Austin's Girlfriend Likes Succulents

We posted a picture of Austin’s garden in Redwood City earlier this year. Now he has more for us to post.

Cactus Jungle,

I have been to your nursery multiple times, and I’m also the high schooler who asked you questions about sustainability for a school paper this spring. You guys were nice enough to post a picture of my garden on your blog. I want to say thank you for doing that because it really made my day. Anyways, since then, I have gotten my girlfriend interested in succulents (she really is amazing). I am asking if you would be kind enough to post a picture of her small garden on your blog, so that she knows that people like what she is doing and that she’s doing a good job. I will attach a picture of her garden, and her name is Christina.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

Sure enough, there’s a picture of the start of a new succulent garden.

I see Cotyledon orbiculata in bloom, an Agave marginata that will outgrow the spot in about 2 years, some Sedum and some Senecio, and a bunch of nice Echeverias tucked in among the rock wall. Good job, Christine!

Backyard Cactus

Dani sends along this photo of a backyard bamboo grove, where she’s working for the day. Is that a Euphorbia ammak I see over on the left?


Barbara has a Euphorbia

Thank u Peter for responding so quickly. I must admit i am sort of surprised that you wouldn’t have a market for such a handsome looking guy but there you go.

alright thanks again maybe you’ll see it someday sitting on the street corner forlorn, unwatered and untouched by neither human nor dog wandering by. Give It a fond glance wontcha?


And what got Barbara to get poetic on us? Why this particular Euphorbia tirucalli right here:

Euphorbia tirucalli

Barbara asked if we wanted it since she has new grandkids and the plant is pretty poisonous, and we declined to take on this 5ft. tall x 4ft wide Euphorbia, attractive as it is. If anyone else local wants a referral to Barbara for this plant, let me know and I’ll pass along your information. Hopefully together we can forestall a “forlorn, unwatered and untouched” Firesticks.

Bearded Iris

Dani, near Santa Cruz, sends along a photo of her Bearded Iris.


Does anyone know Bearded Irises better than me who can tell us what the variety is? One could start looking here. Of course, we only sell the Pacific Coast Irises at the store, but that doesn’t mean we can’t admire others.

Before and After

Chris sent us photos of the Echinocereus grandiflora he got from us.

Before and after. I like the “before” pic — the cactus looks ready to explode. And it did, the next day!



Oy, that’s amazing.

Ben's Cactus has a Bloom


Kindly little Leuchtenbergia principis waiting until my day off to bloom!


Nice! A very nice yellow on that one – I’ve seen a number where the yellow is much more pale.

Big Berkeley Cactus

Oy, that’s big.

Hi Peter,

Nice talking with you today about cacti. Here is a photo of the one I mentioned in San Leandro. It really is quite spectacular. If you want to see it in person its right next door to the Starbucks as you come off highway 580 at Dutton Avenue. If you know where to look you can see it from the freeway. Enjoy. If you want a higher resolution image let me know.




Big Blooms


Muk posted this photo of an Echinocereus grandiflora hybrid in bloom.

You can see more photos on our Facebook page.

Big Crest

Genn from Idaho has a really big cresting ghost Euphorbia lactea that she’s shared with us.

This is what happens when you grow one successfully for a few years. The crest grows bigger with fans on top of fans.


Blooming Aeoniums

Hi Hap and Peter and gang,

Here is one of our client’s Aeonium ‘Schwartzkop’ in bloom. Wondering how to prune this once it is finished blooming. Looks like nearly every floret is blooming. Please advise.


Oh dear! Cut the branches with flowers off as soon as they start to open, and enjoy them in a vase. Letting them go to bloom on the plant will kill the whole plant. Oy!

Hi Peter,
Oy veh is right!!! So if we cut off the blooming branches, there will be nothing left? If this is a Black Swan moment, perhaps we simply replace? Please advise Professor Peter!


It looked to me like you had a few branches that were not going to bloom, but if close to the whole plant is blooming, then enjoy the show and replace the plant when it is done. You can also take cuttings of the 2 or 3 non-blooming branches and reroot them individually.

Blooming Cactus

Hi Peter,

I came by the store at the end of June and showed you a few pictures of my blooming cactus I got from you last March. It was labelled a subdenudata but you thought it was an eyriesii since the flowers were pink. You asked for a few photos to be sent to you but I have been too busy and forgetful since then to send them to you, until now. So, please see the attached (I’m sending in two e-mails since I don’t know what the capacity of your e-mail account is).


Isolated flowers are still sprouting up and I think a new one is still coming. I think one sprouted what looks like a green fruit after blooming, also (it’s smooth with no needles).

Best regards,



Wow! That’s a slightly different color than the flowers we’ve been getting, but I do think it’s E. eyriesii.


Blooming Cactus All Spring Long – Wow!

photo 2

I want to share a picture of my Echinopsis Sub. I purchased (9/2013) from your store per a staff recommendation. Last year there was only one bloom. This spring it went crazy with blooms!


photo 1

Blooming Mammillaria

From reader Kris in Melbourne Beach, Florida.

Rescued from the grocery store amidst the produce and twinkies, it’s doing well!

