Giant Cactus Tree Reader Photos

Hi, I’m from Mexico and I wanted to share with you two interesting photos of Pachycereus Weberi from Oaxaca: (1) at the side of the road and (2) from a plantation of pitaya (that is, a fruit of a kind of cactus). This guys are all over around in that land. The specimens in the photo (1) are about 16.4 feet or 5 meters high, and they are considered medium tall. The other specimen (2) is about one third taller of the others, that should be about almost 7 meters tall (22.97 feet), as you can see is as tall than the tree at its side and is considered a big and old “pachy”. I hope you like them.
Alejandro V.

Photo 1
Photo 2:

Thanks, Alex! Those are some impressive cacti.

Reader Photos

Hey Peter,

In that odd way of synchronicity that the world sometimes has, I picked this plant up at the grocery just a few hours before I came and read your post on Rhipsalis pilocarpa. Is this the same plant? I suspect it is related, if not actually a R. pilocarpa.

I neglected to put something in the photo for scale, but that is a three inch pot it’s in.

I am in Phoenix, and if this is a cloud forest dweller, I am going to have to do something special to meet it’s needs. Any suggestions?

Thanks for all your great posts and information,

The plant is probably Rhipsalis cassutha which is a much more common plant. It’s also a jungle cactus, and would need to be in shade, or indoors, in Phoenix. They also make good terrarium plants, or moist vivariums for forest lizards.

Water every week, and more often in your summer heat.

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.

Abnormally Shaped Rebutia


I bought a Rebutia krainziana cactus from a plant show in San Francisco last spring. At the time I bought it, the cactus looked as it should; short, round, plump, spiral pattern of spines, and was blooming. I decided to keep this cactus on my work cubicle, which is next to a window. However, over the summer the cactus grew to be an irregular shape…it’s now very tall (10cm), and cone shaped. The top of the plant is very narrow, and it slowly starts to round/plump out towards the lower half of the plant. The spines are also no longer arranged in a spiral shape and are not fully formed (there are very few actual spines in the white spots on the upper half of the plant). Other than the abnormal shape of the cactus, it looks perfectly healthy. I’m just wondering what’s going on with the plant, and if there is anything I can do to get it back to its original round, plump shape. Could lighting be an issue?


It sounds like it is not getting enough light. Can you send a photo or
bring it by the nursery? Anyway, try getting it a minimum of 4 hours
direct sun, or adding a full spectrum light bulb within 12″ of the


Hi Peter,

Per your request, attached is a picture of my Rebutia. Would it be okay to keep my cactus outdoors (I live near ocean beach in San Francisco), or is San Fran weather too cold for it?


That is an extreme case of not enough light. Quite the interesting shape!
It can survive just fine outside in SF, but it would do better in a terra cotta pot with a fast draining cactus soil, and no saucer – you never want it sitting in water.

When you bring it out into the sun, it will need to be “hardened off” which means giving it progressively more light over a couple weeks, and not putting it straight into full sun.


Succulent Wall Panels

We custom planted these succulent wall panels for a customer who gave them to his wife as a birthday present, covering a wall right outside the window. Nice!

He sent us this photo. Thanks, Doug.

OMG That is a Very Long Bloom Stalk

Hi Peter,
I got this from you last year and after accidentally breaking off the flower stalk it grew another one.  This one clocks out at 46″ long and sideways…this plant has both amazed and disturbed my friends with it’s “babies from the inside” feature, to the “tentacle of satan”’s a pic. Thanks.

San Jose Succulent Garden

Isaac sends along these before and after photos of his garden. It’s amazing what succulents can do with just a few years growth in the Bay Area, even if it is the South Bay.

Can you tell which one is the after picture? The subtle hints include the much bigger plants everywhere. Especially the Aloes.

I won’t botheridentifying plants for you since there are so many, but I do see a lot of Aeoniums and Aloes in there that have done really well. I think the Senecios didn’t do as well, which is odd since they can easily take over a garden if given the chance.


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.

More From Karen and Mike

Everything seemed to have weathered the freeze up here. I did cover them with a sheet – so that helped. Now, my mother arrived for dinner tonight with this cactus she picked up at the grocery store(!) I has yellow flowers on the top and lots and lots of little sprouts all over the larger trunks. Now, the flowers are glued on paper – which elicits a big OMG!! Is this thing even real at all? What do you make of it. J Hehe!!

Thanks, Karen

You have the Fairy Castle Cactus, Cereus hildmannianus monstrose, with glued on paper flowers. Grocery stores often glue on paper flowers. I don’t know why.

(Here’s the earlier email.)

Late Blooming Cactus

Karen and Mike live in the foothills where it’s been below freezing this week. It’s a good thing they brought small plants inside and used a frost blanket over the outdoor ones, because it was cold enough here in Berkeley where it is 37F right now!

Here we see they have a late blooming Astrophytum asterias.



I figure you all know these plants by now, and have read my answers to similar questions mamamamannnnny times before, so maybe you could handle this one for me? Best answer, that is also complete and accurate, will win one of our discontinued products. You never know what it will be, but it must be good!

