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!
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.
Crassula ovata (Jade)
Faucaria felina (Tiger Jaws)
Pachyphytum, maybe longifolium
Attached are photos of the living wall we created using plants from your nursery. Thanks for being so helpful!
Josh and Deys
Wow! Nice job. Another picture of this Living Wall after the break. (more…)
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
A tricky ID? You tell me.
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…)
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.
I believe that is an Opuntia monacantha, also known as the Droopy Prickly Pear.
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.
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!
This happened, this morning! (In your soil . . . )
And I don’t even know her name!
More photos of the cactus before it bloomed after the break. (more…)
Barbra brings us Echinopsis babies every year, and here we see the parent plant in, what shall we call it???, Full Bloom. Yowza!
Queen of the night, first bloom 2013. Parent of the babies I have for you.