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Peter Lipson
Hap Hollibaugh

Dudleyas for Everyone!

Hi Peter

I was at Cactus Jungle this morning – here is a picture of my succulent that is unidentified. It has been in the ground three years in full sun has not grown much in that time. Looks like a chrysanthemum.

Thank you Hortensia


That’s a Dudleya. We do have those here at the store, out on the floor, but they do not have as much red on the tips as in the photo. It is a very slow growing succulent that forms only small clumps.



Agave Questions, Answered

Maryann with the Marin Independent Journal wants to know about all the agaves blooming all at once all over Marin. Interesting!

  • I read that the American agaves really do die after blooming – but live on through their offspring. Is that so?

Yes, if they’ve had the offspring by then. Also, the giant bloom stalks are filled with hundreds of blooms which can be pollinated and develop seed and spread thousands of seed in every direction.

  • Do you know how long the current blooms will last?

It can take 4-6 months for the full bloom cycle

  • Could the large number of blooms be attributed to the heavy rains we witnessed this year?

It can be because they were popular to plant 25-30 years ago, or it can be caused by stress as well, which can be the aftermath of the drought, and even the heavy rains this winter.

  • If they really make mezcal from the plant, can I do that at home? 😉

It would be difficult, to say the least. Once they’ve bloomed it’s too late, but if you want to make mezcal from an agave you need to cut all those giant spiny leaves off and harvest just the heart of the plant. That’s a lot of work!


Summer Cactus Flower

It’s a cholla in full bloom! Well, it’s a single cholla flower. At least! Maybe I could zoom out and we’d see if there are more flowers.

And it’s a California native cactus too.

Cylindropuntia fulgida

Chain-Fruit Cholla, Boxing glove Cholla

Origin: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Baja California

Medium height tree cholla, to 6ft tall. Flowers in summer.

Hardy to 5F.



We Made Best of the East Bay! 


Best Place for Learning How to Grow Designer Succulents

Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden 

If your green thumb is nonexistent, but you still want to try your hand at growing beautiful plants, there is hope. In this lush nursery of both cacti and succulents, you’ll find low-maintenance plants of every color, height, and even texture — from the furry to the prickly. Glass terrariums dangle from the inside of the nursery’s shop, along with a collection of garden soaps and sparkling amethyst clusters, which can be placed outside or in one’s home. For the beginner botanist, terrarium-making classes are held monthly, where you’ll learn to craft a DIY miniature plant environment out of sand, succulents, and animal sculptures. There are numerous terrariums to choose from, including those made of both hand-blown and recycled glass. And the finished product can be easily used as a creative birthday gift for a friend or family member. Cactus Jungle also offers garden design and installation services, if you’ve been thinking about turning that shoddy front yard into something more similar to vibrant, tropical rainforest. Chances are, you can discover some type of plant suitable for your home here, whether or not you have the gardening experience to go with it. 1509 Fourth St, Berkeley, (Cassandra Vogel)


They Get Venus Flytrap Questions

It takes a lot of patience to answer some questions, sometimes…, like this one that the Straight Dope got about…

Venus Flytraps from Space!!

So there’s that.

Dear Straight Dope:

I checked your archive and I couldn’t find anything about this, so I thought I’d ask you. Years ago I remember reading that scientists were extremely vexed about the evolutionary appearance of Venus flytraps. The article I read said that the little evil-looking plants simply appeared some time in our planet’s history without any apparent relatives, and the creepiest thing is that their (very small) native area is right in the middle of where a meteor hit the earth years ago. Is this true? It sounds very “Little Shop of Horrors” to me. Additionally, how do the plants “know” when an insect is in their maws? I didn’t think plants had nerves. I patiently await your reply.

SDStaff Doug replies:

There are no scientists puzzled about the Venus flytrap, only “scientists.” The VFT is the only member of its genus, Dionaea, but it has several relatives in the genus Drosera, which also happen to be carnivorous plants, known as “sundews.” Together, these two genera make up the plant family Droseraceae. Sundews occur all over the world, while the VFT is limited to bogs throughout North and South Carolina — and, despite any X-Files episodes to the contrary, neither of the Carolinas used to be a meteor crater….

Read the rest of the answer here.


Dasylirion Bloomstalk

Good morning –

We purchased the plant next to my son in this photo from you about 2+ years ago.

I cannot recall the name of it – but note it is now producing a giant shoot or blossom that is about 10 feet tall.

What can you tell me about this – I have heard that the plant will die once this shoot blooms?

Thank you for your time –


That is a Dasylirion wheeleri, known as the Desert Spoon, from Northern Mexico. They do not die after blooming – you’re thinking of the Agaves – same Plant Family, but different plants!

The giant bloom stalk will produce lots of flowers which will be very attractive to the bees.




61 Cactus Blooms

Dominic sends along this San Pedro photo. Wow! The bees must be going nuts!

I bought this San Pedro cactus from you many years ago. It has bloomed a few times with only a few flowers. This year we got 61 flowers from it!


Tokidoki Special Edition

It’s the Tokidoki Unicorno Pride Special Edition – It’s a 2-pack!

We sell a lot of the Tokidoki toys, mostly the Cactus Friends and the Unicornos (also spiky!) since we are a spiky kind of nursery kind of place. And now they’ve released a Pride Special Edition?!? And we are in the middle of Pride season here in SF!?!

Awesome. And we have them…


Easter Lily Cactus 

Echinopsis oxygona 

Origin: South America

Description: Forms clumps. Stems are variable – 2-10″ diameter; spines are variable, not always present. Large tubular showy flowers range from pinkish white to lavender, sometimes light red.

Temperature: Hardy to 20F

Full Sun to Part Sun


Pincushion Protea, Berkeley 

Leucospermum “Scarlet Ribbons” 
Common Name: Nodding Pincushion

Origin: South Africa

Description: Evergreen Shrub

Medium sized shrub with serrated leaves and red tips. Gorgeous multicolored pincushion flowers in yellow, orange, pink, and scarlet. Tolerates a wider range of soils than most Leucospermums.

Temperature: Hardy to 25-30F

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 5ft


Knobbly Mesembs

Cute South African succulents in the Mesemb Family, also known as the Iceplant Family, also known as the Living Stone Family. Indeed! To be clear the actual family name is Aizoaceae, Sub-Family Ruschioideae. And yet they’re called Mesembs because at some point in the past the family was called Mesembryanthemaceae. And some will dispute the current family name anyway, and insist these all belong under Ficoidaceae instead. Don’t get me started!

Aloinopsis schooneesii

Small dense clumps of speckled blue-green leaves sit on large tuberous roots, which can be esposed over time to form an unusual bonsai. Yellow flowers in spring.

Titanopsis calcarea

Small clumper forms dense mats of thick open leaves. Winter-growing, keep dry in summer. Grows in limestone strewn areas.

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