Glaucus Barrel Cactus

Ferocactus glaucescens, or the famed Blue Barrel of Hidalgo, is blooming!

And it’s a multi-barrel, so there are more flowers along the side too.

That’s a lot of blooms all at once on this one particular plant.

Hens and Chicks

Sempervivum “Hopewell” has some amazing colorway. These are the 1 gallon sized plants, but the 3″ plants we have also have the same remarkable colors.


In case you were wondering (and db was wondering…) the photo, like all my photos, was taken with natural light only. I don’t even know how to use artificial lighting. Light switch? Never heard of it. Fluorescents? Hah! I spit in their general direction.

Desert Rose

Adenium somalense

We get to enjoy these rare caudiciforms blooming regularly, spring and fall, since they’re too expensive for anyone to actually purchase them at the store.

They’re mine! All mine!

I hope nobody got a picture of me taking this picture, because it wasn’t easy to get the bloom shot against the sky backdrop. I might have looked a bit “awkward”.


Carnegiea gigantea


Delicious Cactus Fruit

Melocactus violaceus is also known as the Turk’s Cap. All the fuzzy white stuff on top of the cactus is the mature cephalium. This is a newly mature specimen with last year’s flowers having produced a fruit this year. Shall we eat it? Or shall we extract the seeds and grow more?

Here’s the rest of the plant.


Copper Shamrock

Oxalis vulcanicola “Coppertones” is faster growing and much darker colored than the species, which we also grow. In fact this is a very easy cultivar to grow and propagate and get to bloom and get to survive through the winter and come out in spring with so many bright yellow flowers that your eyes will hurt just even talking about it.

Hardy to around 25F, it is semi-deciduous, shrinking in size in the winter. It is also a nice hanging basket plant and really our best selling basket plant. In shade it goes a lot more green than this, but it gets very full and bushy. In full sun the stems are more sparse but this rich dark color is an eye popping extravaganza. A veritable festival.


Bees in the Nursery

Bee in the Echinocereus flowers.

First it lands.

Then it dives in.

You can see all the pollen it has been collecting.

Tidy Spines

Coryphantha ottonis

I blogged this little cactus earlier this year. We hadn’t had a new crop or featured it in our monthly email in a few years, so I got my act together and featured it for this month. Nice little specimens they are, too.

These are small barrels with recurved spines so they’re not particularly dangerous. Originally thought to be Mammillarias since they also have prominent tubercles, the grooved tubercles in the Coryphanthas are the give-away that these are their own genus.

While thse will stay small, getting only about 3″ across, eventually they might get slightly more vertical and top out at about 5″ tall. Flowers are highly variable – mostly yellowish white but some are pure white and they also can come in a range of pinks too, although nobody has named cultivars based on the flower colors that I’m aware of.

Did I mention that they’re from Mexico? Pretty widely spread too, which might be the reason for the range of flower colors.

Spiny Gooseberry

Ribes roezlii ssp. cruentum

This plant is amazing, and yet we haven’t sold any. Look at these flowers! Look at those fresh green leaves! And the spines, too! You love it, everyone who has ever walked this earth loves it, and yet….

Let me tell you some more about it, and then maybe I can convince you that your garden also needs one. It’s native throughout Northern California, as far south as Napa County. Chaparral as high up as 7000ft. (And that is high up) so that means its going to be pretty cold tolerant. How hardy? 20F? 10F? How about 0F! Yes!

Spiny and moderate-sized – it will get 4ft. tall and maybe 6 ft. across if you let it go wild, which you don’t have to since the branches are not particularly hardwood, just get your gloved arm through those spines and clip away to shape them, preferably in late fall.

Still not convinced? How about another picture.

My god that’s amazing. And they really do look like that in person.

Some more good info for your personal files: Deer resistant! Edible fruit – the native wildlife will thank you for the treats. Care must be taken since they are a host for Rust, so watch for fungus.

White Ghost

This Euphorbia lactea is a ghost variety. Normally all our ghost Euphorbia lacteas are crested. But now we have a small number of uncrested (non-crested?) ghostly lacteas. It’s full and proper name is Euphorbia lactea “White Ghost”.

“Lactea” sounds like a milkly name and indeed this is also known as a Milk Bush, in this case a Ghost Milk Bush, although Euphorbia tirucalli, i.e. the Pencil Cactus, is actually more commonly called Milk Bush and E. lactea is more commonly called Candelabra Cactus. Common names can be so confusing! Milk Bushes tend to be more poisonous than other Euphorbias, although not the most poisonous of Euphorbias. African Milk Tree (Euphorbia trigona) is less poisonous, but still nasty. In case you haven’t figured out, the milk part of the name refers to the milky white latex sap which is the poisonous part of the plant.

Alert the Local News!


It’s an agave coming into bloom. Agave funkiana. It’s still on the floor at the nursery, but I took the price tag off and moved it out front for display. The bloom is growing fast. Soon it will finish its cycle and die. Oh how we will miss you, funkiana, my friend.

Blooming Caudiciform

Jatropha berlandieri

What can I tell you about this lovely plant? It’s from the Mexico/Texas border area. It goes completely dormant in winter with no green at all, just the caudex. It grows lots of short green vines with nicely lobed leaves and proliferates with red and yellow flowers for most of the year.

I can tell you that we keep it inside in a sunny location, but it doesn’t need all day sun.

