New Jersey Succulents

Want to know how to grow succulents indoor in New Jersey? Well if you want to grow them outside you are out of luck and not just because of the weather. Also because the class listed below is only for people who like to grow their succulents indoor in New Jersey which is also everyone who likes to grow succulents in New Jersey. Except for Sempervivums. Those you can grow outside too.

Barlow’s Flower Farm & Garden Center
Sea Girt, NJ,

Saturday, February 9, 1:00 PM

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon in our tropical greenhouse while you discover the versatility of using succulents as houseplants. Although many people don’t think of them as houseplants, they are extremely forgiving of under watering and forgetful plant owners. Their ease and variety of shapes and sizes make them ideal accents for the home. In this class, each student will create an 8” succulent dish garden to bring home, while learning about care, soil requirements, design, and maintenance.

Sounds like fun!

Overgrown Mixed Perennials

What do we do when a mixed perennials pot is overgrown?


We tend to take it apart and start over.

Here we see Brian has pulled the plants out of the square pot and they have all come o0ut together in one well-rooted mass.


Now we also see Brian has a knife. What is he going to do with that knife????


Here’s the closeup of the very well-rooted mass.

Succulent Wall Panels


We plant these succulent wall panels 2 to 3 months in advance. We used succulent cuttings in a bed of moss within the wood frame. These were planted in September.

Then we set them flat for 2 months to make sure they’re fully rooted. Which they are! Then the plants start growing. Which they have! These plants are huge in these frames right now.

Then I photograph them in full color and full sun. Nice!

The final step is to use various and sundry photo filters to get just the right effect to increase your enjoyment to 11. Finally I apply the b/w filter, and… Huzzah! You take the last of the 3 final steps and place your daily succulent enjoyment in my capable hands.

Stapeliad Questions

Today we have an answer!


I stopped by Cactus Jungle a few months ago asking about Edithcolea grandis. At the time, you said you didn’t have any because you always get it from a supplier. When I asked about propagating, you said that it’s hard to grow from seed, and you have never been able to get it to root. Since then, I’ve been doing some experimenting, and wanted to share some successes.

First of all, I don’t know how people grow it from seed; I couldn’t do it at all.

But, after my main plant started to rot and I took a few cuttings, I was able to experiment with rooting. What worked (with 2 separate cuttings) was to use rooting hormone, put pots in a warm-ish place that’s accessible to sunlight – nothing drastic, just a windowsill or an inner covered patio), keep the soil moist, but not wet, and keep the pot covered with a plastic bag. I just had regular 2-inch plastic pots covered by a ziplock bag. I live in the foggy part of San Francisco, so it was never especially warm or cold. What did NOT work was keeping pots uncovered, keeping them in the greenhouse (probably too much temp variation?), or keeping the soil too dry or too wet.

I hope this is helpful to you, and thanks for the beautiful nursery and great plants.



Thanks for the update! Do you have pictures of the new little plants?


More Terrariums

We’ve have been so busy making terrariums for everyone. Remember that Terrarium Wall I posted? There’s more.

That’s a Kalanchoe in there. Is there enough soil for the plant to survive? Yes! There is enough. And a little bit of charcoal at the bottom too. But be careful not to overwater.

Check out our ad in the Sunday SF Chronicle tomorrow with even more terrariums. I suspect it’s in the garden section, but then you never know with the chronicle.

Tillandsias are the easiest way to go for sure, and the airplants are very reliable too.

That’s a nice one. It has a frog! And not just any frog but a red tree frog, Litoria rubella.

In case you haven’t figured it out, we are the one stop shop for all things terrariums.

Crochet Succulents

If you know how to crochet and just need some patterns for crocheting succulents, then this here is the find of the century.

Planet June is selling succulent patterns. So hurry up, get those patterns, and crochet yourself some christmas gifts ASAP! I wonder if you could use those as a tea cozy?

And don’t forget the crochet dinosaurs.

Cute! I know what I want you to crochet for me for christmas this year…

Succulent Terrarium Workshop

In San Francisco? Nobody told me! And we’re not hosting it? Unreal.

“Succulent” Terrarium / Utsuwa Floral Design
Utsuwa Floral Design
Friday, November 30, 2012 from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM (PST)
San Francisco, CA

Now that IS a quality terrarium. It turns out you don’t have to come to us at the Cactus Jungle for a quality terrarium. But tickets are limited.

