Reader Photos

Reader Photos09 Apr 2014 12:26 pm

Subject: Can you identify?


I bought this at your shop years ago, cannot remember name or type of plant. Can you help?


That is a lovely blooming Billbergia nutans, also known as the Queen’s Tears.


Carnivorous Plants&Reader Photos04 Apr 2014 01:12 pm

Anne sent along this photo of her Sarracenia collection.


One of those has gotten HUGE!

Do you think she’ll be kind enough to add species names in the comments?

Questions&Reader Photos29 Mar 2014 08:28 am

Hello Peter,

You were giving me some advice there at the nursery a few days ago about
possible choices of cacti and succulents for some planting that I’m hoping
to do here at my place in Kensington.

One of my neighbors has a succulent (I think)that I like very much. It’s
shown in this photo.

Echeveria Fireball

Can you identify it? Are these things available?

Your advice will be much appreciated!

Yours sincerely,



That is an Echeveria “Fireball”, a very nice succulent. And we do not have any growing right now. We may have some by mid summer. We do have a lot of other Echeverias that are that big, even if not that red.


Reader Photos26 Mar 2014 10:31 am

Dear Peter,

You may recall that I came in a few weeks ago with some photos of my Agave celsii, which had sent up 7 flower spikes. I was asking what to do now that the spikes were beginning to rot and you suggested taking the whole plant apart, which I did. I managed to rescue three pups, which are now planted and hopefully at least one of them will begin to replace the plant that is no more.

At the time, you asked me to send you some photos, for your blog. I am sorry to have taken so long to get around to this, but here they are.

A few months later, an A. paryii also bloomed – in some ways even more spectacular.

Thanks again for all your help.


Agaves in bloom - 02

And a lot of pictures were sent. Click through to see all of them. (more…)

Reader Photos25 Jan 2014 08:24 am

RoseAnn shares a wild looking cresting Euphorbia myrsinites.

euphorbia myrsinites crest

From the Euphorbia Spurge (I guess that’s the name) that I bought there.  pretty cool..


euphorbia myrsinites crest closeup

Pretty cool, indeed.

Airplants&Reader Photos12 Jan 2014 06:55 am


From our reader Genn comes this photo if Tillandsia, glass and candles. Nice!.

Actually Genn isn’t a Cactus Blog reader, she’s my mother-in-law! Nice!

Reader Photos18 Dec 2013 02:46 pm

Devon sends along a photo of a Tillandsia arrangement, put together from stuff found here at the Cactus Jungle, and I would say that is a very nice use of the materials. This seems like a challenge to Rikki and Nicole.


I’m giving my family all plant arrangements for Christmas, and for my sister I put together some air plants I got from you folks. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, so I’m sending you a couple pictures of the completed arrangement. The shell and glass stand are from you all as well. The plants are T. seleriana, T. harrisii, and T. juncea ‘red-green’. I think she’s going to like it!

Questions&Reader Photos05 Dec 2013 08:36 am

Hi Peter,

I hope you can help me out with an unusual repotting problem.

A well-meaning friend of ours recently sent us a “cactus garden” as a gift from an online website, pictured below:


Any idea what the different species are? The online vendor simply labeled them all as “cacti”.

Well, the various cacti and succulents are doing fine so far, but now I think they are starting to crowd each other out. I was hoping to repot them, but the potting soil that they used is as hard as concrete! I can barely dent it with a hammer!


Yes, it is that hard. I can’t even pull the wood chips out of the soil!

I have no idea what crazy concoction they are using as a soil. The directions that came with the garden only say that, “The cactus soil is a blend of nutrients combined with a hardening compound. It was scientifically developed to provide a healthy growing environment for cactus while also providing protection during shipment. Although it appears hard and impenetrable, the soil does absorb water and distributes it throughout the planter.”

Have you ever run into this strange potting medium before? If so, are the poor plants going to be okay in that stuff as they grow? And if not, what is the best way to get them out safely so that I can repot them?

Finally, it is currently winter here in southern California, and the cacti are sitting outside on our back porch. Should I wait until the spring growing season before attempting to repot them? And how much space should I give them?

Thank you for all your help!


You have 3 cacti and 3 succulents. This type of potting is not intended as a long term solution, so yes they do have to come out of the concrete (and they do add gypsum, i.e. concrete, to the mix to get it to harden). So basically you will be rescuing the plants.

If they are healthy now, I would wait until spring. If they look desperate, then go ahead and get them out now.

I don’t have any secrets for rescuing them – get the whole thing out of the pot and chisel them apart as best you can trying to save some roots where possible, but allowing for the fact that these may be cuttings you are starting with once they are out.

Pot them in dry fast-draining cactus soil, keep dry for a couple weeks. I would try a 4″ pot for each plant, if I am judging the size correctly.

Succulent Species:
Crassula ovata (Jade)
Faucaria felina (Tiger Jaws)
Pachyphytum, maybe longifolium

Cactus species:
Cleistocactus strausii


Reader Photos29 Nov 2013 06:31 am


Robert sends along a photo of Lisa’s Thanksgiving table with our Succulent Wreaths for centerpieces, with red candles!

Reader Photos11 Nov 2013 01:22 pm

Heather got one of our more creative Succulent Terrariums recently and shared a shot of it in it’s new habitat, her bathroom, on instagram.

Succulent Terrarium

Nice! I like that you can see the backside of the terrarium in the mirror.

Reader Photos&Succulent Wreaths04 Nov 2013 01:23 pm

Hi there,

Attached are photos of the living wall we created using plants from your nursery. Thanks for being so helpful!

Living Wall

Josh and Deys

Wow! Nice job. Another picture of this Living Wall after the break. (more…)

Questions&Reader Photos27 Oct 2013 06:59 am


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.





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.



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!


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.


Reader Photos18 Oct 2013 10:15 am

Cheryl bought the large Stapelia coming into bloom last weekend, just before the flower opened, and now has sent along a picture of the open flower.



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.


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.


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


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


Reader Photos27 Aug 2013 09:07 am

Dorena sends along this picture of a steel cactus, a steel prickly pear to be more exact.

cody wyoming

Cody, Wyoming

Reader Photos22 Aug 2013 10:25 am

I’m passing along this email I received.

I have a healthy, beautiful five foot Cereus Monstrose cactus that I am trying to find a home for. I have had him since 1996. I am moving to Minnesota and can’t take him with me. I have been getting advice from you regarding the cactus for years.


You have a blog with people that love cacti, so I was hoping you can find a home for him. Can you help Me? Photo attached.


Looks big!

Questions&Reader Photos21 Aug 2013 10:14 am


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

Sent from iPaula



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


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