I can tell you that it has oily seeds that pop out of the seed pod three at a time.

That’s enough for today.


Echeveria “Fireball” is one of the only 2 of the big Echeveria hybrids we’ve been growing consistently for a few years, but this is the first time we’ve had a full crop of them and not just a few random plants. I guess this means Brian and Hap did a good job of planning the parent stock and tending them and propagating them too.

Yay! for them.

This is also one of the few hybrids have the typically get a decent sized stalk without tipping over.

We’re now growing more large Echeveria hybrids that should be coming out all year long. We’ve invested heavily in Echeveria hybrid futures on the Succulent Futures Market, which operates out of Sudbury, Connecticut.

Pitcher Plants

It’s been a long cold winter for the Pitcher Plants, but they’re finally ready to come out for spring.

Sarracenia flava

These are spectacular, even if they don’t have a lot of pitchers – big and blooming too. Very distinctive.¬†Great form! I give them a 9.6.

Sarracenia purpurea, not sure the subspecies, but they are full and very veiny. A bit more common than the flavas, but not as subtle. 8.7 is all they can garner from my scoring machine. Maybe I should revisit the point system and the computer algorithm.

Obama in the Garden

And now we have the start of our Obama in the Garden series of photos featuring our new Barack Obama toy.

First up we have a photo that Keith took of Godzilla eating Obama.

Classic! Maybe tomorrow the Obama in the Garden series will feature some actual plants and not just silly things we carry at the nursery.


Keith has brought out all our new plants for April today and I photographed them all, put them on the website here, and sent out our monthly email for those on the email list here.

Here’s my favorite this month.

Olneya tesota

It’s been 7 years since we’ve featured this plant at the Cactus Jungle. You can see the older photo from 2005 if you click the link above. So much has changed in 7 years. Including my name. You can now call me Bob.

Thank you and goodnight.

Big Cactus Flowers Pop Open!

More Echinocereus bloom colors opening today.

This one is called “Bright Pink”. A subtle name for a subtle color.



And now the Echinocereus grandiflora buds are ready to open into “Sunrise Yellow” so you know it has to be good.

More colors opening daily. More blog photos often. More happiness guaranteed.

Orchid Cactus


The first Epiphyllum bud has opened this spring. And it’s a beauty.

Golden Star Cactus

Mammillaria elongata

These are grown in many different cultivars, and we have a number of those cultivars, but we don’t label them as such. It’s a philosophical difference with those who do label all those cultivars. But we have 3 cultivars out right now if you look carefully, not that you need to. On top of that there are also two subspecies, although I’ve never seen any of these plants with the subspecies labels in the trade, so they may not be available.

It’s also often called the Ladyfinger Cactus, however that common name is also used for an Echinocereus we carry, so I won’t use that common name here for this Mammillaria.

As you can probably guess, it’s from Mexico. The cylindrical stems can get over an inch in diameter, but tend to get sometimes even 4″ in length. The fruit is pink. You can figure out the flower color by looking at the picture. But of course they also vary towards a more pinkish color too.

These are reliably hardy down to 25F, but are often grown in much colder locations if kept dry.

Curly Leafed Echeveria


Any idea of the cultivar name?

I call these the cabbagy echeverias, but it probably has a cultivar name like E. “Curly Nights” or E. “Eagle River” for some reason.

Tilt-Head Aloe

Aloe speciosa blooms are amazing. The buds start out red, then turn orange and then greenish white and then finally they open and shoot out in bright red.

Prince Albert Vygie

Ebracteola wilmaniae is my favorite new mesemb. It’s easy to grow, but we think it’s not hardy so we have it indoor. Of course it’s from South Africa where it grows in gravelly soil and limestone. It can get up to 20″ of rain in habitat so it’s probably hardy here, but I’m not going to be the one to try it.

The post title is in fact one of it’s South African common names.

Usually they bloom white, so this pink flowering individual is a rarity.

And here’s what the rest of the plant looks like.

Blooming Cactus

It must be Spring! Rain!

Mammillaria compacticaulis

Such a tiny cactus usually will be multi-stemmed, but this small mammillaria is generally solitary. And yet it stays under 6″. While the flower colors are variable, we’ve had crops for 2 years in a row with the same flower color.

While these will bloom through the summer, we find that they throw out a few early flowers, sometimes even more than a few, when we have an early spring. And I do mean early.

Oh, and if you click the picture you’ll see the whole plant. All 2 bloody inches of the thing. Click away!

Now That's What We Call a Question

I’m sorry to be a bother but it seems after I bought an aloe ferox (in a 3 inch pot) from you two weeks ago, I’ve neglected to ask when it should be repotted and into what size of a pot? I can’t find a definitive answer anywhere. Thank you for you attention!

Most of our plants are good in the pot they cam in for about a year. With Aloes when the rosette is covering the top of the pot and making it hard to water it is time to repot. Of course it will grow faster in a larger pot, but it is easy to over water if you go too large, so it is better to keep the scale of the pot to the plant.

Take care,

And in case you were wondering, we have a beautiful crop of 1ga. Aloe ferox out now.

By the way, did you know that in the nursery trade gallon pots are not abbreviated 1ga. like normal people would do it, but #1, and #5 and so on. But I refuse to give in to the forces of evil and will continue my habit of abbreviating things normally. I’ll give out more secrets of the trade if you ask me.

September 2023

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