Hanging Basket

Another photo from Todd, this time of a hanging basket cactus – a christmas cactus most likely.

The photo was taken in sunnier days.

Happy Cactus

I bought this as a little plant from you guys two years ago an it’s grown an insane amount! What is this? I’m so curious about it.

photo-33 photo-34


Wow! That’s a very happy Opuntia (Austrocylindropuntia) subulata monstrose. Really a beautiful specimen. It probably has another year before it needs to be pruned back in that pot.

Happy Customers

Jeana sends along pictures. We like pictures!

Hi, I was encouraged to send photos of plants I’ve purchased from your fabulous store. Here they are. Tell me what you think!


Kalanchoe Fantastic

That’s the well-liked Kalanchoe “Fantastic” in one of our chocolate terra cotta pots. Clearly it has a musical theme.

Ceropegia woodii string of hearts

Ceropegia woodii, String of Hearts, in one of our brand-new Chive wall bricks. We squeezed it in there for her. And the plant she chose hangs down way further than even as shown in this picture.

Euphorbia hermentiana

Euphorbia hermentiana is the classic column Euphorbia, and the southwest style fits nicely.

Happy New Year

Reader Jaromír Dohnalík has sent along this New Years greeting.


Haworthia Identification and Sharing


Cactus Jungle is quite a finding! I got many ideas from your displays. Anyway, The picture of this Haworthia shows how big compared to my hand.

The haworthias in the other arrangement are tiny next to the unidentified one.

Also, I wanted to share the other arrangement I made after a visit to a store in LA “the juicy leaf”.

It may inspire you to create more things in your store.

Thanks for your help.


It looks like you have a Haworthia retusa, although there are other similar Haworthias.

Nice to see a new succulent store down in Venice. I used to live there and it sure has changed a lot since then.


Haworthia Question

Hi Peter,

Are you able to offer advice on Haworthias? I have a Haworthia chocolate pictured below that is losing leaves one by one. Not sure if it is going to stop or not, and if this is normal for a healthy C. chocolate. The dying leaves will turn a bright red color while losing their firmness, then became a pale red, and even more soft before drying up completely. Any thoughts?

photo 1

Attached here is a picture of the specimen with leaves showing this activity.

I’ve searched the internet for information, but haven’t been able to find much about it.

Thank you for all of your help and time here.



Given the natural brown coloration it’s difficult to tell for sure, but I think that it is just losing bottom leaves, which is normal for succulents. Maybe it’s been a bit more water than it wants? Hard to say from the photo. In moderate direct sunlight you should water every 1 1/2 weeks through the summer and in lower light less than that.


Haworthias in Trouble?

Hi, love your blog! I’ve had these haworthia plants for about 1-2 years, while they do ok (haven’t managed to kill them yet), but they just don’t look as healthy and lush as the ones I see in nurseries and pictures I see online. They get morning sun until about 10-11, then they’re in shade for the rest of the day. They’re a little dry looking, I’m hesitant to water them too much fearing of root rot. I water about once every 2 weeks. Any idea how I can make them “better looking”?

Thanks in advance!

Your Haworthias look fine. In fact, they look great. I would say you are doing a stellar job with them. If you are at all concerned that they are a little less lush than some others online you’ve seen, in general that’s because other people do grow them with more water, but they are very rot prone when grown that way, less healthy, and less likely to survive long term. If you want, you can reduce the amount of light they get so that instead of 3-4 hours of morning sun they only get 2 hours, and then they will be less red, more green, and a little more lush. But considering that your plants look very healthy and natural, I’m not sure I would change anything.

Holiday Cactus

From seed vendor Jaromír Dohnalík in the Czech Republic comes a blooming cactus photo for the holidays.


A cactus formerly known as Lobivia, and now more correctly called Echinopsis. I haven’t bothered to look up the species – any suggestions?

Hoodia in Bloom


We forget the name of this little gem that just flowered this week!

Sent from iPaula



There should be a label on the pot inside the clay pot. But it is Hoodia gordonii. And that’s a very big flower!


How to ID a Plant in 12 Easy Steps

Bonnie sent Keith a bunch of photos to ID. Can you help with this one?

Hi Keith,

Last plant photo. What is the name of this plant?