Thanks Kris for making my blogging this morning easier.

Blooms Are Coming Soon


Reilly sends along a photo of his Echinopsis (formerly known as a Lobivia) that has 3 giant buds getting ready to open. Those are going to be pretty.

British Euphorbia

We have a very nice Euphorbia photo from Geoff in Britain. His dad is in the picture, and we understand he likes to call it a “Cowboy Cactus”. Indeed many people ask us for a cactus like those in the old westerns, and this is what they mean, even though it’s from Africa. Now you know.


Burros and Beavertails

Auntie Rachel sends along these desert photos, probably from Arizona but I don’t know for sure.

Burros in the Desert

Auntie R sends along this fabulous photo of the burros and the cactus. No word on where this is, but I would guess it’s in the desert.

If those were my burros, I would name them Blackie and Brownie, while the cows would be Peg and Bill.


Kris sends along this cactus photo from Punta Pescadero, wherever that is.


I could ID this cactus for you, but then that would be too much information, and you’d be unhappy with my humble blog.

Cactus and Tortoises, Oh So Cute

Rivenrock Gardens sells prickly pear pads to tortoise owners, and then gets back pictures, which I then borrow without permissio9n because I can’t resist tortoise pictures, especially when they’re eating yummy cactus.


Those look like sulcatas to me.

Cactus Care

Hi Peter,
We were wondering about these two cacti given to us by friends. The tall one on the left seems to want to branch (we got a cutting off a 3-4 foot tall potted specimen). The short guy we think is a gymnocalyceum, and have always been a bit puzzled by its odd coloration (kind of dayglo yellow and pink). It was potted in fine sand and really suffering when we got it 2 years ago. Not sure what either of their specific needs are (minimum tolerated temp, sun exposure, etc).

photo 2 photo 1

Thanks for your help!


The tall one is a Cereus. The short one could be a Gymnocalycium, but I wouldn’t know for sure until it blooms. The coloration seems to be an effect of the sun and probably the soil too. It can handle less than full sun, and may need to be repotted into fresh fast draining cactus soil in the spring.

In the San Francisco area I would recommend watering every 2 to 3 weeks through the summer, less in winter. They are probably hardy down to about 30F.


Cactus Flower Identification Project

hi — i’m in northwest Wisconsin. wondering if you can identify a vine-type cactus, as far as I remember I got at a garage sale. Attached is a photo. I came home on my lunch hour today to take a photo of the single flower that had bloomed — good thing I did, cuz I just looked at it and the flower is drooped and lifeless. Evidently they only last a day?

cactus flower

I’ve had it about 4-5 years I think. It was root-bound so I divided it a few months ago. Some of the spikes are 3 feet long, long and narrow. There are others that are narrow, then form into a paddle, then get another narrow spike on the end. There are also rows of brown strings that form on the spikes, point toward the light. It’s in an east window.

Hope you can find the time to answer me.

Thanx —

Debbie A.

The cactus is an Epiphyllum, or Orchid Cactus. It is possible it is one of the night-blooming varieties – the blooms only last one night – although most epiphyllums will bloom during the day for 2-3 days. The brown strings are aerial roots – it is looking for tree branches to grab onto.


Cactus Flowers, Oregon

More pictures from Matt in Portland.


Now that’s a nice Echinopsis.


We’re guessing Mammillaria for this one.

Matt sure gets a lot of blooms out of his cactus. Thanks for sharing, Matt!

Cactus ID


Thanks again for reserving my ‘Ebony’

Please find attached the 2 cacti that I cannot ID without help. Let me know if I have something worth dividing, planting or tossing.





The one with the smaller stems is Parodia leninghausii. This will have a lot of beautiful big yellow flowers. These can safely be divided and propagated in the spring.

The more sprawling one is probably an Echinopsis, but I wouldn’t be able to ID the species until it blooms. It’s probably easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Both look like they need to get out of the wood boxes and into something bigger. I would generally wait until March to repot these.



Cactus ID

They ask us to ID their cactus, and we oblige.

Love your webpage. I hope you can help me.
My question is do you know what species this Opuntia is? It is in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

The owner gave me a cutting and I would like to find out more about it.
Thank you,
Mike Muench


I believe that is an Opuntia monacantha, also known as the Droopy Prickly Pear.


Cactus ID and Questions

Greetings Cactus Jungle,

I will soon be purchasing some of your Ultra Soil Blend for Cactus and
Succulent and was hoping you could tell me what kind of cactus is in
the photos below (I found it languishing outside an antique shop and
brought it home to provide it with a little better care). It’s
currently about 23″ high and sits in a 7″ square pot.


In addition, could you answer a couple of other questions regarding
the cactus:

1. Again, what kind of cactus is it?

2. Could you recommend the optimal size pot for its size?

3. How much direct sunlight would you recommend for it during the hot
days of summer here in Richmond, VA?

Many thanks for any advice you could offer. I appreciate it (and wish
your garden center were here in my neck of the woods).



Your cactus is a Cereus Monstrose, a genetic mutation off a more standard Cereus species. For pot size we recommend allowing enough space below the soil line for root mass that will match the amount of plant mass above. A 2ft. cactus would usually want to be in a standard 12″ pot, but it depends on height as well as width.

