Cactus Blog Archives

Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Local Delivery

Is My Cactus Still Alive?

I’m seeking help for my cactus, and I don’t know who to talk to. I’m not sure what’s going on, but it looks like my cactus is deteriorating. The base of the cactus turned brown and the brown color is creeping up each branch. Even worse, the branches are cracking and look like they’re going to fall off. In fact, one already did. I also noticed that the base is oozing fluid, and I see a red spot that’s attracting flies. I was wondering if you have any idea what the problem is, or if you can refer me to someone who can help. Is there any way to save the cactus, or should I lop off the parts of the branches that are still green and replant them? The cactus is about 20′ tall (higher than my house), and I’d hate to let it go.

I’ve attached a few pics so you can see what I’m describing.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide,

Brian, Your cactus is no longer among the living, it is a former cactus – it has died. I do not know what happened but often this can be a problem of a pot that is too small, or kept in the same pot for too long. In the ground it can be caused by too much water, or poor soil. Plants also have limited life spans and are susceptible to pests and viruses so it may have caught something.



Capsule Cactus

Hello, i have recently bought a cactus keychain and i am unsure how to look after it. I’ve attached a picture of it. Could you please inform me what the type of cactus it is so i can look into it further. Also, if possible would you be able to provide some advice on the correct conditions and ways to keep it happy.
thank you
Lauren C


Putting a living plant into a tiny plastic capusle is a cute idea. If you want instructions into keeping it alive in there I recommend following the instructions that should have come with it. But the real way to take care of the plant is to remove it from the capsule and plant it in a small terra cotta pot with fast-draining cactus soil (not sand), give it lots of direct sun and a little bit of water. When it is bigger and healthy send a photo and I can try to ID the species for you then.

Stay safe,



Cactus Leaves

Cactus leaves, they’re real! Tubular on the opuntiods. This one is Austrocylindropuntia subulata Monstrose. Myrtillocactus cresting in back.


Taking Euphorbia Cuts

Hello. Our Euphorbia has a top part that has grown quite large and the stalk will not be able to support it much longer. it is already leaning a lot (this photo is a few months old and it has gotten larger).

Is it possible to cut the top part off and plant it? How do these plants do with propagation and how do you suggest we do this. How will the bottom respond/heal from it? Is this a good time of year to do this?

I seem to recall there was a solution you suggested to put on this plant if we cut it as it releases some irritating sap.



You can cut below the branching top – leave at least 6 inches of stem below. You should wait until spring, winter is not a great time for this.

First be aware that this is a Euphorbia ammak which has a caustic milky-white latex sap. You need to wear gloves and long sleeves and eye protection when working around this plant. Given its height, this is going to take at least 2 people to safely take cuttings. One to hold the plant, one to do the cutting. If it is taller than it appears you may need a 3rd person to help hold the branch as it is being cut. Please make sure you feel safe with all this before you start. I recommend using a serrated bread knife to cut, and blankets to wrap the branch before cutting.

Basically you need to cut with enough left to be able to plant below the branching. Spray the cut with hydrogen peroxide and set aside to dry for 2 to 3 weeks. Spray the remainder as well, make sure to protect from direct sun until calloused over.

When the branches are fully healed over you can plant them in dry cactus soil and keep dry for a few more weeks. Water only every 3-4 weeks.

Stay safe, Peter


70+ Years From Now

Dear team,
I would like to plant three Dasylirion Wheeleri in my garden. However, could you comment on their lifespan? can they live longer than 70 years?

Thank you,

Dasylirion are long lived, will grow a trunk and all, but I do not know if they live 70+ years – you can check with a botanic garden to see if they have any that are that old.



We Get Golden Barrel Questions


I came across your web site and saw that you answer questions, so I thought I would try sending one. My friend gave me a large golden barrel pup from her father’s outside golden barrel cactus that lives in LA. I have been waiting for it to callus, and I went to check it today and the cut area was covered in a white fuzzy substance (pictures attached). I immediately thought of fungus, especially since it had been sitting in a box cut side down. I also thought it could be mealy bugs, and there was some orange color when I dabbed at it with alcohol on a paper towel, but not as much color as I would have expected if it was a dense mass of mealy bugs. I also looked at the cut surface and one of the pieces that came off with a 10x hand lens and I did not see any adults, just a dense matrix of white fluff. I had looked at it briefly when she brought it to me a week ago, and I do not recall seeing such a dense area of white fluff, although it was dark and I only looked very quickly. So whatever it is seems to have grown quite a bit in a week, although I can’t be 100% sure.


I attached some pictures, in the last one the spots where the cut surface is orange is where I dabbed it with the alcohol on the towel. It seemed to dissolve from the alcohol, it didn’t really seem to rub off onto the paper towel.

Do you think this is fungus, mealy bugs, or something else, and can it be saved? I was admonished not to kill the cactus so I would be very disappointed if I lost it even before planting it. If you don’t just answer random questions, I understand but thought I’d give it a try!

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

It’s going to be a problem since it’s winter, to treat this successfully. It’s a fungus and likely bacterial. I recommend sulfur on the cut edge and treat the whole plant with a systemic fungicide like Infuse, after the sun goes down. Keep dry! Air circulation. It will be at least a month before you can try planting it, and a heat mat under the pot might help it root (warm and dry).



Houseplants at Cactus Jungle

Our houseplants are fully stocked, ready to go! Online, in the shops, and here we are at the Marin store! Have you been to our store in San Anselmo? Come by, stop and check us out. We are open! We are delivering locally!


