Cactus Blog  

daily news and photography about cacti and succulents and some carnivorous plants too  

"Drolly entertaining and informative at the same time." CSM  






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Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Tillandsia aeranthos


That’s a nice Tillandsia aeranthos clump in bloom. It was hanging in the Houseplant Room for ages. But it’s so nice, you might say. And I would agree. So why didn’t anyone buy it you might ask? No reason that I can think of. Glad we could have this conversation.

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Yarrow


Our first 4″ Achillea is in bloom for spring, and the cultivar is….

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“Paprika”!

I always recommend mixing in some yarrow with native grasses. They disappear into a meadow look with their rich green foliage, easy to forget they’re there and then, boom… they bloom, and these very brightly colored sprays of small blooms pop up right above everything else. Nice!

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Orchid Cactus


Here we see that our Epiphyllums are not yet in bloom.

But boy are they close. That’s a lot of buds just about to burst open. A lot of the buds have dropped already, as is the nature of Epi’s in my experience.

Too bad it’s such a crappy cell phone picture. I promise I’ll get a good quality photo when the flowers open.

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Midwest Epi's


The Midwest Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale is happening Saturday and Sunday. “This is a very popular weekend,” says cactus society Vice President Bill Hendricks.

Apparently they have blooming Epiphyllums for the show, or at least they would like you to think they do. Ours aren’t blooming yet, but they sure are close.

And where is this show?

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland.

Admission: Free with regular admission: $9.50; $3, children 3-12; free, children 2 and younger; $7.50, groups of 15 or more; $6, seniors in groups of 15 or more.

Information: cbgarden.org or 216-721-1600.

Good to know.

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French Marigold


Our first marigolds of the year are called Bolaro.

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Remember to always plant marigolds with your organic vegetable garden. They attract beneficial insects, and bloom all summer long.

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Oregon Cactus


Sometimes when a cactus or agave blooms the local newspaper gets all excited and prints a whole article about it. Yay Cactus! Here we see the Oregonian getting all excited about a blooming Rhipsalis.

Genie Uebelacker of Clackamas wrote weeks ago to tell me her mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) was blooming for the first time in more than 40 years. That’s news…

Genie inherited her mother’s mistletoe cactus, which had never bloomed, in 1991.

“My mother acquired the plant in Seattle and had it for at least 20 years and maybe more,” Genie wrote. “I remember seeing it in a corner of their kitchen and thinking how pretty it was.”

I say it’s a success story when a family can keep a single plant alive for 40 years or more. Good job, Genie.

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Donkey Tail Spurge


Euphorbia myrsinites

That crop sold out quickly, while in full bloom. You’ll have to wait for our next crop which should be ready, though not in bloom, by May.

A really nice semi-evergreen gopher-proof groundcover spurge, though not called Gopher Spurge which is a different Euphorbia entirely and not one that I particularly like.

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Tilt-Head Aloe


Aloe speciosa blooms are amazing. The buds start out red, then turn orange and then greenish white and then finally they open and shoot out in bright red.

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Very Bright Orange Flowers


Anigozanthos “Bush Tango” is pretty much the brightest flowered Kangaroo Paw cultivar I have ever seen. I’m blinded! Fortunately it’s not one of the giant Ani’s, but only gets 2 ft, with 3 ft. bloom stalks. Just don’t look at the blooms in full sun or they will blind you. Blind!

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Prince Albert Vygie


Ebracteola wilmaniae is my favorite new mesemb. It’s easy to grow, but we think it’s not hardy so we have it indoor. Of course it’s from South Africa where it grows in gravelly soil and limestone. It can get up to 20″ of rain in habitat so it’s probably hardy here, but I’m not going to be the one to try it.

The post title is in fact one of it’s South African common names.

Usually they bloom white, so this pink flowering individual is a rarity.

And here’s what the rest of the plant looks like.

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Red Yucca


Hesperaloe parviflora “Brakelights”

They tell me this has redder flowers than the standard H. parviflora whose flowers are more of a salmon pink but that’s in the eye of the beholder. What really matters is that they bloom for most of the year.