I can’t give you exact care for your location since I’m not familiar with your climate. But if you are hot you may want to provide it some afternoon shade.

Cactus in a Glass, UK Edition

Please can you you help with the following

I recently purchased a cactus (see picture Below) I was given to names either mammillarias – polythele and the succulent plant is a sedum or Crassula and Echinocactus

I was also told two different methods of feeding which are as follows:

1. As far as watering goes, you should give it a small amount, about half a mug every 10-14 days in summer and reducing down to a 1/4 mug every 20-28 days over winter.

from summer hill garden centre
2 Water once a fortnight March to October – suggest a cupful ( not a mug!!!)
October to March ignore it
Feed every month from March to October ( amount should be on whichever feed you get)
October to March do not feed

from Craig House Cacti

Please can you give me the correct name and how often I water it and feed it and
where I buy the feed

I am disabled and never looked after one.

Thank you, Mark

The cactus is a Mammillaria and the succulent is a Sedum. From the name of the nursery, I take it you are in Essex in England.

It’s going to be hard for me to give you exact instructions since I can’t tell what they are planted in. Terrariums are always a bit tricky, but it looks like maybe they are in small pots inside the glass surrounded by gravel. Assuming this is true, you want to make sure when you water that you only water right around the plant itself so that the water gets into the soil.

It won’t take a lot of water, maybe only a tablespoon per plant, but because it is so little water, you will need to water every week. You can water the cactus every 2 weeks in the winter, but the Sedum will want regular water year round. Make sure you don’t overwater – you don’t want any water sitting in the bottom of the glass.

As for feeding – Very little! since it’s in such a small terrarium. I would use a low strength liquid fertilizer like Liquid Seaweed (We use Grow More brand) and use only a tiny amount, no more than twice a year in spring and summer.
Good Luck,

Cactus in Bloom

Mr. Subjunctive from Plants are the Strangest People sends along a funny.

From Iowa.

This is growing on E Washington St. in Washington, IA; the photo was taken 26 March 2012. I’ve seen it on previous trips as well, and thought of y’all, but things hadn’t worked out to take a picture of it, and we don’t actually go to Washington that often.

I think the bloom is new since the last time I saw it. Both the color (black?!) and form (more like an aroid flower than a cactus flower, really) are noteworthy. I presume, based on the bloom, that this is a Discocactus of some sort? It’s a slow grower, but I suppose that’s to be expected for any Iowa cacti.

-Mr. Subjunctive

First you need to click the picture above to get a closer look at the details. And then, here’s a Discocactus in bloom, so we can judge the similarities and determine the species.

From the Catalog of Botanical Illustrations, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution

Plate Number: 1806
Publication: The Cactaceae Vol. 3 Pl 24, Fig 4
Client: Britton, N.L. and Rose, J.N. – Size: 11×14

Discocactus bahiensis (Cactaceae) – Type; Collection: Rose, J.N. 19783, Brazil, Bahia; flowering plant.
Artist: Eaton, Mary Emily – Date unknown – watercolor

No, definitely not a Discocactus.


Cactus in Paris

Hello Peter,
I was wondering if you could help me take care of my plants and maybe give me some advice! So as you can see I love plants, especially cacti and perennial plants. In every picture you can see that the soil is wet because I just watered them all today. Can you tell me how often each one needs to be watered?

I would also like to know whether they should be outdoors or not? I have a garden where I could put them but I would rather have them with me in my room. I recently put 6 and 7 outside but I am worried about that ‘burnt look’ they have going on now… Maybe the transition was a little too abrupt since they used to be inside. I never changed the soils, could you tell me if I should and how to?

Can you also tell me if they look healthy or if one of them needs special care? For the ones that stay in my room, I try to let as much sunshine in as I can, but I think maybe they would like to be outside. Also some parts of 7 died and I don’t know what to do with the remaining parts, does it mean that the whole cactus is going to die too?

I don’t know that much about cacti but I love them and would hate for them to die, so please help me! I’ve had the euphorbia 5 for a few years, I keep it inside the house and it looks really happy to me, it has grown a lot! Most of the others are new and I can’t tell if they have grown or not.

I live in Paris and it is rather hot and sunny during the summer and spring, but it can get really cold in the winter.

Also, if you know their names I would love to learn! THANK YOU so much, I LOVE your blog, I really hope you get a chance to reply and maybe help me.









When you bring plants outside they need to be “hardened off” to the sun, which means bringing them slowly out into sunshine over the course of a week or longer, or they will get a sunburn.

All plants can be grown outside, it just depends on your local climate. Here in Berkeley or San Francisco we can grow those outside, but I am not sure in Paris. There is a cactus shop there that might know better for your particular locale.

The plants that I know are:

1. Euphorbia ferox

2. Don’t know

3. Opuntia microdasys

4. Ferocactus, too young to know the species

5. Euphorbia – could be trigona

6 and 7. Mammillaria

Generally you can water them every 2 to 3 weeks, but they look like they’re not getting a lot of sun, so maybe every 3 weeks is best.


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