I bought a Rebutia krainziana cactus from a plant show in San Francisco last spring. At the time I bought it, the cactus looked as it should; short, round, plump, spiral pattern of spines, and was blooming. I decided to keep this cactus on my work cubicle, which is next to a window. However, over the summer the cactus grew to be an irregular shape…it’s now very tall (10cm), and cone shaped. The top of the plant is very narrow, and it slowly starts to round/plump out towards the lower half of the plant. The spines are also no longer arranged in a spiral shape and are not fully formed (there are very few actual spines in the white spots on the upper half of the plant). Other than the abnormal shape of the cactus, it looks perfectly healthy. I’m just wondering what’s going on with the plant, and if there is anything I can do to get it back to its original round, plump shape. Could lighting be an issue?
It sounds like it is not getting enough light. Can you send a photo or bring it by the nursery? Anyway, try getting it a minimum of 4 hours direct sun, or adding a full spectrum light bulb within 12″ of the plant.
Per your request, attached is a picture of my Rebutia. Would it be okay to keep my cactus outdoors (I live near ocean beach in San Francisco), or is San Fran weather too cold for it?
Kristen, That is an extreme case of not enough light. Quite the interesting shape! It can survive just fine outside in SF, but it would do better in a terra cotta pot with a fast draining cactus soil, and no saucer – you never want it sitting in water.
When you bring it out into the sun, it will need to be “hardened off” which means giving it progressively more light over a couple weeks, and not putting it straight into full sun.
Hi Peter, I got this from you last year and after accidentally breaking off the flower stalk it grew another one. This one clocks out at 46″ long and sideways…this plant has both amazed and disturbed my friends with it’s “babies from the inside” feature, to the “tentacle of satan” stem..here’s a pic. Thanks. david
Isaac sends along these before and after photos of his garden. It’s amazing what succulents can do with just a few years growth in the Bay Area, even if it is the South Bay.
Can you tell which one is the after picture? The subtle hints include the much bigger plants everywhere. Especially the Aloes.
I won’t botheridentifying plants for you since there are so many, but I do see a lot of Aeoniums and Aloes in there that have done really well. I think the Senecios didn’t do as well, which is odd since they can easily take over a garden if given the chance.
I’m a blog reader from Manila, Philippines, and also a newbie urban gardener and cactus lover! I am just fascinated by these spiky little things, and it’s always fun to look at all the shapes, colors and textures that they come in. While I was walking around our neighborhood garden center, I chanced upon this cactus that’s a perfect half-circle shape!
Could you tell me what it is and is it at all rare? Thank you!
Misty, A nice find at your local garden center! What you have there is a Mammillaria geminispina crest. It’s not the most common of the Mammillaria crests. It is a very nice specimen, but I wouldn’t consider it too rare. Peter
Everything seemed to have weathered the freeze up here. I did cover them with a sheet – so that helped. Now, my mother arrived for dinner tonight with this cactus she picked up at the grocery store(!) I has yellow flowers on the top and lots and lots of little sprouts all over the larger trunks. Now, the flowers are glued on paper – which elicits a big OMG!! Is this thing even real at all? What do you make of it. J Hehe!!
Karen, You have the Fairy Castle Cactus, Cereus hildmannianus monstrose, with glued on paper flowers. Grocery stores often glue on paper flowers. I don’t know why. Peter
Karen and Mike live in the foothills where it’s been below freezing this week. It’s a good thing they brought small plants inside and used a frost blanket over the outdoor ones, because it was cold enough here in Berkeley where it is 37F right now!
Here we see they have a late blooming Astrophytum asterias.
I figure you all know these plants by now, and have read my answers to similar questions mamamamannnnny times before, so maybe you could handle this one for me? Best answer, that is also complete and accurate, will win one of our discontinued products. You never know what it will be, but it must be good!
Maybe a water wand, maybe a bird feeder. Hmmm…
So here’s the question and the pictures that go with it.
