Fall 2020 Update Part 1: Cactus & Succulents Part 1

Bare plant table on the front porch.

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. The time of the year has come where I had to bring the potted plants (104) inside on October 15 because an “F” was in the forecast. As usual, we get a ZAP then the temps warm up again. Sometimes I put the plants back outside but that depends on the long-range forecast. It has been very windy for many days and it has been very dry. Monday we had a little shower and a little more yesterday. This morning it has rained quite a lot with thunder and lightning.

This post begins the cactus and succulent update where I photograph and measure the cactus and succulents. I have been measuring plants for probably 10 years, mainly the cactus and succulents. I like doing that because cactus grow so SSSSLLLLOOOOWWW and measuring them is a good way to tell how well they progress from one year to the next.

There will be several posts because I can’t possibly put them all on one… I think I will start the updates in alphabetical order… If you click on the highlighted name of the plant it will take you to its own page (except for a couple that I haven’t made a page for yet).

<<<<Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’>>>>

Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’ at 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-1.

First on the list is the Acanthocereus tetragonus ‘Fairytale Castle’. This particular “cultivar” could be a monstrous form of the species. The species can grow to around 23′ tall with stems as long as 10′. Monstrous forms mutate in several species of cactus either in nature or from human intervention and normally grow much slower and remain much smaller than the species. I brought this particular plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on 9-13-18 when it was only 3″ tall x 2″ wide. It now measures 4 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide.

Some have this plant confused with Cereus hildmannianus subsp. uruguayanus (Fairy Castles) which I will discuss later…

<<<<Adromischus cristatus>>>>

Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie) on 10-15-20, #747-2.

Hmmm… That’s all I can say about the Adromischus cristatus (Key Lime Pie). I brought this plant home from Lowe’s on April 23, 2017 and it has been weird. Of course, it looked much better when I brought it home, in fact, it was a very cute plant… It went downhill over the first winter and I thought surely it would die. It didn’t die but it didn’t do much of anything else either. It survived the summer AGAIN so I brought it back in the house for the winter. I guess as long as it wants to live I will support its cause… I have repotted it and provided what it supposedly needs but it doesn’t do anything but survive… Maybe I should talk to it more… 🙂

<<<<Agave univittata>>>>

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) at 13″ tall x 27 1:2 wide on 10-15-20, #747-3.

I kept the Agave univittata (Center Stripe Agave) in a sunnier spot on the front porch this summer instead of the back porch. I tried it on the back porch last year and its leaves seemed to burn a little and left them brown. When I brought this plant home from one of the local Amish greenhouses in 2016 I thought it was going to be a miniature. Well, it was unlabeled and the leaves were short and broad. I have had several HUGE Agave species in the past when I lived in Mississippi and I really liked them, but here my space is limited especially in the winter. As it turned out, this Agave is not a miniature but they don’t get huge. Information suggests this species grows to 12-18 tall x 12-24″ wide. Hmmm… This plant measured 13″ tall x 27 1/2″ wide when I brought it inside. I really do think these leaves should be broader in correct light but I can’t seem to find the sweet spot… It either gets too much sun or not enough…

It is highly possible this plant is NOT an Agave univittata after all. The species has 20 synonyms including Agave lophantha which has several well-known cultivars including ‘Quadracolor’. Several Agave species are variable and its leaves can be a solid color, bi-color, or even tri-color. In the beginning (sometime after creation) these different colors were given separate species names, which were later changed to varieties. This plant here was originally thought to be Agave lophantha, whose common name was the Center Stripe Agave. Later, it was decided it was a variety of Agave univittata. Now even the variety is supposedly a synonym and they just say leaf color is variable. GEEZ!!!

I still use the name Agave univittata var. lophantha because it has a center stripe. It is/was a legit scientific name that was applied to this variety in 1959 even though it is now supposedly a synonym… At one point it was even Agave lophantha var. univittata (1914). After all, this is my blog and I can call it whatever I choose. 🙂 Agave lophantha goes back to 1829 and Agave univittata only dates to 1831… I better stop there.

Agave univittata (var. lophantha) on 10-15-20, #747-4.

Most Agave species have a VERY sharp needle on the end of their leaves and spines along the margins. Did I mention they are very sharp?

