Cactus Blog Archives

Cactus Blog Writers

Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Local Delivery

Lithops


<img width="375" hspace="5" height="281" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/gerardside.jpg" /><br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1903&amp;entry_id=1741" title="http://blog.hortmag.com/PermaLink,guid,bd617f70-5302-4d47-9c2f-2078b0800c07.aspx" onmouseover="window.status=’http://blog.hortmag.com/PermaLink,guid,bd617f70-5302-4d47-9c2f-2078b0800c07.aspx’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Horticulture Magazine</a> is featuring some lithops that one of their editors is trying to keep alive.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Living Stone (I Presume)<br />
by Meg Lynch<br />
<br />
It was July 15, 2002, to be exact—I noted it in the cactus and succulent diary that I kept at the time:<br />
<br />
“LIVING STONES!!! !!! !!! Very excited! One is greenish and the other grayish/peachish—they look good and I will take careful care of them!”<br />
<br />
At some point soon thereafter the gray one died, though I don’t seem to have noted it.<br />
<br />
On March 1, 2003, I mention that lately the still-living living stone, the green one, which I dubbed Gerard, “started to open a pinhole and that turned into a large oval-shaped separation and inside there are what look like tiny Gerards.” I had been hoping it was going to flower. But it was just going through the routine of a living stone: to shed its leaves each year, revealing new leaves inside.</span><br /></div><br />Now that’s what I call garden writing, container-garden-style.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Hawaiian Succulent Bloom


Brighamia insignis “Olulu” or “Alula”
An endangered species native to Kauai. Short-lived, there are only about 50 left in the wild. A friend has been propagating and growing these and finally let us have a very few. We’re hoping to be able to collect seed. Can reach 6ft. tall with a swollen bottle-tree base.

Read More...
Read More...

We Get Questions


Q: Dear Cactus Blog,

First off I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed your Cactus Blog ever since I stumbled across it a little over a year ago! I’m hoping you can help me with some cacti I recently purchased from one of the local home centers. The clerk explained to me that a large percentage of their cacti and succulents were on clearance because a former employee had insisted on watering them along with the regular plants, and as a result the plants were ailing. Always one to appraise the bargain plants, I couldn’t resist bringing home a pot with two 4′ cacti -despite the unsettling spots on them. I figured I’d likely never have a chance to get this size of cacti at this price, and if they didn’t make I wouldn’t be out too much. But please help me keep these gorgeous plants!

I’ve attached pictures of the cacti and the troublesome spots. The spot on one (cactiB.jpg) of them seems drier and more firm and hasn’t changed in the two weeks I’ve had it. However, the spot on the other seems dark, a bit soft, and has grown -today I even noticed what looks like white mold.

The clerk explained that the plants hadn’t been watered since the water-happy employee had left, and I haven’t watered it at all either -I even raked some of the soil away from the bottoms of the stems. It is currently in our back porch, a sheltered area, but roughly same temperature as the outdoors. It currently only receives filtered southern light (the only other room with southern exposure is also unheated).

Any recommendations you could make would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks in advance,

Michelle

P.S. It was labeled as Trzo. Euphorbia Amak Variegata “Golden Candelabra Plant”, is that correct? What does “Trzo.” stand for?

A: Michelle,

Since I don’t know where you are, I can’t tell you if they should be indoors or out, but we don’t let our Euphorbia “ammak”s get below freezing.

As for the damage, I’m afraid to say it is rot. The rot that is at the base of the plant that’s molding is bad. You need to cut the plant off above the rot, throw out the base, and let the top part heal. Spray with household peroxide, let dry for 2 weeks, and then place in fresh clean dry soil.

The rot up higher can be trimmed out and cleaned with peroxide and kept dry until it heals.

Please note that euphorbia sap is caustic. Please wear rubber gloves and safety goggles. If you get it on you, don’t touch your face, and wash it off immediately.

Long term the plant will be happier in a terra cotta pot with high quality cactus soil.