Boston Succulents

They love them some succulents in Boston, what with the disastrous season for the Red Sox this year. And they’re inviting you to join them.

Succulent Container Workshop with Carrie Waterman
Saturday, November 17 2012, 10:00am – 12:00pm

Make your very own succulent container. Learn from an expert how to plant an attractive container of these wonderful plants. All materials will be provided including a nice selection of succulent plants suitable for a mixed container, pots, special soil mix, plant labels and top dressing. Aftercare instructions will be included along with information about how to propagate succulents and how to exhibit your container at the 2013 Boston Flower & Garden Show!

Put it on your calender.

Sun Shining on a Cactus

Ever wonder how a cactus finds the sun? They rotate to face it. Really?

Every cactus knows exactly where the sun is. They know this from their first day of life, and will always reach for the light in their natural angle of repose. At the Huntington Botanical Garden, their massive old golden barrel cactus are so illustrative of this fact. Virtually every one of these large old specimens leans southward.

It’s true of our native cactus too. The compass barrel (Ferocactus cylindriacus) is so named because it always leans however slightly to the south. They do this so reliably that their inclination was once used for reckoning much the same way pioneers found north from moss that grows only on that side of a tree trunk.

OK, maybe not rotate exactly, but leaning isn’t as exciting a story as rotating.

What to do in Detroit this Saturday

Plant succulents in a container of your choice. Don’t know how? Join some other people in or near Detroit (Troy is near Detroit, maybe?) with succulents to plant and you too could end up with a succulent container garden of your own. If you’re in Detroit this Saturday. If not, then nevermind.

Succulent Container Workshop: Bring your own container or choose from a variety of different pots. 10 a.m. Sat. Telly’s Greenhouse, 3301 John R, Troy. Workshop: $5 plus materials. Register. 248-689-8735.


Lila B Designs made terrariums for the Google campus.

I think they got the glass and plants and rocks and everything else from us. We had 3 people come in at 5pm a couple weeks ago and they were putting together terrariums for google, and that all looks like product we carry, so there is a good chance that we helped pick all these out.

I put the odds at 70-30.

They’re nice – even if they got their glass and succulents and other stuff from someone other than us. But I think they got it from us. So that’s even better.


Cactus and Fossils

Keith sent me this photo of a Ferocactus pottsi and a carnivorous dinosaur and a fossil. He says this is the proper way to use a fossil in a cactus pot. Did he come up with this himself? Or did a customer ask him to repot this cactus along with adding the two toys?

I shall never know for sure. It is a mystery.

I wonder if that is a mammal fossil? It is a mystery.

It's a Task List for the Month of September. For You!

September is traditionally the hottest month of our Bay Area year, so please watch and water appropriately. Also, if you’ve come back from your summer vacation and all your non-drought-tolerant plants have failed to thrive without water when you were gone, maybe now would be a good time to think about getting more of your favorite drought-tolerant plants. From us! At the Cactus Jungle!

September Gardening Tasks include:

  • Water your Lithops. This is the time of year! Take a risk! Pour water right over their little stone-like heads. Remember, the rest of the year we mist them.
  • Fall Veggies: Plant kale, spinach, cabbage, peas, arugula and lettuces of all colors.
  • Christmas Cactus: Move them into a shady spot and start with a bloom food to get your Christmas blooms on time.
  • Orchids: If you got blooming orchids in spring, now is a good time to start the bloom food to get a 2nd round of flowers this fall.
  • Last chance for cuttings and divisions for summer growing succulents like Echeverias and Crassulas.
  • September is the last month of the year that it is safe to transplant cactus, or to plant them in the ground. After this month we are close enough to winter and they won’t like it.
  • Fruit Trees and berries, including blueberries and strawberries both: Now is the time to fertilize with a broad spectrum fertilizer. Citrus need a citrus food. Blueberries need a food for acid-loving plants. Strawberries want a standard fruit and flower food.
  • If you don’t pull your weeds before fall, please make sure you dead-head the seed-heads before they spread their seed into weed season. Less seed now means less weeds later.

Watering Succulent Terrariums

This is a tough one.

