Cactus Blog

Cape Daisies for Spring! 

The range of Osteospermum colors is quite pleasant, and they’re hardy in Berkeley, growing year round and blooming from March through October! They’re opening up everywhere around town. These are on Ashby Ave. 

Rare Terrestrial Orchid

We’ve started growing Eulophia callichroma, an African pseudobulb terrestrial orchid found from Tanzania to Swaziland, presumably low-water – and we’ll see! But we’ve already got our first plant to flower, so that’s a good thing.

It’s a tiny flower and that’s the best picture I could get without lights and a tripod, which are elsewhere right now. But you can surely get the gist of it!

Carnivorous Plants and Convergent Evolution

Nature has the story.

(B)y studying the pitcher plant’s genome — and comparing its insect-eating fluids to those of other carnivorous plants — researchers have found that meat-eating plants the world over have hit on the same deadly molecular recipe, even though they are separated by millions of years of evolution.

“We’re really looking at a classic case of convergent evolution,” says Victor Albert, a plant-genome scientist at the University of Buffalo, New York, who co-led the study…

(C)arnivory has evolved repeatedly in plants, probably to cope with the nutrient-scarce soils in which they grow, Albert says. “What they’re trying to do is capture nitrogen and phosphorus from their prey.”…

(T)he new study is important because it demonstrates how this convergence can occur down to the molecular level, …says Aaron Ellison, an ecologist at Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts….

Gaining the ability to eat an insect is of little use if a plant cannot first entrap one, and here evolution has come up with more diverse solutions, Albert notes.

Customer Complements! 

​Peter,

I received the wreath yesterday, thank you. 

I am giving it as a Christmas gift, but it really is so beautiful, that I hate to part with it.

Tell the gang at Cactus Jungle I said “great job”

Enjoy the holidays and all the best for the new year.

Mary

Pachypodiums in Winter

Hi there, I have gotten many plants from you through out the years. One of the plants I have, got damaged. Just noticed it at an angle this AM.

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I am hoping you can kindly help me again like in the past. Can I (and how), propagate the fallen portion? It has fresh growth on top, but lower portion looks/feels soft but intact. I’m including some pics if that helps. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you for your time with this.

Stan F

The branch comes off a Pachypodium saundersi. Generally it won’t root at this time of year, and if you do get it to root it won’t form the fat base like the original plant. It is a branch, so like many plants if they lose a branch usually you can just toss them after making sure the main plant is OK. In this case, the branch looks thin, which may be due to it wanting more direct sun or less water. If you want to try to root it, cut it further up until it is dry and firm and then let it heal for a couple weeks. Use a rooting hormone – we sell “Dip ‘n Grow” – and place in dry cactus soil. Use bottom heat since we’re going into winter – that would be a heating pad, or place on a warm but not hot heater at home.

Peter

Succulent Wreaths 

In stock now, at your local Cactus Jungle. Local, if you live near us. And that would be Berkeley . California! 

Otherwise you can buy them online and we’ll ship them. To you! In the US. To Europe too? No, not to Europe too. Not to South America. Not to Africa. And not even to Australia. How about Alaska and Hawaii? Probably not. Mostly just the continental US. Maybe Canada, early in the season, while it’s still warm enough. I don’t know! Give it a try! 

We Get Questions

Hi,
I keep this in a sunny window, lately I’ve been seeing this brown shriveling in some sections of the plant. I water weekly with Schultz cactus food in the water. Any suggestions on how to bring back to health? Possibly I’m watering too often? Thanks very much.

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Jim

Jim,

You’ve got a couple different problems. One is that you are watering and fertilizing too much, causing the plant to grow too fast, rather than slow and healthy growth. Less water and a lot less fertilizer. Second, you appear to have mealie bugs on the plant. You’ll need to spray with an organic pesticide, like a Neem Oil.

You can prune off the dead branches and leaves and the rest of it should survive fine.

Peter

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