Maybe a water wand, maybe a bird feeder. Hmmm…

So here’s the question and the pictures that go with it.

Dear Sirs,

Recently I got a cactus as a present but don’t know what kind it is.

Could you please help me to detect what kind a cactus it is and to see and tell me weather  is it sick (you can see that one leaf Is kind a sick) and what should I do.

Thanks a lot in advance,


Leave your answer for Petar in the comments between now and Tuesday afternoon, and I’ll pick a winner then. Maybe I’ll have arranged for guest judges too! Well, probably not.



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,


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

Mixed Succulent Pots

We put together some mixed succulent pot centerpieces for Zeny for her husband’s surprise 60th birthday party, which I hear really was a surprise, and a big success.

Here’s another mixed pot Zeny put together from our plants.

Nice! They tell me the Senecio in back is already outgrowing the pot and may need to be cut back.

Giant Invading Cactus Eats Home

Hi! I have an enormous cactus that is eating my house. I need to remove it but didn’t want to just throw it away, it’s quite impressive but unfortunately it’s ruining the foundation. Do you know anyone that would want this cactus? I attached a picture.

Thank you! Krista

Yowza, that’s a big Cereus!

I don’t know anyone in Southern Cal off hand, but I’ll post it on the blog for you. Also, we find Craigslist works well.


If anyone is interested, email me and I’ll forward it along to Krista in the 310. Just a warning, though, if you do go to cut it down, make sure you don’t let the giant branches fall on the roof, or yourself either. Just sayin’.

Cleistocactus Trough

JoTo sends along a photo from probably 4 years ago of a trough we had out on the floor filled with Cleistocactus strausii, and wants to know if we still have the trough with the cactus in it.

Oh, how things have changed around here since then. We no longer have our growing troughs out on display, filling up retail floor space. Now we have plants for sale everywhere. Not an inch to spare, though if there is one, I’ll find it and use it.

As it turns out, those plants have just been finally put out on the floor in 18″ clay pots 2 weeks ago, and they’re about 6ft. tall.

This is one of them:

Night Blooming Cereus

Judy W. sends along these photos of a cactus she got from us, that was about to bloom – and then did!

Almost open

Later that night

By dawn, it’s fully open! Cereus spegazinni

Dragon Flower

Hi Peter,

Back at the beginning of May you identified my Huernia macrocarpa. Yesterday morning I looked and this is what I saw:

Found 3 blossoms and by last night there was a 4th. It is such a dark red!

Thanks again for your help last month.



We’re delivering some big spiny cactus this afternoon to some designers that are making some spectacular concrete planters on steel bases, The Ranch Design Group.

Umbrella Cactus

You never know what kind of common names you’re going to get from a cactus.

(Here’s) a picture of a cactus I have that blooms once every May.  Four tall white flowers that look like umbrellas. I would like to know what kind of cactus it is. Thanks.


That’s an Echinopsis alright, formerly known as a Lobivia. As for the particular species, it’s hard to tell from the photo, but it might be Echinopsis subdenudata from Bolivia.

Friday Afternoon Cactus ID!

Hello… I’m a regular reader, and very occasional commenter on your blog… you may remember me from a prickly pear cactus jelly post you linked to… [Ed: Yes we do remember!] regardless…

I bought this plant in July of 2008. When I bought it, it was labeled Mammillaria species… and that’s it. Nothing else…

I’ve included 4 pics… 2 of the plant when I first bought it, which I posted on the blog in hopes that some kind, kind person out there knew or could blindly guess the species. They couldn’t…

there’s also one with blooms from last year, and a current pic showing fruit…

If you could help me ID the thing, I’d really really be grateful… thanks for your trouble…

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants

I typed up a response and saved it in drafts, and now its missing, so I don’t know if you’ve already received an answer from me, but you have a lovely Mammillaria perbella. The fruit in one of the photos is edible, though tiny, and only if you haven’t used chemical insecticides. If grown outdoors, it would be way more spiny, but yours is looking great.

Also, see here on Claude’s blog another picture of the Mammillaria in question. And don’t miss out on the beer can garden post. Really, you don’t want to miss it.

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!

Orchid Cactus

From Lillian we get 2 pictures of gorgeous Epiphyllums in bloom.

Hello Peter,
These are 2 Orchid Cactus I bought from your place a few years ago. They bloom gigantic  flowers every year.



DSC00529 DSC00528

Saratoga Cactus

Last year we planted a cactus garden in Saratoga, above San Jose. The owners have sent along 1-year later photos.

photo 2

And they’re in bloom!

photo 4

More bloom photos after the break… Read More…

More Cactus Flowers

More reader photos of Echinocereus grandifloras in bloom. This one is from Muk.


Dragon Flower


I really enjoy your blog. Really getting into succulents now. Went to a garage sale a few weeks ago and bought this cactus . Could it be a rat tail?? Or an Aporophyllum??


Would appreciate any help you can give me.


It turns out your plant isn’t a cactus at all, but a stapeliad (in the asclepiad family) and the species is Huernia macrocarpa, also known as the dragon flower. Check out the cute as a button carrion flower here.



Customer Photos

Janet sends along photos of her succulent planters that Keith helped her with.

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