Bed & Plant Update Part 4: Cactus & Succulents Part 1

Hello again! I hope this post is finding you all well. I decided to make the forth plant and bed update about the cactus and succulents. I really like cactus and succulents and over the years have had success and failure. I had many more, but I gave up most of my plants in 2014 and had to start over again. I buy most of my cactus and succulents from the local greenhouses, Wal-Mart, and Lowe’s. The bad thing about starting over is that I haven’t found many of the plants I really enjoyed before. Some plants I gave up had sentimental value that can never be replaced. Well, life is full of making changes and sometimes we make a wrong decision. I hope I am much wiser now than before. I don’t mind making changes, or even giving away all my plants, as long as the change is for the better. I can always find more plants and even make their conditions better next time.

This post will probably be pretty long and I am going to try and update the pages for these plants as I go along. That will be OK unless I run into some name changes and get frustrated. 🙂 That has happened a lot lately. Then I get frustrated, write an email to the content editor of Kew, write a lengthy reply that I don’t send, and then get writer’s block for a few days. Well, be happy because I just deleted a long paragraph… 🙂

 

Agave univittata (Center Stripe Agave)…

The Agave univittata (Center Stripe Agave) is doing very well and is happy in its larger pot. I have grown several Agave species and most have done very well. I have found that the smaller species, like this one, are MUCH easier to handle. I don’t think it was getting enough sun, but it is getting more here on the front porch now.

 

Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe)…

I acquired my first Aloe juvenna (Tiger Tooth Aloe) in 2009 from a piece that had broken off of a plant at Wal-Mart in Greenville, Mississippi. I looked around to see where it may have come from and found a plant labeled Aloe squarrosa. Then, in 2012, I bought a similar looking plant labeled Aloe zanzibarica (Zanzibar Aloe). As it turned out both of the names were incorrect. There is no such species as Aloe zanzibarica and practically all plants labeled Aloe squarrosa are actually Aloe juvenna. In fact, Aloe squarrosa is rare in today’s marketplace. I was glad I found another one of these plants at a local greenhouse in 2017. They are a really nice small clump-forming Aloe that is very easy to grow. You just have to put them in a larger diameter pot every few years and give them adequate light during the summer months when they are actively growing. Their leaves should be somewhat short and if they grow longer they aren’t in enough light. To much sun and their leaves will burn. You have to be somewhere in the middle. I put this Aloe juvenna in a larger pot on July 12. You will notice there are short and long leaves on the plant(s) in the above photo. Sometimes they were in enough light and sometimes not. 🙂 Oh, yeah, there are a few babies in this pot.

 

Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’…

Well, I will tell you, this Aloe maculata (Soap Aloe) is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH happier now. It is in a larger pot on the front porch where it can get the attention it likes. Some plants are kind of shy and some like attention. Just like people. This Aloe loves it when you touch its leaves and tell it how well it is looking. Yeah, I know. You think I’m crazy. Just click on the name and go to its page and you will see for yourself… This plant and I have a LONG history dating back to 2009. This plant’s ancestor was the first of many plants and cuttings brought to me by my good friend Kyle Hall while I was living in Mississippi. It was my first Aloe, and maybe my first succulent. I didn’t know the species name so I called it Aloe ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ (I didn’t know his grandmothers name at the time either). Go to the page and you can read all about how many offsets I had… I was the Aloe maculata king. 🙂 The page covers 8 years… I skipped 2015 because I didn’t have it then.

When I had to start plant collecting again, I had given several of these plants to Wagler’s Greenhouse. So, I brought another one home from there in 2016. It did not do well because I was busy doing this and that and did not pay much attention to it. Then, when I moved the plants to the front porch, put it in a larger pot, and it is where everyone can see it… Most everyone who goes to the front porch notices this plant right off. It is soaking in the attention and thriving. 🙂

I think I owe a lot of my enthusiasm about plants to the Aloe maculata. It encouraged me to be myself and never give up. I made many new friends in Mississippi because I gave them offsets of this plant.

 

Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe)…

I bought this Aristaloe aristata (Lace Aloe) in March. I put it in a larger pot and it has done very well. Although this was originally thought to be a species of Aloe, phylogenetic studies show the Aloe genus is polyphyletic and this unusual species IS NOT an Aloe. It is closely related to the Astrolabes and to the four Robustipedunculares species of Haworthia. Because its genetics are unique, this species is in a new genus of its own. The Aristaloe aristata has been used to create many x Gasteraloe hybrids.

 

Cereus repandus f. monstrose on 7-29-18, #487-29.

