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.


Cactus29 Jul 2015 07:36 am


Mammilaria gracilis

Small, very branchy to 6″; yellow flowers.

Hardy to 20F

Cactus&Questions28 Jul 2015 10:22 am

Is there any way to grow cactus faster then what they usually grow?


They will grow faster with more heat, more direct sunshine and more water. But if they grow too fast then they are not growing strong and they won’t live very long.

Hope that helps!

Botanic Gardens27 Jul 2015 07:25 am

They don’t last long so go and get in line to view the Corpse Flower at the UC Botanic Garden!


Trudy, the corpse flower at UC Botanical Gardens, is blooming.

The Sumatran plant, officially called Amorphophallus titanum or titan arum, started to open around 8 p.m. Saturday July 25…

Berkeley photographer Colleen Neff visited the garden Sunday morning and said the flower had revealed a beautiful purple skirt. Trudy should remain in bloom for a few more days.

Titan arum are are nicknamed corpse flowers because they emit a smell like a decaying object as they are blooming….


Bay Area Gardens&Berkeley Succulents25 Jul 2015 12:43 pm


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


Photography&Plants22 Jul 2015 08:24 am


Echeveria albicans isn’t a real showy succulent but if you look closely you’ll see it has nicely sculpted leaf edges.


California Native Plants&Photography21 Jul 2015 10:35 am


Dudleya edulis

Clumping rosettes to 12″, green in shade, SoCal native

Hardy to 15F
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Cactus&Plants19 Jul 2015 08:26 am


Well now that’s an unusual cactus 🌵
Cumulopuntia boliviana

From Bolivia ☀
Opuntiodeae tribe of the Cactaceae family 🌋 which means it has glochids, so please be careful when handling it! 📌

Nice! 🎉

Berkeley Gardens&Botanic Gardens17 Jul 2015 05:45 pm

It’s your Berkeley Corpse Flower alert!

Titan arum opening soon at the UC Botanic Garden!

Plants15 Jul 2015 08:01 am


Corpuscularia lehmanii

S. African

Trailing succulent. 10″ stems with 1″ leaves and pale yellow flowers at the tips.

Hardy to 25F 
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Cactus&Photography&Plants13 Jul 2015 07:56 am


It’s a baby Saguaro! So big and full!

Carnegia gigantea
Arizona, California

Classic giant cactus from the American Southwest. Slow growing. Will grow their first arm around 75-100 years old and can live 150-200 years. Some populations hardy to 15F if dry in winter.

Hardy to 15-20F 
Full Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Plants10 Jul 2015 07:50 am


Aloe striata
Coral Aloe

Large clumping rosettes, shade tolerant, brighter in sun

Hardy to 25F 
Full Sun to Part Shade
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Science08 Jul 2015 10:40 am

Well obviously you can plant cactus and succulents in your front yard to reduce your watering. Why else are you re4ading my blog? Cactus are also the future of desert-grown food supplies. Well you knew that already too, anyway. But now IO9, the sci-fi website, wants you to know that Cactus may be the future of bio-fuels. Who knew!?!


As drought strikes broad regions of the world, farmers are focusing on the crops that can feed people—not the crops that can power their cars. But what if there was an energy crop that could grow where traditional crops can’t? Even in a drought? Enter the cactus.

The prickly pear cactus is one of the more common cacti in our world. It’s also a member of a unique group of plants that use an unusual photosynthesis pathway that evolved due to extreme growing conditions, in arid climates with long, hot, dry days and cool nights….

CAM plants have a special way of going about the business of photosynthesis: They only absorb carbon dioxide when it’s cool out, which means they don’t lose as much moisture as they would during the sunny, hot daylight hours. Then, when the sun comes up, they close their stomata—their pores….

Though there’s plenty of research to be done on how these plants would do as bioenergy fuel, Mason and his co-authors suggest that prickly pear could help make biogas—or gas which is made when organic matter is broken down without oxygen—along with other forms of bioenergy like bioethanol.

Whew, that’s a lot of science!

Art07 Jul 2015 10:57 am

We get press releases! So we can heartily recommend a visit to Santa Monica, where I used to go to school, and while you’re there there’s a Happy Cactus! Also, don’t forget to visit Abbott Kinney in Venice.

Cactus by Tripper Dungan from Daniel Rolnik Gallery

I’ve attached a photo of a new piece coming to Daniel Rolnik Gallery by Tripper Dungan of a happy cactus. It would be epic if you could share it on your blog. The show, “Pacific & Northwest” opens on July 18th.

Thank you,

Cactus&Plants06 Jul 2015 08:06 am


Tunilla erectoclada

Mini prickly pear, pads 1-2″ groundcover

Hardy to 25F 
Full Sun to Part Shade
Cactus Soil
Low Water

Berkeley Gardens&Berkeley Succulents30 Jun 2015 11:58 am


Page Street, Berkeley

Plants27 Jun 2015 06:15 am

Do individual plants vary? They do! For instance…

Hi Peter,

I’m the one who came to your store today looking for Echeveria ‘Blue Bird’. Attached is the picture (of the plant) I bought from you last August. It looks different from what you showed me today.




I agree it looks a little different, but it’s the same plant. Plants are individuals and there is natural variation, plus your growing conditions and ours may be different.

But it is the same species.


Here is the Echeveria “Bluebird” that Fred saw at the store this week:


Very similar? Not the same? It’s the same species after all!

Whippets26 Jun 2015 09:11 am


« Previous PageNext Page »