Finally, the “Trzo” designation is the name of the pot style (i.e. “terrazzo”).

Peter

Read More...
Read More...

Poaching Plants in Mexico


They take most of their garden plants straight from the wild, and nature is suffering. Can Mexico encourage people to grow and buy plants at nurseries? The <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1901&amp;entry_id=1738" title="http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/world/02/24/0224mexicocactus.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/world/02/24/0224mexicocactus.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Austin American Statesman</a> asks the question.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br /><img width="400" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/image_6677021.jpg" /></div><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Nancy Flores/COX NEWSPAPERS<br />
Golden barrel cacti are rare in the wild but common in nurseries, including this regional botanical garden in Queretaro….<br />
<br />
More than a third of the country’s species are considered at risk of disappearing….<br />
<br />
Some experts are trying to encourage Mexicans to build nurseries to grow tame cacti instead of pulling wild ones out of the ground. Emiliano Sanchez Martinez, director of a botanical garden in the Queretaro desert, supervises a youth-run greenhouse in the small town of El Arbolito.</span><br /></div><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Australian Weeds


There’s been some big news in the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1900&amp;entry_id=1737" title="http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/deadly-cactus-alert/57379.aspx" onmouseover="window.status=’http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/general/deadly-cactus-alert/57379.aspx’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Australian Weed</a> business. A cactus has escaped and poses dangers to wildlife and cattle too.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Department of Primary Industries (DPI&amp;F) Biosecurity Queensland land protection officer, Jodie Sippel, said the Hudson pear cactus, a native of Mexico, has been found growing in Mundubbera Shire with a potential second site in the Monto area.<br />
<br />
“Hudson pear (Cylindropuntia rosea), is declared a Class 1 weed, which means it must be eradicated,” she said.<br />
<br />
“It is highly invasive and spreads whenever an animal, vehicle or person brushes against it and dislodges plant segments that take root on contact with the ground.<br />
<br />
“The spines from Hudson pear pose a serious threat to people, horses, dogs, cattle, sheep and most wildlife….<br />
<br />
Hudson pear was first detected in Australia, in NSW, in the 1960s.<br />
<br />
According to some reports, its spread was aided by opal miners who deliberately grew them around their diggings to keep prowlers and thieves away. </span><br /></div><br />It has been in all the papers in Australia. This is just one reasonable article describing the mess that can happen when people take a pretty and/or functional ornamental plant into a new territory where it has no natural barriers to growth, and then it takes off causing problems far and wide. Even a cactus. A delicious cactus.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Berkeley Succulent Garden


<img width="342" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/milvia02.jpg" /><br /><br />Aloe polyphylla and Cotyledon campanulata<br />Milvia Street<br /><br />That is a beautiful large spiral aloe. They’re very slow growing, and not hardy here in colder or wetter winters when they’re young, so often they don’t make it to that size. But this one was planted near some large rocks which can provide a bit of extra warmth and protection in the winter. <br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

New Hampshire Succulents


They keep their aloes in pots in <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1899&amp;entry_id=1735" title="http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080226/LIFE/802260310" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080226/LIFE/802260310′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">New Hampshire</a>. I think that’s probably a good idea.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">When we have an aloe plant within reach of our kitchen stove, we have a burn unit ready to go to work.</span><br /></div><br />I think this means they’re planning on pulling leaves off that plant if they get a burn. PULLING OFF LEAVES! Ouch. I wonder if they then rub some of that healing aloe juice on the aloe plant’s wounds? I would, but then I’m sensitive that way.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Cactus Costume


Reader Jayne sends us pictures.

I thought you may enjoy seeing this costume that I made my son for this past Halloween. Unfortunately, I just got the pictures developed!

That is fantastic. Much better than any other cactus costume I’ve seen. In fact, I’ll bet we get requests for it next October.

Read More...
Read More...