<<<<Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’>>>> 

Agave/x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at 9″ tall x 13″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-5.

I always wanted an x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ but I didn’t see paying the price some online stores were charging for them. Fortunately, I was able to find this Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ at Muddy Creek Greenhouse in 2019. x Mangave ‘Pineapple Express’ was introduced by Walters Gardens in 2016 and was bred by Hans Hansen. It is a cross between x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’ and x Mangave ‘Jaguar’. It was 4 1/2″ tall x 9″ wide when I brought it home and now it is 9″ tall x 13″ wide. It has the potential to grow 18″tall x 24″ wide… Ummm… I don’t have a page for this one yet.

Agave/xMangave ‘Pineapple Express’ on 10-15-20, #747-6.

I just love the spotted leaves on this plant! It has done very well and is maintaining a nice habit.

The xMangave is, or was, an intergenetic cross between Manfreda and Agave. Unfortunately, those in charge have decided the genus Manfreda is now a synonym of Agave despite its several differences. I had been corresponding with a man from Walters Gardens about a few plants when I bought this one. I mentioned the xMangave was now a synonym of Agave and had no reply. I have now gotten acquainted with a more enthusiastic fellow from Proven Winners, which is a division of Walters Gardens. I wonder what he has to say about name changes. Well, maybe I should wait.

I have to admit I was very excited when I found this plant as an x Mangave but not so much as an Agave. I am not certain if I am ready to call it Agave ‘Pineapple Express. There is something about it being an intergenetic hybrid that makes one tingle. Besides, Agave doesn’t have spotted leaves!!! 🙂

<<<<Aloe juvenna>>>>

Aloe juvenna on 10-15-20, #747-7.

In 2009 I was plant shopping in a Wal-Mart store in Greenville, Mississippi and I saw a piece of a plant on the shelf. I looked around and found a similar potted plant labeled Aloe squarrosa. In 2012 I brought home another similar plant labeled Aloe zanzibarica (Zanzibar Aloe). When I was doing research for the blog I found out there was no scientific name for Aloe zanzibarica and my Aloe squarrosa was actually an Aloe juvenna. In fact, both plants were Aloe juvenna. I gave up those two plants but found the one I have now from Wagler’s Greenhouse in 2017. I think I may have given her this plant in the first place. Anyway, Aloe juvenna are easy to grow and pretty carefree. They are happiest when you leave the colony all together in a pot. You can propagate this one from offsets as well as stem cuttings although it may take them a while to root… Normally, this plant is nice and green if you don’t give it too much sun but for some reason, it started looking a bit off last winter…

<<<<Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’>>>>

Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ on 10-15-20, #747-8.

I have the longest history with the Aloe maculata ‘Kyle’s Grandma’ than any other succulent here. When I was living in Mississippi, a friend of mine brought me a couple of offsets from his grandmother’s Aloe (spring 2009). I didn’t know what species it was at the time, so I called it Aloe ‘Kyle’s Grandma’. I had even met his grandmother yet but they all liked it that I named the plant after her. I named a lot of plants after the people who gave them to me. Anyway, at first, I found out this Aloe was Aloe saponaria, which it was at the time. When The Plant List first came online in 2010 I found out Aloe saponaria was a synonym of Aloe maculata. As usual, were a few differences between the two species, mainly having to do with their inflorescence (flower cluster). I was told, of course, the species is variable… Whatever you choose to call them, Aloe maculata is a great plant that freely offsets. I have literally potted HUNDREDS of these plants and gave them away to friends or anyone that wanted one. These plants will get HUGE and prefer their offsets to be removed from the pot. If you don’t do that you will have a big problem… The main plant in this pot grew to 19″ tall x 42″ wide by the time I moved the plants inside on October 11 last year. Unfortunately, it died in the spring before I moved the plants outside. I had screwed up and put the pot on the back porch one fine sunny day before spring arrived. I am not sure if it got too cold or if it was too much sun all at once. Whatever happened, it died leaving behind a bunch of orphans… I intended to put them in their own pots but got so busy I didn’t have time… So, here they are still in the pot on October 15… If you want to read more about this plant and my history with them, click on the name above.