Appreciate your assistance.


This last one is a Gasteria. I’m not sure the species. I’ll post it to the blog tomorrow and see if we can get a response.

How to Plant a Cactus

I have a couple of cactus that are in need of serious re-planting. And I want to make sure it gets done right.


I have included some pics. Looking for any advice on the best way to go about this.




Those are some impressive looking cactus! I assume you are not going to try to replant the whole clusters, but rather are asking about taking cuttings from the fallen branches. Generally we recommend take tip cuttings and about 2-3ft. in length. Use a serrated blade, like a bread knife. Take a clean cut at a slight angle. Spray the cut end with household Hydrogen Peroxide and then set it aside in a shady location for a week or two so that the cut end callouses over.

When you are ready to plant, if it’s in a pot use fast draining cactus soil. Plant it 4 to 6 inches deep into the soil and stake it up. Don’t water for another week or two. Then start regular watering (every 2-3 weeks in the Bay Area, more or less depending on where you live.)


Hummingbird Flowers

Matt in Portland, sends along these great photos from a friend of his in Manhattan Beach,

Up first we have a cute little hummingbird hovering around the Aloe arborescens blooms. Click to embiggen.

And now we have a closeup of the feeding little bugger. Notice how he rests on the stem.

Thanks, Matt!

ID a Plant

I was wondering if anyone may know what type of Echeveria this is, see attachment. It was about 6 inches across and standing about 4 inches up. Deep, dark red/brownish color and leaves were thick.



That would be Echeveria “Fireball”


ID Fest

Dustin, who you should be following at CactGuy, sends along some plants to help with ID’ing.

Hi Peter,

I was hoping you could help me ID this random assortment of succulents that I have received from various people – I really am hopeless on the non-Cactaceae front!




With help from Rikki and Brian we came up with these:


The large purple plant is Kalanchoe ‘Desert Surprise’, and those are surprising colors for a desert, so I guess the name is apprpriate. To the right is an Echeveria “Topsy Turvy” and then Pleiospilos nelii. Around the back under the large leaves is Crassula ovata, and the small red-leafed plant is another Kalanchoe, probably Kalanchoe blossfeldiana.


Idaho Cactus

Rachel from Idaho sends along prickly-pears-in-bloom photos from the Twin Falls area of Idaho.

In case you were wondering, Rachel is Hap’s Auntie and these are at his Mom’s, so we planted these in previous years and you can see how well they’re doing!

I could name the species for you if I was willing to. But I’m not. So no species names for you!

Here’s the big ditch that’s nearby, also known as the Snake River Canyon.

Along with a statue of some twins.

I took these 2 pictures last fall when we were visiting. Idaho!

Idaho Cactus


From my mother-in-law in Idaho comes a picture of some beautiful cactus in bloom; and a cousin made a cactus sculpture out of horseshoes.



hi cactus expert,

can you tell me if this plant belong to cactus family?
(please see attached image)
and what’s the name of this cute plant?
do you have it?



The plant is a Kalanchoe (or recently reclassified as a Bryophyllum, which is not yet really used by horticulture, just by botanist…). It is one of the “Mother of Thousands” which are usually Kalanchoe (Bryophyllum) diagremontianum or a close relative, the plant in the photo is very green so it may be on of the more tropical clones or hybrids. We do have cute small plants in stock, but they are not as large-leafed as the ones in the photo. Please note a better moniker for these plants is “Mother’s of Millions” and that the leaf margin plantlets can become “weedy” in frost free gardens. But their look and interesting reproduction method makes them a fun plant to have in pot.

Take care,


Identify the Cactus

Hello Cactus Jungle!

I’m a blog reader from Manila, Philippines, and also a newbie urban gardener and cactus lover! I am just fascinated by these spiky little things, and it’s always fun to look at all the shapes, colors and textures that they come in. While I was walking around our neighborhood garden center, I chanced upon this cactus that’s a perfect half-circle shape!

Could you tell me what it is and is it at all rare? Thank you!


A nice find at your local garden center! What you have there is a Mammillaria geminispina crest. It’s not the most common of the Mammillaria crests. It is a very nice specimen, but I wouldn’t consider it too rare.

Identifying Aeoniums

Sometimes we can identify Aeoniums, other times we prefer to just make up names. What do you think?