Texas Election Coverage: Vote Cactus


So it turns out that elections matter. Here we have the results of the recent Republican monopoly in Texas. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1898&amp;entry_id=1733" title="http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/02/24/0224texascactus.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/02/24/0224texascactus.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The Austin Statesman</a> has a story to tell:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Texas regulations against cactus poaching and enforcement are lax compared with oversight in Arizona, which requires legally harvested wild cacti to be tagged, according to state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso….<br />
<br />
&quot;I’ve been on properties where you see mostly holes where plants were dug up,&quot; said Terry Martin, a professor of botany at Sul Ross State University…. Shapleigh has authored legislation that would require individuals who harvest or sell plants to provide proof that the plants come from their own land or that they have written permission from the property owner where the harvesting took place.<br />
<br />
In 2003, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the legislation…<br />
<br />
In 2007, a similar piece of Shapleigh cactus legislation died in a House committee.<br />
<br />
State Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, said he didn’t give Shapleigh’s bill a hearing in his Agriculture and Livestock Committee because &quot;it seemed like everything he was worried about we already had rules to address.&quot;</span><br /></div><br />Thank you for your consideration.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Black Rose


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="324" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/aeonium_schwartzkopf5.jpg" /><br /><br />Aeonium &quot;Schwartzkopf&quot;<br />Popular winter-growing succulent, gets very dark in summer and full sun. Shrubby branches to 3 or 4 ft. tall. Yellow pyramidal bloom stalks can sap the energy right out of the plant, killing it or setting it back for a couple years, so we like to cut them off before they get too big.<br /><br />Cultivated from Aeonium atropurpureum which has the same dark color, but only on the leaf margins.<br /><br />We’ve cultivated a variety we’re calling &quot;Whippet&quot; because it’s so fast growing. It’s shorter, and midway between A. atropurpureum and &quot;Schwartzkopf&quot; in color.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Chicago Cactus


There’s a new science exhibit in Chicago about the secret life of plants, i.e. photosynthesis. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1897&amp;entry_id=1732" title="http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/home/chi-0224sugar_introfeb24,1,2705662.story" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/home/chi-0224sugar_introfeb24,1,2705662.story’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">The Tribune has the story</a>:<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br /><img width="250" hspace="5" height="425" border="0" src="/blog/uploads/misc/36064666.jpg" /></div><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Every plant works on water. Some plants have learned to get by with amazingly little, but even cacti need some water. (Tribune photo by Antonio Perez)</span><br /></div><br />I wonder where this fabulous exhibit may be right now?<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">&quot;Sugar from the Sun,&quot; (is) a new permanent indoor exhibit on photosynthesis… at the historic, 100-year-old Garfield Park Conservatory.</span><br /></div><br />So there it is. And what can they tell us?<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">In the garden or greenhouse, plants may seem like just something to look at. Yet inside their leaves, at the hidden level of chemical reactions, they are busily at work collecting sunlight — the energy that, passed up the food chain, keeps us all alive.</span><br /></div><br />So now you know. Now if I could only get to Chicago….<br /> <br />

Read More...
Read More...

French Bio-Cuisine


BioSerae is a french company that uses <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1896&amp;entry_id=1731" title="http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=83495-bioserae-cactus-antioxidants-weight-management" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.nutraingredients.com/news/ng.asp?n=83495-bioserae-cactus-antioxidants-weight-management’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">cactus ingredients in supplements</a>. They process prickly pear pads with the idea that they’re supposed to &quot;combat metabolic syndrome, manage weight and boost antioxidant levels.&quot; And now they’re making the cactus products tastier by using the fruit. <br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">&quot;An in vivo study on rats showed that, after only seven days of treatment, Cacti-Nea helps to strengthen the antioxidant protection of the body by increasing the globular rate of glutathione peroxidase (antioxidant marker).&quot; </span><br /></div><br />You know what I think of the Saturday morning cartoons these days? I hate them. There’s nothing good on anymore. Ever since they canceled Pinky and the Brain, it’s been all downhill. Sure, Adult Swim has been good after midnight, but I want to wake up early on a Saturday and watch some quality brightly colored cartoons and I’m very disappointed.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Lush Cactus Gardens in Phoenix