Canary Islands Euphorbia Tree

Hi my name is jack.
I currently live in the canarys islands fuerteventura.
I have just took over a property to maintain there garden.
I am just looking for some advice how to prune the euphorbia candelabrum. The customer would like it reduced in height.
They are not particularly bothered about it flowing at this moment in time as it is round a pool area and would like it tidied up and reduced before guests arrive

Looking forward to your response
I have attached a photo.

Best wishes


That is huge! Actually has pretty good form as is. Anyway, the trick with Euphorbias is that they have a poisonous sap so you have to wear a lot of protection, long sleeves gloves and eye protection. At that size it will probably take multiple people unless you have larger equipment available. We would use a crew of 4-5 people to safely cut that back.

You can cut any of the branches at the joints. That will reduce the overall mass. As for reducing the height, I don’t actually think that is possible. You could in theory remove all the branches and keep a tall stump which will start to grow back over time.



It’s a Bulb!

It’s the Oxalis namaquana, a rare little Wood Sorrel bulb with giant yellow flowers, as you can see. Usually most of the flowers are through the spring, but occasionally you get some through the winter. It’s a winter-growing bulb, so it can happen!


Can We Help with a Cactus ID?

Yes we can!

Dear Cactus Jungle,
I purchased a cactus from a garden centre in the UK. They were unable to tell me much about my purchase. I have been looking at your website and the cactus bears a striking similarity to opuntia monacantha variegata, which you sell

I just wondered whether you would be able to confirm whether this is the same type of plant. I have attached a picture of my cactus, for identification.

Best wishes,

You are correct!


Sedum or Senecio?

Hi there-

I found myself on your website when doing a Google search for the plant in the attached photo. I am a landscape designer in San Diego and a fellow designer suggested that it might be Sedum rupestre ‘Silver’; I’m not so sure because the plant height is more than 1′ high. Can any of you ID this plant for me, I sure would appreciate it.

Kind regards,
Past President, APLD San Diego District

Definitely not a Sedum. You can tell from the old flower stalk there it is a Senecio, probably Senecio haworthii.

Stay safe, Peter



Cactus Jungle’s Response to the Coronavirus

Cactus Jungle will try to stay open for as many hours as possible, with the cooperation of our staff and customers, as an Essential Service because we sell fertilizers, soils, tools, vegetable starts and amendments for food crop production.

Store Rules and Standards
Nobody is required to come in.

Customers: 6ft separation for us all.
Employees empowered to demand someone leave
If you have to cough or sneeze please leave immediately. Use Kleenex or the inside of your elbow always
Do not come up to Workers, do not attempt to shake their hand.
Credit card only, no cash. Cash Handling means 7 people min. will handle the bills so No Cash.
Carry out to gate only, no bringing to or in cars.
1-person non-contact deliveries through our online store or in person to our delivery zones available w/$25 min. sale.
Gel Hand Sanitizer bottles on counter for customers

Additional for Staff: follow current Posted Social Distance Protocol, wash hands always
Tape out 6ft lines at register
Use Gloves, spray with alcohol each time you touch a pot or container from a customer
One register open only
No Signatures. Pen is pulled to register only and Staff draws a line with pen and clicks the button, then sprays the pen.
Spray every basket down after every use with Bleach Solution.
Wipe down every computer and device before using every time.
Wall-mtd Hand Sanitizer is behind counters for staff, plus many spray bottles at register, office, break room, BOH
Feeling unsure or nervous or not liking this anymore? You may go home, no consequences.

Sick Time Policy During the Crisis
Working Staff now has unlimited sick time, do not come in if sick, go home if sick

Stay safe, from Hap and Peter and the entire Cactus Jungle team.


New Shop online for Local Delivery!

Cactus Jungle is now offering local delivery of select goods and plants to our local areas. We are offering only non-contact deliveries at this time. All deliveries will be on Mondays and Tuesdays, dropped at the door, and we will call/text to let you know. Our employees are following the strictest and latest requirements from Cal-OSHA to prevent the spread of the Covid-19

To start we are offering Delivery only within the city limits of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville; San Anselmo, San Rafael and Ross; Oakland; San Francisco. Please bear with us as we establish this new delivery service.

Please note that as circumstances change, our delivery options may change as well. We will be adding and removing products frequently so please check back.


Cactus Jungle Closure

Cactus Jungle’s Berkeley and Marin stores are currently closed for our Counties’ Shelter-in-Place orders, currently scheduled to last through April 7th.

We will return as soon as we are able.

If you would like to support us at this time may I suggest a digital gift card from our online shop? These will be good for both of our stores as soon as we are able to reopen.

Thank you for your kindness and support

Stay safe, Peter and Hap


Grass-leaf Hakea

Crazy Australian flowers. So pink!

Hakea francisiana


Evergreen Shrub

Upright shrub with slender green leaves and pink-red blooms winter through spring. Needs very good drainage. Do not fertilize, except trace minerals.

Temperature: Hardy to 18F

Sun: Full Sun

Water: Low

Size: 8-15ft.


Rose Mink

It’s Protea blooming season, so that’s a very good time of year. Right now! Blooming!

Protea “Rose Mink”

Common Name: Greyleaf Sugarbush
Origin: South Africa

P. laurifolia “Rose Mink”
Evergreen Shrub

Large pink flowers appear in mid-winter, with fine black and white hairs. grey-green leaves. Do not fertilize.

Temperature: Hardy to 25°F

Sun: Full Sun


Cape Aloe

Aloe ferox starting to bloom!

Origin: South Africa

Description: Single large toothy rosette on tall stalk, outdoor up to 8ft.

Temperature: Hardy to 20-25F

Full Sun to Part Sun

  Cactus and Succulents
  Carnivorous Plants

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March 2023

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