I have a new succulent terrarium and am in need of watering instruction. I had instructions included saying to use a spray bottle and moisten at the base of the succulents. I am aware that over-watering can lead to root rot, so I want to make sure I do not get to that point. The middle of my two main succulent plants are showing signs of brown leaves. I feel quite certain that I have not over-watered just solely on the fact that I’ve watered once in the week that I’ve had it, but I am concerned with the browning. Everything I have read has said the lower/base of the plants will brown and those leaves will die, but as long as the middle/center of the plant isn’t turning, all should be fine.


You can see in the pictures attached that is exactly what I’m noticing. I have the terrarium indoors in in-direct sunlight during the day. Could you please offer some watering suggestions? I do not know if I’m even watering enough, I don’t see any of the water going down into the soil-is that a visual indicator I should/not see? Thanks for your time.


It’s hard to tell from the photos what is going on. The plant in the middle is a Haworthia and they are very sensitive to over-water. The bottom leaves dropping off look like they are rotting, rather than drying, which would imply over-water.

Terrariums are difficult to get the watering right. You may well lose a few plants before you figure out your own conditions. In general when a succulent is in a regular pot we water every 2 weeks (in our area), drench the soil and let it drain away so it is never sitting in water. In a terrarium you can’t quite do that since there is no drainage. So you water more often, but less water. You want to wet the soil, but you don’t ever want water sitting at the bottom (we add charcoal at the bottom of our terrariums to neutralize any sitting water). So you need to test it out over time – a small amount of water and then check the soil to make sure it is dry before you water again.

Good luck,

May Gardening Tasks

I have a new feature in our Monthly Email (You are on the monthly email list, aren’t you?). Monthly Gardening Tasks! Karen N. asked for it, and now you all get it. It’s for the Bay Area in particular; Northern California in general, and as far south as Southern California if you’re too lazy to look up your local gardening tips and tasks for spring. On the other hand, if you live in Minnesota or Albany, NY then you can take the task list with a grain of salt. Interestingly, we have a very similar climate to Rome, so if you live in Rome you can follow the list quite closely.


  • If you’ve already fed your bamboo early for spring, you can feed them again now and get a real boost of growth for summer. If you haven’t yet, then what are you waiting for?
  • I suspect you’ve already started your veggie gardens, since April is the top month for veggie gardening, but May brings a lot more varieties out so don’t forget to add more, spaced out through the next few months. Coming mid May – Melons! They don’t always work in the Bay Area because they need some heat, but we’re very hopeful this year. It’s warm enough to be planting Basil and the warmer climate Tomatoes. Corn! Beans, too.
  • If you have any of the Ice Plant type succulents in your garden and they’ve had their first blooms already then you should go ahead and dead-head them – which means trimming off the spent blooms – so they can rebloom later in the summer. Alternatively they have edible fruit so you can let them ripen too, however you won’t get more blooms if you do. You’ll have to watch for the ripe fruit because if you don’t pick them in time you’ll lose them to the birds. And finally, if you get them in time then you can make jam. That’s all they’re good for.
  • Olives! Now you really must fertilize your Olive trees, if you have fruiting Olive trees.
  • It’s time to start in on bloom food for plants that will bloom in July and August, so I would definitely get right onto your terrestrial orchids like the Epidendrons and the Cymbidiums. Cactus are mostly summer bloomers if they haven’t already budded out for spring, so bloom food for them now too. Lewisias, Dudleyas, Penstemons, Mimuluses….
  • As the cold nights turn warm, watch for caterpillars and aphids. Take care of them early.

On the other hand, the SF Chronicle also has a list of gardening tasks for May, and they tell you to:

– Weed.

– Continue to pursue slugs and snails.

That’s not as much fun.

Succulent Cupcakes

Not only are these photogenic cupcakes made to look like Echeverias and Stapelias, but the website they come from, Pixel Whisk, has complete how-to, DIY, baking and decorating, do-it-yourself, frosting and molding, follow along instructions that you can follow along the instructions with to make your own by doing it yourself. (Was that last phrase too much? I think I went one phrase too long in the run-on clause bonanza. Maybe I should take it back and end it on “to make your own.”)


Thanks to Tony for the heads up.

Grizzly Bear Modern

A modern dresser (well, maybe it wasn’t so modern, but more like moderne, before the makeover) is transformed into a multi level apartment complex for succulent families.