The new Cereus repandus f. monstrose ‘Rojo’ I bought from Wal-Mart in March is still doing very well. If you have or purchase a plant labeled Cereus peruvianus monstrose ‘Rojo’, it is the same plant. Even though it may not look like this one because there are many shapes to the monstrose forms. I bought my first Cereus peruvianus ‘Rojo’ in 2009 and had it until 2014. The species name has changed MANY times… I like the “monstrose” or “monstrosus” form better than the straight species and this particular plant because it is growing upright. Monstrose forms appear in nature in several species of cactus but the cultivar ‘Rojo’ was created by man. 🙂

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’…

GEEZ! What can I say? I first saw the Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ (Pig’s Ears, etc.) at Wagler’s Greenhouse in May 2017. They had quite a few plants and they looked really nice. I was tempted but I knew what would eventually happen. I knew after I bought it home it would eventually become infected with brown scale. I also knew it needed a lot of light to keep it looking as good as it dit at the greenhouse. Well, eventually I gave in and brought one home on June 6 (2017). It took off growing like a weed and started to stretch. By July it was showing signs of brown scale. Fortunately, I don’t have any other plants that are that susceptible to brown scale. By the time I needed to bring the plants inside for the winter, the Cotyledon looked like a completely different plant than when I bought it. I was tempted to leave it in the basement, but I moved it to my bedroom for the winter. Well, it survived and is STILL growing, stretching, and it has LOTS of brown scale. I really need to cut the tops off of all the stems and regrow them on the back porch. I think I will do that this week… Just in the short time it has been on the back porch, the top leaves are doing what they are supposed to and not stretching. That shows me this plant absolutely needs the brightest light possible. It has also proved to me it isn’t about to die…

 

Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Storm’ cuttings…

As I am writing this post and got this far (on August 6), I decided to go right out and take cuttings from the Cotyledon ‘Silver Storm’. Now, we will see what it will do. First, the cuttings need to scab over for a few days before I put them in pots. Now, I have to figure out what to do with the scale. Normally brown scale are easy to remove, as with the Crassula ovata. You can just pick them off with your fingernail. Well, the scale on this plant is different and they can’t be removed with my fingernail. So different it may not be scale at all. I don’t know… Maybe I should attach photos on a Facebook group to see what the members have to say. I do have a bottle of insecticide that is OMRI certified with neem oil. Maybe I will try it.

 

Crassula ovata ‘Lady Fingers’…

The new Crassula ovata ‘Ladyfingers’ is also doing well. I bought this plant from one of the local Amish greenhouses on May 5. I had one before for several years so I was very glad to find another one. Although there was no label with it I knew what it was. If you find a plant at Lowe’s or Wal-Mart like this it will probably be labeled Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ or Crassula ‘Gollum’. If you click on the link you will go to this plants page. On the page, you will find a link to the article written by Roy Mottram explaining the difference (with photos) explaining the difference between ‘Gollum’ and ‘Ladyfingers’. A few of the leaves may be a little Gollumy, but most of them definitely say ‘Ladyfingers’.

 

Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla)…

Well, the Cylindropuntia imbricata (Tree Cholla) has definitely gone through a growth spurt this summer. It has gone completely silly! But, that’s what I like to see. I was given this plant when it was very small by Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2016. It is very interesting because it is doing or has done something different almost every time I take photos.

 

Delosperma cooperi ‘Jewel of Desert Grenade’…

This Delosperma cooperi ‘Jewel of Desert Grenade’ has been weird. It looks like it isn’t happy but it is ALWAYS flowering up a storm. When I was at my cousin’s house they had these in a planter and they were so full and lush… Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t use my cactus and succulent recipe on the Ice Plant. The last one I had was in 2010 in Mississippi and it did great then all the sudden it died. I think I overwatered that one, though. But my cousin’s wife waters their almost every day! Hmmm… Maybe I should buy several of these next year and experiment a bit. 🙂 I may repot this plant and put in regular potting soil with fertilizer. Yeah! That’s what I will do!

 

Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus)…

The Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) is still alive and kicking, or should I stay “sticking”. I bought these two Golden Barrel Cactus in 2016 and they have slowly grown. I always measure the cactus at least once a year to see how much they have grown. According to Plants of the World Online by Kew, there are only six accepted species of Echinocactus. Version 1.1 of The Plant List (2013) named six accepted species (plus two infraspecific names), a total of 107 synonyms, and 469 names that were still unresolved… This species has received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit. When the cactus were close to the Chiese Elm Tree, the dead leaves would stick on their needles. The Japanese Beetles were always getting stuck in this particular cactus more than the others.

 

Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’ on 7-29-18, #487-39.

Well, I don’t know… When I bought this cactus in 2016 the label said Echinobivia ‘Rainbow Bursts’ and it said it was an intergenetic cross between Echinopsis and Lobivia. Well, all the species of Lobivia were moved to other genera, mostly the genus Echinopsis. So, now I am just calling it Echinopsis ‘Rainbow Bursts’. Recently I have narrowed the actual name down to two species. Funny how none of the photos on Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) or other websites show the offsets growing on the side of the plant like this. The reason the cultivar name is ‘Rainbow Bursts’ is because the plants can have different colors of flowers (not on the same plant). The reason I haven’t removed its kids is because I only need one of these plants… Several have fallen off but I don’t know where they rolled off to.

 

Espostoa melanostele (Peruvian Old Lady)…

The Espostoa melanostele (Peruvian Old Lady) is still alive and well and growing. Some cacti are very slow growing, but this one has grown 5/8″ so far since I last measured it in October last year. It is now 6″ tall and it was 2 3/4″ tall when I bought it in February 2016.

