Cactus Blog

A Euphorbia Grows in Kansas City

Hello!

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

Gina

Gina,

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.

Peter

Maryland Cactus and Succulents

John from Maryland sends along a photo of his blooming Stapelia and a very nice Echinopsis hybrid.

Hello,
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

Nice!

Unusual Cactus

image

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! 🎉

Saguaro

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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

Drought Ideas

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!?!

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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!

Happy Cactus in Santa Monica

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,
Daniel

Echeveria "Bluebird"

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.

DSC_0185

Regards,
Fred

Fred,

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.

Peter

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

echeveria_bluebird3

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

Planting Drought Tolerant Gardens in California

It’s now time to talk about the drought. Mandatory reductions in water use are being implemented across the state, and are hitting hard in many communities in the Bay Area.

So here’s the thing – it’s time to reduce watering your plants, and the best way to do that is to replace your moderate and water-intensive plantings with drought-tolerant plants. Of course, pretty much everything we carry at Cactus Jungle is drought-tolerant, so we like to think we are a good resource for reducing your water use. But I want to be clear – you do have to water your cactus and succulents and natives and other drought tolerant perennials. Even if planted in the ground! Drought-tolerant, sure, but this is a record breaking drought! There is no residual moisture hanging out in your soils for the plants this summer. Please, a little water. Not too much, not too often, but once per week in the first year for new plantings and every 2-4 weeks for older plantings! When we get back to our regular wet winters, someday (it will happen!) then you can leave your succulents alone for months.

So what water should you be using? We’re using the bucket method at home – a bucket to hold the water in the shower as it’s heating up.

Here are some resources:

 

Drought in the Desert

People think that because cactus and succulents may come from a desert that they can handle the California drought. But it’s a record drought! Even desert plants need some water. For instance, the Joshua Trees…

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the California desert, Joshua tree seedlings are shriveling up and dying before they get the chance to put down strong roots, and ecologist Cameron Barrows wants the details.

The University of California, Riverside scientist knows that hot weather and lack of rainwater hurt the iconic species…

How to Plant a Cactus

I have a couple of cactus that are in need of serious re-planting. And I want to make sure it gets done right.

falling1

I have included some pics. Looking for any advice on the best way to go about this.

leaning1

Tom

Tom,

Those are some impressive looking cactus! I assume you are not going to try to replant the whole clusters, but rather are asking about taking cuttings from the fallen branches. Generally we recommend take tip cuttings and about 2-3ft. in length. Use a serrated blade, like a bread knife. Take a clean cut at a slight angle. Spray the cut end with household Hydrogen Peroxide and then set it aside in a shady location for a week or two so that the cut end callouses over.

When you are ready to plant, if it’s in a pot use fast draining cactus soil. Plant it 4 to 6 inches deep into the soil and stake it up. Don’t water for another week or two. Then start regular watering (every 2-3 weeks in the Bay Area, more or less depending on where you live.)

Peter

In the Newspaper

It’s Cactus Jungle in the SF Chronicle. And by inside I mean on the front page. Nice!

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Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle
Laura Wehrley (left) looks for succulents at Cactus Jungle nursery in Berkeley, California, with assistant manager Jeremiah Harper (left back) showing plants on Monday, June 1, 2015.

California on Monday officially began its unprecedented push for water conservation in cities and towns, marching out orders for hundreds of communities across the state to make reductions of up to 36 percent.

The rest of the article is behind a pay wall, so if you are a subscriber you can read the whole thing! You know, some people even still get the newspaper delivered right to their front porch at home. Nice!

Dancing Shadows

image

There have been a lot of new hybrid Salvias recently. The Desert series and the Dancing series, S. greggii and S. microphylla hybrids are nice.

This one is Salvia “Dancing Shadows”.

Top Ten New Species Discoveries

From Scientific American we get a Mexican Bromeliadt, only recently described!

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Tillandsia religiosa, a solitary flowering plant with rose-colored spikes and flat green leaves, grows in rocky terrain in Morelos, Mexico. T. religiosa has long been known to native people of the region, who incorporated it into nacimientos (altar scenes depicting the birth of Christ) at Christmas. Yet scientists have only recently described it.

Photograph by A. Espejo

Beautiful.

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