It’s a difficult plant to photograph, unless it’s in habitat. It’s a sprawling plant with sprawling bloom stalks. Good luck with that. So I focused on the flowers.

It’s very much a full sun plant and hardy to below 0F. I don’t know how much hardier it is than that because I stop keeping track below 0F.

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Cactus Exam


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Can you name the cactus from the bloom?

How about if I show you the cactus?

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The blue stems are the giveaway. So ignore that photo. Pretend you never saw it. Focus on the bloom above.

Is there a prize for getting it right? Yes! And not just the satisfaction of a job well done. There’s also recognition from your peers. And a Lithops, to be shipped anywhere in the US except Alaska or Hawaii. Sorry for the restrictions.

Is there a clue, too? Sure! It’s not hardy in Berkeley.

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Big Aloes


Still wondering what the aloe in bloom from Tuesday’s post was?

Aloe vaombe

It’s a nice aloe and we would grow it too if we could, but it’s not hardy this far north so we don’t. Also, it’s too big around to make a good houseplant.

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Queen's Tears


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Bilbergia nutans are in bloom. What do you have to say about that? These are a really good shade tolerant terrestrial, bromeliad so we like them for all their great uses in the garden even if the foliage is not as pretty as the flowers.

Sometimes I even mix them among native fescues. Shameful!

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California Lilac


The Ceanothuses are in bloom.

See here:

And here:

Those were C. “Anchor Bay” and C. Owlswood Blue” but then you already knew that.

If you look past the flowers you’ll notice that the first one is a “holly-leafed” ceanothus which means it’s deer-resistant. (Rabbit resistant too, but then you already knew that.) While the 2nd one has delicious juicy leaves.

One of these is hardy down to 15F. Can you guess which one? OK, that was a trick question. They’re both hardy to 15F!

OK, then, let’s try this one. One of them is from Marin County, just north of us. And the other one is from Pt. Reyes, the coastal national park in Marin County. Hah! C. “Anchor Bay” is known as the Pt. Reyes Ceanothus and thus is from the Pacific side of Marin while the C. “Owlswood Blue” was discovered on the Owlswood Ranch near Larkspur, which is on the Bay side of Marin!

I’ll bet many of you didn’t even know that Marin was essentially a Peninsula between the ocean and the bay, just like San Francisco. SF and the area south to San Jose is also known as the “Peninsula” whereas the Marin area is known as the “North Bay”.

Geography!

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New Museum


Last weeks travels took me all the way down to the Bowery and the New Museum New York where they were closed due to installing new exhibits on all floors at the same time. Interesting!

However, I did get to see one piece of art on the facade of the building as part of their facade art program. This is Isa Genzken’s Rose II.

The rose sculpture, which measure 28 feet tall, is on loan from a private collector who, as The Observer noted, paid 750,000 Euros for the sculpture.

And the building was designed by recent Pritzker Prize winners SANAA who also designed the interesting glass pavilion in Toledo.

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Hummingbird Flowers


Matt in Portland, sends along these great photos from a friend of his in Manhattan Beach,

Up first we have a cute little hummingbird hovering around the Aloe arborescens blooms. Click to embiggen.

And now we have a closeup of the feeding little bugger. Notice how he rests on the stem.

Thanks, Matt!

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Christmas Cactus


Not that kind of cactus, but a cactus that was a christmas gift cactus.

Hello Peter,

Evidently my son and husband visited you a few weeks ago and picked up a little something for me for Christmas! Thanks for helping them make an excellent choice! I love my new, big, Cleistocactus, yay! For the two weeks prior to xmas, my daughter kept it in her apartment right by the couch. She watched it bloom and more buds get ready to bloom! You can see in the picture that Jack and Mike made a tall gift wrapped box for it. I had to wait for a while before I could “open” the box.

I will keep it just outside my kitchen window where I can see it every day…it’s near all my other cactus and succulents as well. Is there anything special I should know or do for it? It looks like it could use more red rock…oh, should I keep the supports tied around the four of them?

Perhaps I will visit you in the next month or two and redeem my cactus punch cards!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Hap…

~Karen

A happy story indeed!

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