 

x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ on 7-29-18, #487-42.

The x Gasteraloe ‘Flow’ is doing very well as always. I have had several x Gasteraloe cultivars and all but one did very well. The four offsets are getting a little cramped so I either need to remove them or put the whole clump in a larger pot. I bought this plant in July 2016 and it is currently the only x Gasteraloe I have.

I just finished updating the x Gasteraloe ‘Twilight Zone’ page I had been calling Aloe x ‘Twilight Zone’ since 2012. The plant had a Proven Winner’s tag that said Aloe Hybrid ‘Twilight Zone’. The National Gardening Association was calling it an x Gasteraloe. So, I sent the creator, Kelly Griffin, a message and quizzed him about it. He said it was indeed a Gasteraloe and told me what species he used to make the cross. He named it after the intro to Rod Sterlings Twilight Zone (the TV Show).

I think I will go ahead and publish this post and start working on the next cactus and succulent update…

Until next time, stay positive and stay well. Most of all… GET DIRTY!

 

 

12 comments on “Bed & Plant Update Part 4: Cactus & Succulents Part 1

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You have a nice assortment of cacti and succulents. I wish I had more sun during winter to overwinter such plants.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lisa! Cactus don’t seem to mind less sun during the winter inside. Many succulents, on the other hand just grow weird with not enough light and have to be cut off and regrown. For succulents, it has a lot to do with their dormacy period. It just takes a lot of experimenting to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I drool over some of the Echeveria species and cultivars but I know what happens with them over the winter with not enough light. Thanks for the comment as always.

      Like

  2. Jim R says:

    I took a piece of a big Christmas Cactus plant last year from an office and started it at home. It seems to be doing well. New sections have grown. I haven’t killed it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jim! That’s great! Christmas Cactus are pretty easy to grow if you follow just a few basic rules. I gave mine up when I moved from Mississippi, but someday I will have another one. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  3. lesleyconnor says:

    Loved reading your post. Living by the sea in Australia, I found succulents and agaves in particular are the only things that do well in my garden. Have had great success propagating, and was very excited when one of mine sent up a century stalk last year….hundreds of pups to propagate

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vicki says:

    Many of these I recognise from the Royal Botanic Gardens collection in Melbourne, except the Peruvian Old Lady – that’s a new one for me.

    My Mother converted most of her garden to succulents after my parents moved into a retirement village. Don’t know what’s happened with them since she passed away as my Father lives too away and I don’t have a car to visit. (We have to be content with weekly phone calls).

    From my own photography and plant identification attempts, it seems as if cacti and succulents are just as ‘needy’ as the common garden plants. I was surprised to read that many grow better in semi-shade and needing regular drinks.

    We all tend to think of cacti as being very drought hardy, but maybe they’re all individual and need a little experimentation.

    I’ve found all plants respond to love and attention and some seem to like their stems and leaves gently stroked or touched.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there, Lisa! Must cactus and succulents appreciate “regular” watering during their growing period and not so much, if at all, during the cooler months. Some species of succulents are winter dormant and some are summer dormant. That was tricky for me to understand. I always wondered since winter dormant succulents should be water very little, if at all, during the winter, do I need not water the summer dormant succulents in the summer? Some succulents do this weird thing with their roots during the peak of the summer when they are growing very little on top. I love cacti and succulents but I have lost several along my journey because, at first, I didn’t know how to communicate with them. While some are very independent and thrive on neglect, others certainly appreciate attention. Thanks for the comment as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pixydeb says:

    Hi Rooster – brilliant to see The cactus 🌵 & succulents I have recently started a small cactus selection on an old piece of rock with a grit & soil mix in the central depression. I had them outside as it was so hot & all was well. Then after a sudden rain storm one put up 2 big flower stalks which bloomed for a week and then the whole thing died 🙁. I think it was a sempervivum (?) I can see from the post you measure your cactuses growth- how do you keep all that info? Looking at yours, I really like ladies fingers. I like to touch them! They feel so nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there Pixydeb! To bad about the Sempervivum? Didn’t it give you babies before it died? My Sempervivum never flowered until this year so the next post “may” have their photos”. It was a first for me. The bad thing is, when Sempervivum flower, the plant dies. Fortunately, there are a lot of offsets, though. Every plant has its own photo folder and journal page where I write information about the plant and its growth, and this and that. Oh, yeah, the Ladyfingers is a neat plant for sure. Did you click on the name to read about it? Thanks for the comment as always!

      Like

      • Debbie from surrey uk says:

        That’s brilliantly disciplined to keep that level of info … respect!! You know i did get one baby from that sempervivum – you reminded me! I’m going to give it some extra love

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very good! My clump of ‘Killer’, which is the one blooming, has a few issues during the hot summer. When cooler temps arrive it will do better. I am thinking about taking a few of the offsets and putting them in pots and putting them in a shadier area. The clump has multiplied, but some of the offsets dry up in the heat.

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