San Francisco Bay Area Cactus and Succulents
Wow it’s been over a year since last time I did one of these monthly emails with my normal black-background photo shoots. In the last year I’ve tried to figure out how to fit these emails into the new normal, and it’s been a lot. Let’s recount together, if I may ask you to indulge me: Pandemic, police shootings, #BLM protests, wildfires, election, insurrection, vaccinations, more police shootings. Defund the Police. Vaccinate the World.
I think that brings us up to date, and into the future.
A year ago I set up our online shop as quickly as I could to get local deliveries out to the Bay Area. Our online shop is still going strong, and there’s a big redesign coming in the next week or so. Exciting!
I know a lot of us are now vaccinated and we are ready to get back to normal. It’s hard, I personally am having to take time to work out what normal even means anymore. At the store we are increasing capacity, trying to get back open on Tuesdays, hiring new people and increasing the service we provide. But we are still following the State guidelines, so please help us out as we work out what normal will look like again while keeping everyone safe.
Now onto the plant portraits, the black-background shots taken in full direct blasting hot California sun. Did I mention that the sun is hotter in California?
SOCIALLY DISTANCED Open Wed-Sun 10-5
We do still require masks in our stores and social distancing. We will maintain these policies for customers and staff as long as the State maintains the mandates. We are working to get back to normal and to be open on Tuesdays as well – soon! Getting back to normal is hard, please bear with us.
Our online store is here. We are delivering plants, gifts, soils, pots, fertilizers, pesticides, more plants, and other plants too.
Deliveries are usually in 1-3 days but may take up to 1 week, Monday thru Friday. We will call to let you know when we will be by before we come.
Current Hours: Open Wed-Sun 10-5
Current Hours: Open Wed-Sun 10-5
Agave “Black Widow” is a stunning striped compact… No wait, why is this schidigera cultivar even part of the Marvel CU? I’m most surprised that Disney hasn’t sent me a cease and desist letter the moment this got uploaded – they’re brutal with IP.
Crassula “Moonglow” is tight. Is that a word the kids are saying anymore? Stacked leaf plants are tight with me. I think I’m using it wrong. Not only are they no longer saying it, I’m using it wrong! Someone get me the Urban Dictionary, stat!
Echeveria “Beauty” is like Greenland, fraudulently named to attract customers/colonizers. This ain’t no beauty in my book. It’s Stunning. Shocking. Scintillating. But beauty is the wrong word is what I’m saying. I mean sure whatever. I recommend listening to the Replacements while reading the rest of this email. I’m listening to their Let it Be right now as we speak. Now that’s a beauty, if rough around the edges.
Echeveria “Brown Rose” is more purple than brown, but the name is fine, too many purple-named echeverias. This one is new for us, never seen it before. I like the jewel tones, even if it is brown. Or purple.
Echeveria lilacina is much more common looking in person than this photo represents. Don’t expect this amount of personality in your plant should you bring one home.
Echeveria “Scarlet” is a fun shade of red, almost a scarlet color, but more orangy. Great hues throughout though.
Echeveria shaviana is a classic Mexican ruffly-leafed Hens and Chicks that looks perfect in a rock garden or other type of garden that also has rocks in it and probably some other succulents too because that’s probably the type of garden you have. I do think I know my readers well, we’ve been together in this for 15 years. Did I describe your garden perfectly there? Some rocks and some other succulents? Is that it? Did I succeed, do I know my readers or what???
Jovibarba “Bulgaria” is another tight plant, little rolly balls of rolling rosettes. Colorful and edgy. This one truly is best in a rock garden. I prefer a granite themed rock garden, with just a touch of basalt for effect.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes these lists of plants are alphabetical, and sometimes not? It depends on which column in the file explorer I click to sort, Name or Date-modified. Today it was Name! Lewisia cotyledon “Rainbow” comes after Jovibarba! If I re-sort by Date-modified, it would have come after the Black Widow Agave. What a fun look behind the scenes at the Cactus Jungle Monthly Email Factory!
Ornithogalum dubium, the Star of Bethlehem Flower, is a bulb, and sits uneasily between the perennials and the succulents. Take it home and decide for yourself, succulent or perennial… succulent or perennial… Bulb!
Pachyveria “Draco”, I think I’ve outdone myself with this portrait. You really feel like you can reach out and join this cheeky little specimen on the wood stool I use to photograph these. It’s a friendly plant and I’ve captured its charm, its outgoing personality. Come, sit with us.
Sempervivum “Sunset”. We once had a customer ask for about 1000 of this one, not a mix, just one plant. We made them all! Grew them? We were the only ones in California to have them back then. Now they’re a bit more common, but we still grow them. Make them?
Stapelia hirsuta will have the stinkiest carrion flowers, but the color on these stems is worth it! The “hirsuta” part of the name refers to the hairy nature of these stinky flowers. Quite the sight, as well as stench!
Alocasia “Maharani” is one of the dwarf Jewel Alocasias, a dwarf Elephant Ear houseplant? Yes, please, now and forever. We only have a few, please be aware that rare houseplants are a thing right now and if you wait you lose. or was it if you wait, you’ll be late? Snooze, lose? Get up early, eat worms? Oh yeah, it was the snooze/lose one.
