Reader Photos

Reader Photos&Travel30 Jul 2015 09:54 am

Dorena sends along these photos of the cactus and succulents of the mission at San Juan Capistrano.


Echinopsis cluster with some late blooms


Giant Agave americana and a well-balanced Myrtillocactus behind.


Giant white Echinopsis flower. Up close!


Pachycereus line the street.


Questions&Reader Photos25 Jul 2015 11:40 am


I live in kansas city and was gifted this beauty for mothers day.. I want to take the best care possible of this gorgeous cactus! Our home has tons of natural light and we were told by the nursery we purchased it from that the spot we have it in is a good one even though it doesn’t received direct sun. I’m terrified of under/over watering. With a plant this size, how often should I be watering , and when I do, how much should I give? Do I fertilize? It’s about 8 ft tall. Thank you for your expertise.. Love your blog!

euphorbia ammak



That’s quite large! In general I would recommend some direcgt sun, though these Euphorbias can sometimes handle a bright room with no direct light, but it’s tricky.

Basically, with lower light levels you want to water less. A lot less. I would try starting with watering every 2 months – try to soak the soil as much as possible without the plant sitting in water. I would fertilize just a little bit once per year in the spring. You want to slow down its growth so it doesn’t grow more than 2 or 3 inches in a year.

However it would be best if you can move it to where it gets some directct sun and then you can water more often.


Reader Photos24 Jul 2015 11:34 am

John from Maryland sends along a photo of his blooming Stapelia and a very nice Echinopsis hybrid.

I just wanted to say hi, and share a couple of photos of my plants with you. I came across your site a while ago and check your blog often. I live in Salisbury Maryland…all the way across the country.

I have a lot of cactuses and succulents. We cannot grow many of them in the ground here (except some prickly pears) so I have to bring them in and out each summer.

Carrion Cactus

Anyway, attached are 2 photos – the first is my favorite cactus. I cannot help but laugh at its beautiful shape. The second is a Stapelia gigantea. It had one flower so far this year. The flower was about 15 inches across and very stinky.

Phalluseae Cactaceae

I love your blog. Next time I’m out that way, I’ll come into your shop.

John Mosher


How-to&Questions&Reader Photos03 Jun 2015 12:32 pm

I have a couple of cactus that are in need of serious re-planting. And I want to make sure it gets done right.


I have included some pics. Looking for any advice on the best way to go about this.




Those are some impressive looking cactus! I assume you are not going to try to replant the whole clusters, but rather are asking about taking cuttings from the fallen branches. Generally we recommend take tip cuttings and about 2-3ft. in length. Use a serrated blade, like a bread knife. Take a clean cut at a slight angle. Spray the cut end with household Hydrogen Peroxide and then set it aside in a shady location for a week or two so that the cut end callouses over.

When you are ready to plant, if it’s in a pot use fast draining cactus soil. Plant it 4 to 6 inches deep into the soil and stake it up. Don’t water for another week or two. Then start regular watering (every 2-3 weeks in the Bay Area, more or less depending on where you live.)


Art&Reader Photos23 Apr 2015 02:22 pm


Evelyn G. shared her cactus art with us from her instagram. She wants a cactus that will stay short, have big arms, no spines, and lots of blooms. Nice!

Berkeley Succulents&How-to&Reader Photos22 Apr 2015 09:08 am


Nadia sends along a photo of her beautiful succulent wall panel she made at our Cactus Jungle wall panel class this weekend.


More classes coming up? Yes!

Questions&Reader Photos&Science19 Apr 2015 06:51 am

A house on my street has these mounds of aloes. Not too attractive as far as it’s design, but something very cool popped up out of it.

Aloe nobilis mutation

Is this how variegated versions of plants are made? By mutation?

I’m considering asking to buy this lil special guy and try to see if I keep it healthy it will put out pups. Have you ever seen one like this? Cuz I never have.



It does look like an albino variegation mutation on that Aloe nobilis. In full sun and low water it will likely fail long term, so indeed try to bargain for it. That type of mutation is usually better grown where they get afternoon shade and a bit more care since they lack so much chlorophyll they are a bit “sickly”, but look pretty good with the right care.

Good luck and if you get it and grow it out and want to share a pup in a few years let me know!

Take care,


Reader Photos02 Apr 2015 09:46 am


Clinton sends along a recent photo from New Mexico of an Agave in snow.

Wow, that is pretty. But I sure am glad to not wake up to snow. California sunshine is pretty too. Woohoo!

Reader Photos29 Mar 2015 09:00 am


Rachel sends along a picture of an Agave going into bloom in Arizona on the ranch. Maybe Agave deserti?

Questions&Reader Photos26 Feb 2015 10:52 am

Bought plant year ago and you repotted. Plant is on balcony in Mission Bay SF. Watered 4-6 cups every 2 1/2 weeks; fertilized in Sept.


