peter

Questions24 Jul 2013 12:07 pm

On my front porch I have about 20 potted plants, mostly succulents and a few cacti. The spiders love it! I thought I was wining the battle but I see now I am way out numbered, if anything the spiders are happier having me clean out the old ones so they can spin new clean ones.

Any suggestions how to keep them away. my front porch just looks so ratty.

-sofia

Sofia,

Spiders are beneficial to succulents. Spiders eat pests while not being pests themselves. However sometimes the spiders can get too numerous. Clearing out webs won’t get the spiders since they’re generally hiding. If you want to catch a spider and move it safely to another location I find that a very light spray of a diluted rubbing alcohol will get them to come running out and you can then catch them and relocate them. Some people will tell you that even a light spray of alcohol will kill them, but I choose not to believe them.

Peter

Questions22 Jul 2013 01:08 pm

Dear blog master. I enjoy the cactus jungle blog; a visit to your store is on my bucket list.

I have a question. I have a hedgehog cactus set (aka “the Crip”) and a silver torch cactus (aka “Queen Frostine”). Both have been in a constant environment for more than two years – a greenhouse which is the home of many successfully flowering succulents, many of which are cacti. After flowering well in 2012, neither flowered this year but they are both growing very well. Do you have any thoughts?

Sent from my iPad so please excuse brevity and lack of editing.

Pam
Memphis, TN

Pam,
If they’re getting good sun and other plants nearby are blooming then it’s probably a matter of nutrients. I would recommend feeding with a good organic bloom food in late winter next year.
Peter

Questions&Reader Photos16 Jun 2013 12:24 pm

Hi Peter – any help identifying this cactus would be much appreciated; we’ve had it for so long and it is finally blooming after a good cold rest last winter. Thanks!

parodia ottonis

-Marion

Marion,
The lovely blooming cactus is a Parodia ottonis. It’s probably time to repot into a larger pot.

Nice!

Peter

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