Bursera fagaroides will grow a very fat caudiciform trunk, but even these young ones (3 years old!) have the classic peeling bark. I would wait for the trunk to get fatter before making a small cut to extract just a touch of the fragrant Mexican Frankincense sap hiding inside.
Euphorbia bubalina is one of our most popular of the rare spurges from Africa. Jeremiah grows them at his greenhouse in Richmond for us. Thanks Jeremiah!
Euphorbia obesa never last long around here, collect them all! (People do collect them for their patterning.) But beware, they are dioecious! But first, let me just admire this beautiful specimen, perfectly round, perfectly striped. It has dimples! Cast your gaze over to the shaded area where the little spines are glowing! The thirst is real.
Little Turtles! Also known as the String of Turtles. Peperomia prostrata clings to the branches in the jungles where it climbs. Flattened against the bark, these tiny leaves capture all the sunshine the jungle canopy allows to reach down to where the jaguars play and the capybara swim free.
Cylindropuntia fulgida cv monstrose is stunning with the glow off those abundant spines in that hot California sun. These will often start forming crests too, so not just cv monstrose, but cv cristata too. But not yet, not this one, not right now. Be patient. But the glowing spines make me impatient!
Matucana polzii are flattened globose green stems surrounded by dozens of spherical baby stems, ready to pop off and roll out of your pot onto the sidewalk as you take this home. They’re trying to escape! Catch them all!
Opuntia “Goldie Rita” is a santa-rita cultivar with thick gold flowers. But classic purple pads after a cold winter.
Opuntia “Grand Mesa Peach” comes from the Mesas of Arizona, but these flowers are something else. Finding new flower colors in a cactus is always a treat, and to grow them true over time is a trick. Well, not a trick so much as not letting them go to seed and instead cultivating from cuttings. Cloning them all! All are clones!
I’ve learned over the years that the very hot California sun will wash out the delicate colors in my photos of the cactus flowers, so I’ve learned how to compensate! However Opuntia “Pink Frost” flowers are very photogenic, making my job much easier. Also harder, since they sell so fast and I have trouble keeping up with the demand. Stock levels are dropping as we speak!
Tephrocactus papyracathus, or the paper-spined cactus, is another one that has very loose joints so that the stems pop off and roll to propagate. It makes it easy for us to propagate, hard to maintain its size though, those pesky round stems just pop and roll.
Houseplants are flying out of the nursery so we have started growing our own. That’s right – we now grow cactus. And succulents. And carnivorous plants. And now houseplants! We’re just trying to keep up with demand, and you are all very demanding, so here we sell a few of our first crop of houseplants, grown right here, right now, for you!
Calathea lancifolia is the Rattlesnake Plant from Brazil, and it comes with a deep desire for a little more humidity than you give your succulent collection. Still wants fast draining soil, moderate water but not sitting in water. But now you can add a gentle misting every few days too! You are getting very up close and personal with your plants now, I can tell.
Calathea orbifolia is a big round-leafed Prayer Plant, also from Brazil! Generally this has been a lot harder to find than the Rattlesnake Plant so we are growing it. Now we have it! A whole crop of them growing big and strong and round. And very fancy too. We like to propagate big round leafed fancy plants growing in our greenhouses for you.
Peperomia verschaffeltii is the Mini Watermelon Plant and that silver and green variegation sure says watermelon to me. Juicy, thick, wet dripping watermelons on the Fourth of July. Burgers grilling, glasses of lemonade, I remember it all, the buns toasting, chocolate and marshamallow over the open flame on a graham cracker, ahhh the memories of youth… Wait, no that never happened to me, was that a movie I saw? nevermind.
PERENNIALS PALMS AND SHRUBS
Gaillardia “Spintop Yellow Touch” is an American daisy so they’re hardy, low water, easy to grow, perennial, and just that touch of yellow spinning around all that red makes it perfect for mother’s day.
On the other hand, Gazania “Sun Gold” is an African daisy with small yellow mini-sunflower flowers just floating off the tops of those herbaceous leaves.
Finally we have bulbs, the Ixia “Rainbow Mix” with mixed colors in full bloom, sharp flowers on tall wands, known as Wandflowers. I think, that may be something else. But sure, Wandflowers!
We’ve been selling so many Protea Family plants this year, I am doing everything I can to keep up with the demand. More Proteas coming in June, we believe. More Leucadendrons monthly. Leucospermums have been harder to get. Banksias are my favorite, but are less popular so you have many to choose from right now. Oh, yeah, this new one is Leucadendron “Inca Gold”. Nice!
Leucadendron “Red Gem” is an old standby, coming through the nursery often over the years. Nice red color to the leaves, nice stems, and great cone flowers. Vertical shrubs for everyone!
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana is the King Palm of royal gardens. Get one for yourself! We have them small right now, but give it time, these are hardy and will grow to 40ft with a spreading crown 12ft wide. Kingly!
Hap and Jeremiah have been working overtime to make sure we have enough pottery for all you pottery obsessed people, I mean really. We can’t keep it in stock! You are voracious! Anyway, here, enjoy more pottery, it’s in stock!
ORGANIC VEGGIE STARTS