Recently I got a cactus as a present but don’t know what kind it is.
Could you please help me to detect what kind a cactus it is and to see and tell me weather is it sick (you can see that one leaf Is kind a sick) and what should I do.
Thanks a lot in advance,
Leave your answer for Petar in the comments between now and Tuesday afternoon, and I’ll pick a winner then. Maybe I’ll have arranged for guest judges too! Well, probably not.
can you tell me if this plant belong to cactus family? (please see attached image) and what’s the name of this cute plant? do you have it?
The plant is a Kalanchoe (or recently reclassified as a Bryophyllum, which is not yet really used by horticulture, just by botanist…). It is one of the “Mother of Thousands” which are usually Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) diagremontianum or a close relative, the plant in the photo is very green so it may be on of the more tropical clones or hybrids. We do have cute small plants in stock, but they are not as large-leafed as the ones in the photo. Please note a better moniker for these plants is “Mother’s of Millions” and that the leaf margin plantlets can become “weedy” in frost free gardens. But their look and interesting reproduction method makes them a fun plant to have in pot.
We love reader photos, whether you got the plants from us or not.
Hello Cactus Jungle,
I thought you might like to see the flowers my new cacti just produced. The Astrophytum asterias is living in my kitchen. I bought it 3 weeks ago and this is what happened. The Echinopsis subdenudata (looked like a brown biscuit) had its flower soon after it came home and now is living outside with all my other cacti and succulents.
Hi! I have an enormous cactus that is eating my house. I need to remove it but didn’t want to just throw it away, it’s quite impressive but unfortunately it’s ruining the foundation. Do you know anyone that would want this cactus? I attached a picture.
Thank you! Krista
Yowza, that’s a big Cereus!
I don’t know anyone in Southern Cal off hand, but I’ll post it on the blog for you. Also, we find Craigslist works well.
If anyone is interested, email me and I’ll forward it along to Krista in the 310. Just a warning, though, if you do go to cut it down, make sure you don’t let the giant branches fall on the roof, or yourself either. Just sayin’.
JoTo sends along a photo from probably 4 years ago of a trough we had out on the floor filled with Cleistocactus strausii, and wants to know if we still have the trough with the cactus in it.
Oh, how things have changed around here since then. We no longer have our growing troughs out on display, filling up retail floor space. Now we have plants for sale everywhere. Not an inch to spare, though if there is one, I’ll find it and use it.
As it turns out, those plants have just been finally put out on the floor in 18″ clay pots 2 weeks ago, and they’re about 6ft. tall.
Claude, I typed up a response and saved it in drafts, and now its missing, so I don’t know if you’ve already received an answer from me, but you have a lovely Mammillaria perbella. The fruit in one of the photos is edible, though tiny, and only if you haven’t used chemical insecticides. If grown outdoors, it would be way more spiny, but yours is looking great. Hap
I really enjoy your blog. Really getting into succulents now. Went to a garage sale a few weeks ago and bought this cactus . Could it be a rat tail?? Or an Aporophyllum??
Would appreciate any help you can give me.
Jan, It turns out your plant isn’t a cactus at all, but a stapeliad (in the asclepiad family) and the species is Huernia macrocarpa, also known as the dragon flower. Check out the cute as a button carrion flower here.
From Aunt Rachel, NE of Hyder, Az up in the hills.
Any guesses as to the Opuntia species? I think we can eliminate the Mojave Grizzly Bear cactus, since it’s not in the Mojave. And yet, it’s almost certainly one of the Opuntia polyacantha’s, and the spination does look most like O. polyacantha v. erinacea. I’ve only ever seen it with yellow flowers, but my copy of Anderson says it can have pink flowers. Thus I think we can determine that this is a Grizzly Bear cactus, just not a Mojave Grizzly Bear. Since it’s found in the Sonoran Desert, I think we can call this a Sonoran Grizzly Bear, also O. polyacantha v. erinacea, and chalk up the flower color to natural variation.