It was really nice meeting you this week. You have a fantastic place and some really fine specimans of cactus, especially Aeoniums. The pictures attached may be Aeoniums but I have not been able to identify them. Can you tell me if they are Aeoniums? If not, any ideas? By the way, within this planter are two different types of the same plant. The really purple ones, and the less purple with more green.

I really appreciate it. I have one other species of Aeonium I’m going to send pictures of. I cannot identify it either.

Have a great weekend. I’m sure we’ll see you again.


The unknown one will have to remain unknown for now. I’ll blog it to see if anyone else can come up with a cultivar name. Otherwise, I recommend Aeonium “Wizard”.

The other lower ones, green with pink edging, are Aeonium subplanum.

Is There a Problem Here?

We often get questions about plants that are doing fine. People in our neck of the woods often buy the plants from us looking perfect and expect that it will stay that way forever. Here’s a case of a plant that is fine.

I’m attaching a picture of my pregnant onion that I bought from you in December. The ends of the leaves just started turning brown and it’s working its way up the leaf. It is still giving birth and is growing a very long bloom stock. What can I do to stop it from turning brown? I’ve been keeping it outside in full sun and just letting the rain water it.


Now, just because the plant is fine, doesn’t mean the choice of posing your Ornithogalum caudatum on an ottoman in front of a black leather recliner is fine. Just sayin’. My actual response:

The plant looks basically fine. It’s probably just not enough water, since we’ve had very little rain recently. You can trim the leaves back to the green without harming the plant. Also, it’s putting energy into the bloom stalk right now, and not into new leaves, so you won’t see much new leaf growth for a couple months.

It's Almost a Flower!

It’s still a bud, but look at those spectacular colors starting to come through. (Or as we like to say in the horticultural trade; Nice sepals)

Grant and Paula sent us this bud shot from this Epiphyllum plant.

Nice plant! Notice how deeply green the branches are. That’s because it’s protected behind a screen from too much sun. Of course, I have no idea if there is a roof over it or not, so I could be totally off base, but I like it anyway, so there.


Pam sends along this photo of an a agave at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy.


It lokos kind of ratty, actually. Maybe they should fertilize it on occasion.

Joshua Tree

Auntie R is still 4-wheeling it through the desert and sent along this photo.


We think she should clean her lens, but it is a spectacular Yucca. We’ve tried to grow them in Berkeley, and people keep asking for them at the nursery, but no such luck.

Jungle Cactus in Red


Photo: Lepismium cruciforme in a potted design by R.C. Cohen of Newport Beach. Credit: Debra Lee Baldwin

Barfalicious sent us a link to this photo on the LATimes blogs, and it’s from an article by Debra Lee Baldwin, our favorite succulent container gardening author!

Karen's Cacti

We love reader photos, whether you got the plants from us or not.

Hello Cactus Jungle,

I thought you might like to see the flowers my new cacti just produced. The Astrophytum asterias is living in my kitchen. I bought it 3 weeks ago and this is what happened. The Echinopsis subdenudata (looked like a brown biscuit) had its flower soon after it came home and now is living outside with all my other cacti and succulents.

Thanks, Karen

Karen's Sansevieria is Blooming

We’ve seen this often, but this is Karen’s first Sansevieria to bloom. I probably should warn her that there will be a lot of sticky nectar as soon as the flowers on that spike open up. It can get everywhere!

New KIA and Sanseveria 010


Kew Begonias

I was thinking that today I would blog about the relationship between chemical fertilizers with a focus on potassiums, mycchorizal fungi and flatworms. But then this email came in with such pretty pictures from Kew Gardens that I decided not to delve into the soil, metaphorically speaking, today. Ah well, the opportunity is lost for good now.

Anyway, enjoy the view from Kew.

Hi, Hap

I took this pic at Kew Gardens in the Mediterranean section. Any idea which type of begonia (if it is really a begonia) this is? It’s stunning, and I think the fuchsioides comes somewhat close to this one.

Thanks for any help with this.


It looks like it is either one of the new ‘Dragon Wing’ or ‘Phoenix’ Begonias that have been introduced over the last couple of years. I am not which clone it is, but it is a very nice one!


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