On the Grizzly Bear Modern blog they also include lots of DIY instructions with lots of photos in case you wanted to do one of these yourself.

Succulent Wall Panels


Rikki builds our custom succulent wall panels using a LOT of Sempervivums. And then I asked her to look up and took a 2nd picture.


You can see her face!

Around the Video Gardening Blogosphere

Life on the Balcony‘s Fern Richardson has a book out, Small Space Container Gardening. And judging from this video she really does have just a small space to garden. So small that she’s planting herbs underneath succulents. Interesting!

Where can you get the book? We carry it. Not that you have to come all the way down to our store on a rainy day to buy a book, but you could.

Making of Cactus

Cucumber Cactus Craft

We’re having some cowboy fun this week and pulled together a quick cactus craft after rounding up some cucumbers, toothpicks, and tissue paper.

Uh oh. That doesn’t sound promising.

Well, I guess this adorable kid can’t go wrong with a cucumber and a knife, so I won’t make any snarky comments. But you will have to click through to see the denouement of this craft experiment.

How to Harvest Aloe Gel

This is one I need to know. I can get a little gel out of the aloe leaf just by cutting the tip off and smearing the cut end all over me. Or at least smearing it on the burn or cut. But then what about the rest of the gel in the leaf – how do you harvest it? Since I plan on making my own moisturizer I need to learn these skills too.

Video after the break since I can’t get the auto-start to turn off. Read More…

Cactus Tea Cozy

Today seems to be all about the How-To’s, so here we have a unique and rather fascinating look into how to knit a cactus tea cozy.

wootwoot teaches us the rare and tender skills.

First you buy the yarn.

Yarn:  Araucania Nature Wool (100% wool, 240.59 yd/100 gr) : 40 and 08, 1 sk each,  Cascade 220 Quattro (100% wool, 220 yd/100g): 9436 1 sk, approx. 20 yds natural colored lace weight wool.

Then you make a copy of the stitch guide to keep alongside you while you’re knitting.

Stitch Guide:
• m1p: make 1 purl:
stitch by picking up the horizontal bar before next stitch and purling into the back of it.

• S1: Slip 1 stitch

• mb: make 2 stitch bobble:
kfb, turn, p2, turn, s1, k1, psso

• dd: double decrease:
Slip 2 stitches as if to k2tog, k1, pass slipped stitches over.

OK, now you’ve lost me. I don’t know what that is all about. I better stop right here. Here’s a picture of the final product.

Very cozy. If you want to know more, then click through the link already, for crying out loud. The rest of us are going to scroll past this post and get to the good stuff. Margaritas.

Cactus Fruit are Easy to Peel

If you know how. Here’s some instructions, with a really nice illustration. Now you too know how to get to the meaty pulp of a spiny cactus pear.

How to peel a cactus pear.

Step 1: Holding the cactus pear with a fork, cut off each end.

Step 2: Make a long vertical slice down the side of the fruit. Cut deep enough to go through the thick skin but try not to cut into the fruit.

Step 3: Gently pry open the skin and it will peel away quite easily.

Step 4: Remove the fruit from the skin and discard the skin.

That looks really easy. Much easier than the technique I used last time I made prickly pear margaritas. They were delicious.

Australian Cactus

Apparently they measure out very small amounts of water for each cactus in Australia to save water.

Ross Comben, of Kirisit Nursery, shows that only a drop of water is needed to take care of his succulents. Photo: Peter Holt

We prefer to water less often, but with more water. Drench the cactus and let the water drain away, never sitting in water. We water cactus only every 2 to 4 weeks. That’s what we do. But then, we don’t live in Australia where the water drains from the bowl counterclockwise.

How to ID a Cactus

If it’s an Opuntiad, i.e. in the Opuntioideae subfamily of Cactaceae, i.e. generally in the genus of Opuntia, Cylindropuntia, or Austrocylindropuntia, plus a few other genuses like Consolea which look like Opuntias, and Quiabentia which are really cool, then you:

1. Wait for it to flower. Take a picture, it will last longer.

2. Check out this website Opuntiads Web.

3.Click one of these links to get to the flower pictures:






4. Match up the pictures and grab the ID.

5. Send me the photo and the proposed ID and I will be happy to concur.

September 2023

US Constitution


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