While we’re talking about things to do in Phoenix, here’s a <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1894&amp;entry_id=1730" title="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0225azjournal0225carraro.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0225azjournal0225carraro.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">tour of a cactus garden</a> that is can’t-miss.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Saguaros, ocotillos and other survivors of a cactus garden planted decades ago frame Phoenix landmark Tovrea Castle today, reminders of a dreamer ahead of his time.<br />
<br />
Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro, helped by one of his sons and a crew of about 20, built the castle and brought in Russian gardener M. Moktatchev to create the environmentally-compatible landscape that surrounds it….<br />
<br />
Carraro Cactus Garden<br />
When: Guided 90-minute tours offered on selected Saturdays, usually three or four times each day.<br />
Where: Grounds outside Tovrea Castle, 5041 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix.<br />
Details: <a href="phoenix.gov/PARKS/tovrea.html">Registration required</a>. 602-256-3220</span><br /></div><br />I wonder if readers in Texas have already pre-voted, or are waiting to vote tomorrow. My sister pre-voted, but then she would. <br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Edible Cactus


Ever wonder which cactus in the Arizona desert you could eat, if perchance you were lost in the Arizona desert with water but no food and were getting hungry? Well there’s a class you can take that will tell you everything you need to know. I suspect they’ll let you know that prickly pears taste good, especially the delicious, delicious fruit. <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1893&amp;entry_id=1729" title="http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/109658" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/109658′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Lets find out.</a><br style="font-style: italic;" /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br style="font-style: italic;" /><img width="300" hspace="5" height="200" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/fcstvwpm.jpg" /><br style="font-style: italic;" /><span style="font-style: italic;">Laura Segall, For the Tribune LISTEN AND LEARN: Janet Pribbenow and Bob Gottschalk, both of Waterloo, Wis., listen as Don Wells of Apache Junction leads a tour about edible and medicinal desert plants at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.<br />
<br />
What: Learn about desert plants you can eat<br />
When: 1:30 p.m. on March 8 and March 23<br />
Where: Boyce Thompson Arboretum, U.S. 60, near Superior<br />
Cost: $7.50 adults, $3 ages 5 to 12 and free for children under 5; hike is free<br />
Information: (520) 689-2723 or ag.arizona.edu/bta<br />
</span><br /></div><br />There you go.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Fertilize Your Cactus in Spring


Q: Peter,

Mom asked (as we live right down the road in Santa Cruz) when, roughly, we can assume the various cacti are out of their winter dormancy. I know this varies according to the individual species but as we have over 40 different ones, we’re just looking for some general guidelines here. Normally we stop feeding in Oct and start again in May. Are we doing this right?

Thanks again,

Sondra

A: Sondra,

It is a good rule of thumb to wait until May to fertilize cacti, and stopping in October (Stop in September in colder climates). Succulents, on the other hand, may be winter-growers and would be on a different schedule.

At the nursery, we like to start fertilizing as early as possible, and so it varies each year. This year it looks like we’re now coming out of winter, with only occasional rain still to come, so we’ll start feeding some of the winter-stressed cacti in mid-March with kelp meal, adding our own cactus meal fertilizer in mid April.

Neem seed meal is another good spring fertilizer helping to protect against root fungus while feeding the plant for increased green growth and bud set.

Peter

Bonus: Here’s my very short instructional video about cactus and winter stress.

Read More...
Read More...

Can you Identify an Agave?


Q: Do you what kind of Agave this is ?<br />
<br />
Thanks, <br />
Tim<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/agave.jpg" /><br /><br />Our answer is after the break…<br /><br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/archives/1728-guid.html#extended">Continue reading "Can you Identify an Agave?"</a>

Read More...
Read More...