Lower leaves of plant gets soft and shrivels so I cut off. However, as plant grows, the lower leaves continue to get soft and shrivel; is this normal? Also, some of the leaves get these brown spots as you can see in the lower leaves in the photo. What is this? From water? In strong rain and wind over a number of days, I cover plant with a plastic bag; is this necessary?
Thank you for your help!


Your Dudleya is looking great! All succulents lose bottom leaves, and Dudleyas are no exception. They do get the brown spots and if its on a bottom leaf that will be falling off soon then there’s nothing to worry about. On upper leaves the problem is that Dudleyas prefer not to have water sitting on them, so in the ground it is often best to plant them at an angle so the winter rains roll off. Not as possible in a pot, but generally a little water on top won’t hurt the plant more than the occasional spots. Or bring it under cover when we get those too-rare rains these days!


Questions&Reader Photos25 Feb 2015 09:57 am

Here is another round of mystery cactus and succulents. My sister went to Ojai and went to a nursery there and brought back these wonderful plants for me.


Thanks so much Peter.



The plants are…

Top row: Adromischus, probably a Crassula, and Ruschia

Bottom row: Sempervivum “Oddity”, crested Sempervivum and Austrocylindropuntia.



Questions&Reader Photos24 Feb 2015 01:52 pm

We have this little plant sitting in my shop and my coworker and I have no idea what sort of succulent it might be! It has what looks like roots coming out from places on the stem (even from the little one) but they might not be roots?

IMG_0752 IMG_0753

Thank you!

Tea M. from California

Tea M.,
It’s a fuzzy little Kalanchoe, probably Kalanchoe tomentosa that is not getting enough light – it wants more light! They can get aerial roots coming off the stems so that when they fall over they will root from right there.


Reader Photos23 Feb 2015 09:12 am

Hello there! So happy to have found your blog! I was wondering if you could identify these beauties for me? I took these at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA but there wasn’t a little card with its name.



The big green one is an Echeveria right? I’m not sure what kind though.
The flowers on the second photo were coming out of a plant (silly me I didn’t snap one of the plant with the flowers) but I cannot remember what it was called, any guesses?

Thank you in advance,


The green one with the Ladybug is an Echeveria, possibly E. pumila.

The flower spray looks like a Crassula.


Cactus&Reader Photos21 Feb 2015 10:44 am


Cactus Jungle Crew I bought a Dragon-fruit Cactus from you. It was in the green house. I wanna share a photo, one of your crew said to send a photo to see it in a happier place.

Dragon Fruit Cactus


Thanks! Lots of nice new growth on it.


Questions&Reader Photos25 Jan 2015 10:36 am

Thank u Peter for responding so quickly. I must admit i am sort of surprised that you wouldn’t have a market for such a handsome looking guy but there you go.

alright thanks again maybe you’ll see it someday sitting on the street corner forlorn, unwatered and untouched by neither human nor dog wandering by. Give It a fond glance wontcha?


And what got Barbara to get poetic on us? Why this particular Euphorbia tirucalli right here:

Euphorbia tirucalli

Barbara asked if we wanted it since she has new grandkids and the plant is pretty poisonous, and we declined to take on this 5ft. tall x 4ft wide Euphorbia, attractive as it is. If anyone else local wants a referral to Barbara for this plant, let me know and I’ll pass along your information. Hopefully together we can forestall a “forlorn, unwatered and untouched” Firesticks.

Questions&Reader Photos10 Nov 2014 11:21 am

Hello Peter
Are you abel to tell me the names of these three succulents? Much tnaks!

The pictures and the IDs are below! Scroll down! Scrolling….


Your plants are:

Anacampseros rufescens

1. Anacampseros rufescens


2. Aloe, possibly Aloe barbadensis, or Aloe Vera, but maybe a hybrid.

Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg

3. Echeveria “Perle von Nurnberg”



Reader Photos27 Oct 2014 11:02 am

Reader Photos07 Oct 2014 07:18 am


Kindly little Leuchtenbergia principis waiting until my day off to bloom!


Nice! A very nice yellow on that one – I’ve seen a number where the yellow is much more pale.

Questions&Reader Photos23 Sep 2014 11:07 am


I’ve spent hours looking at pics online and can’t identify these cacti/succulents I recently acquired. Can you possibly identify them? Also, does the large brown swath on the prostrate plant indicate damage or a slow demise of some sort?

image image(2) image(3)

Thanks for any help you can give.

Newbie Leigh

The plants look like they need more sun, so it’s hard to ID them for sure. The one that is laying over is probably an Opuntia or less likely a Quiabentia. The brown is past damage and looks like it is fully healed.

The tall green one is maybe an Echeveria, like Echeveria setosa, but stretched vertically because of not enough sun.

The blue one is a Senecio, probably Senecio mandraliscae.


Reader Photos22 Sep 2014 02:55 pm


Dorena sends along this photo of a gorgeous desert cholla. I don’t know where she took the picture so I can’t be sure of the species, but I have my suspicions…

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