Blue Eyed Grass


<img width="319" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/sisyrinchium_bellum_blue_eyed_grass.jpg" /><br /><br />Sisyrinchium bellum<br />These great native grasses get about 18&quot; tall, and bloom in late winter, i.e. now. The 4&quot; starts have about 6 blooms each started, while the gallon plants are going nuts with literally dozens of blooms ready to open. They do want a full sunny day or they just won’t open.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Succulent Closeup


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="322" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/trichodiadema_decorum.jpg" /><br /><br />Trichodiadema decorum<br /><br />Fuzzy leaves up close look very strange. This is the world for the bees and butterflies that pollinate these suckers.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Around the Photoblogosphere pt.3


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1887&amp;entry_id=1716" title="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwen/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwen/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Gwen</a> takes some very lovely plant pictures around town. She bought this mammillaria from us.<br /><br /><img width="350" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/2295858500_bfdf131e2c.jpg" /><br /><br />Nice. Since this photo was borrowed without permission, go see the <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1888&amp;entry_id=1716" title="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwen/2295858500/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/gwen/2295858500/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">full-size original on flickr</a>, and enjoy the rest of Gwen’s photos too.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Sunday Sermon


Reader <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1870&amp;entry_id=1699" title="http://www.churchsigngenerator.com/index_5.php" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.churchsigngenerator.com/index_5.php’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Bob Davis</a> sent along this photo of what appears to be an upcoming sale at a local church. I hope it’s not a sermon.<br /><br /><img width="432" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/churchsign.jpg" /><br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Jungle Cactus in Bloom


<img width="432" hspace="5" height="371" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/rhipsalis_microcarpa.jpg" /><br /><br />Rhipsalis microcarpa<br />A long dangly jungle cactus. Low light is the key.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Aloe Link of the Day


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1890&amp;entry_id=1721" title="http://borrego.thegardenjournals.org/?p=87" onmouseover="window.status=’http://borrego.thegardenjournals.org/?p=87′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Borrego’s Aloe Blog</a> in Los Angeles caught a neighbor’s Aloe marlothii in bloom. It is a large and impressive plant.<br /><br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Around the Photoblogosphere


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1885&amp;entry_id=1714" title="http://cafejoetogo.blogspot.com/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://cafejoetogo.blogspot.com/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Joseph Pobereskin</a> likes to take pictures of urban succulents, which by his definition doesn’t actually include any succulents.<br /><br /><img width="250" hspace="5" border="0" src="/blog/uploads/misc/IMG_1761.jpg" /><br /><br />Photo borrowed without permission, so go see the full size version at <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1886&amp;entry_id=1714" title="http://cafejoetogo.blogspot.com/2008/02/suburban-succulents.html" onmouseover="window.status=’http://cafejoetogo.blogspot.com/2008/02/suburban-succulents.html’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Eat at Joe’s</a> along with his other urban succulents.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Friday Whippet Blogging


Borrowed from <a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1864&amp;entry_id=1690" title="http://superflys.de/2007/12/05/jimi-und-jutta/" onmouseover="window.status=’http://superflys.de/2007/12/05/jimi-und-jutta/’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Superflys Whippets</a><br /><br /><img width="400" hspace="5" height="259" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/whippets/jutta1.jpg" /><br /><br />Jutta mit Jimi<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Aloe Bloom in Closeup


<img width="346" hspace="5" height="432" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/cactus/aloe_arborescens_bloom_closeup.jpg" /><br /><br />Aloe arborescens. <br /><br />This is a closeup of the same bloomstalk as yesterday.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

They Get Questions


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1889&amp;entry_id=1720" title="http://www.contracostatimes.com/homeandgarden/ci_8304476?nclick_check=1" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.contracostatimes.com/homeandgarden/ci_8304476?nclick_check=1′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Ruth Bancroft</a> answers questions about cactus soil.<br /><br /><div style="margin-left: 40px;"><span style="font-style: italic;">Q: I planted a cactus using a standard bagged potting mix, and placed it on the porch in a sunny spot. Now it looks like it is rotting and I am afraid I have lost it. Could the soil mix have caused this?<br />
<br />
A: Because cacti and other succulent plants require good drainage, it is best not to use a standard potting mix. Instead, use a mix with extra-good drainage. There are commercial cactus mixes available, but you can easily create one yourself by adding materials to promote drainage into ordinary potting soil. Sand, pumice, perlite or crushed rock such as decomposed granite can all be used for this purpose (do not, however, use sand from the beach, since saltiness may cause problems). At the garden, we use a custom blend that is about half sand and pumice, and the other half soil.</span><br /></div><br />They use a very different mix than we do. We don’t use sand at all. And we don’t start with a standard potting mix either since they all have either forest products or peat, and cactus and succulents prefer a more neutral blend while we prefer a more environmentally friendly blend. We start with coir fiber, some rice hulls. We add lots of pumice and lava rock (not perlite, which is a more energy intensive additive.) And nutrients, don’t forget the nutrients.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Aloe Arborescens


Aloe arborescens in full bloom.

These do really well in the Bay Area. They love our winter rains and can be seen in bloom around the bay for months on end. They tend to form large mounds up to 4 ft. tall, but sometimes single stalks will reach up to 6 ft.

Some people prune them into hedges, but I don’t like that at all. Big puffy mounds with dozens of bloom stalks all at once is the ideal.

Read More...
Read More...

Poked by an Agave


Q: I’ve read your previous postings which indicate that cactus thorns are not poisonous. However, my mother had a run-in with our Agave Americana last year, getting poked in the arm. The vein swelled up and within a few days the swelling had gone down. She still has problems with pain. The same cactus got my finger today; 5 hours later it is stiff and sore and pain is radiating up my arm. I used peroxide immediately and an antibiotic ointment but it doesn’t seem to be working. Is there anything you can recommend? <br />
Thank you,<br />
Sondra<br /><br />A: Sondra,<br />
Agave are not cactus, and there is an important difference. But first, let me insist that I am not a doctor, and any lingering pain should be seen by a doctor.<br />
<br />
OK, so Agaves, unlike most cactus, do have a nasty sap in them, that many people will have a reaction to. Whenever you are handling them, transplanting them or pruning leaves, we recommend long sleeves, gloves and eye protection.<br />
<br />
But I think the real problem with them is that the leaf tips – i.e. the spines – are huge and thick and very sharp. They can go in pretty deep and cause real wounds, nerve damage, etc. I know I can have lingering pain from getting poked that’s probably caused by the time it takes for the nerve to heal. (I once had a pinched nerve and it’s the same type of pain).<br />
<br />
Whenever we get punctured by a cactus or agave or other sharp plant, we make sure to remove any spines left behind, wash thoroughly, use a local disinfectant and then we like to apply a topical pain reliever. It is a wound so we watch for signs of infection.<br />
<br />
But if the pain does persist, we also have been known to go see a doctor.<br />
<br />
Hope this helps, and you and your mother get to feeling better.<br />
Peter<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...

Around the Photoblogosphere pt.1


<a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1883&amp;entry_id=1713" title="http://www.harmelphoto.com" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.harmelphoto.com’;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Mark Harmel</a> takes pictures of succulents. Here’s an agave mostly out of focus, but just the right parts just enough in focus.<br /><br /><img width="350" hspace="5" border="2" src="/blog/uploads/misc/20071123_stk_5227.jpg" /><br /><br /><a href="https://cactusjungle.com/archives/blog/exit.php?url_id=1884&amp;entry_id=1713" title="http://www.harmelphoto.com/blog/?p=7" onmouseover="window.status=’http://www.harmelphoto.com/blog/?p=7′;return true;" onmouseout="window.status=”;return true;">Photo borrowed</a> without permission, so go see the original and others too.<br /><br />

Read More...
Read More...
    
    
  Cactus and Succulents
  Bamboo
  Perennials
  Carnivorous Plants
  Airplants

  Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter

April 2023
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

US Constitution

Videos



We Get Questions

Email your questions to:

blog [at] cactusjungle [dot] com