<<<<Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’>>>>

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ on 10-15-20, #747-9.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was the first Aloe I purchased when I was living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi.  I brought it home from Lowe’s in 2009 and we have had our ups and downs… I gave an offset to Mrs. Wagler (Wagler’s Greenhouse) in 2013 and I was glad I did. After I gave up a lot of my plants in 2014, I had to start over again in 2015. Well, I brought home the offset I had gave to Mrs. Wagler the year before… 🙂

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ was hybridized by John Bleck using the offspring of Aloe descoingsii x Aloe calcairophila and crossing it with Aloe bellatula. It is a nice miniature Aloe that offsets like crazy which can pose some interesting issues… The pot gets so full it becomes hard to give it enough water… I gave the plants a good dose of water the day before I moved them inside, but this pot is very light and feels like it had no water at all. GEEZ!!! However, even though it looks sad, it is flowering so it is happy. 🙂

The cluster of plants is approximately the same size as it was in 2019 with nothing exciting to report. Right now it is flowering again which it does periodically throughout the year, inside or out.

Aloe x ‘Lizard Lips’ 10-15-20, #747-10.

Shriveling of its leaves is fairly common when it needs water or if it is getting too much sun. If it does this because it is cold and wet, you have an emergency on your hands. That was a problem I had with it a few times when I lived in Mississippi but I was a newbie at the time. During the summer, water once a week if it needs it, but no matter what, control yourself during the winter. One reason my succulents are in the back bedroom is so I won’t be looking at them every day and be tempted to water them too often. Once or twice during the winter is enough…

Not all Aloe species and hybrids are easy to grow. I have lost a few over the years because they were weird…

<<<<x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’>>>>

x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ at 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide on 10-15-20, #747-11.

The x Alworthia ‘Black Gem’ is a great plant for sure. It is an intergeneric hybrid between Aloe speciosa and Haworthia cymbiformis. I brought this plant home from Wildwood Greenhouse on May 9, 2019 when it was 3 1/2″tall x 6 1/8″ wide. I put it in a larger pot on November 13, 2019 and it has done very well. Now it is 5 3/4″ tall x 10″ wide. I really like this plant and its dark green leaves.

I keep getting confused between intergeneric and intergenetic. When I think of “generic” it reminds me of generic brands of food and drugs. Intergeneric is the hybridization between two genera while intergenetic deals with genes. The “x” before the plant name indicates it is an intergeneric hybrid… I checked to make sure Haworthia cymbiformis is still a Haworthia species. 🙂

<<<<Aristaloe aristata #1>>>>

Aristaloe aristata #1 on 10-15-20, #747-12.

I brought this Aristaloe aristata home from Wal-Mart on March 19, 2018 and it always did well until I messed up. I put it in a larger pot in November 2019 which probably would have been fine. But, toward the end of the winter before I moved the plants outside in the spring, I gave several of the more root-bound Aloe a good soaking. Well, I did it with this one too which I shouldn’t have done since it was in a new and deeper pot. As a result, the lower roots rotted and it started going downhill. I put it in a shallower pot and removed its three offsets and it started slowly recovering. Not knowing if it would recover is the reason I had Nico from Succulent Market send the new one (which I wrote about a couple of posts ago). I didn’t measure this plant this time around because it had shrunk A LOT since so many of its lower leaves died. Right now, the plant from Nico is bigger than this one… OUCH! Live and learn…

<<<<Austrocylindropuntia subulata>>>>

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Eve’s Needle) at 4 1/2″ tall on 10-15-20, #747-13.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata is definitely a mouth full and you can’t say it really fast three times. I brought this plant home from Wagler’s Greenhouse in November 2019 when I went out to see if she had more Christmas (Holiday) Cactus. The one I brought home from her earlier had a peach label and it turned out to have pink flowers… Anyway, she didn’t have any more peach but I did bring this delightful little Eve’s Needle home. It was very small at the time but it has grown to 4 1/2″ inches. I had a HUGE Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. cristata (Crested Eve’s Needle) but it died in over the 2013-2014 winter. It was AWESOME and I haven’t found a replacement so far.

I don’t have a page for this plant yet…

Well, I got through the “A’s”. There are no “B’s” so I will start with the “C’s” through part of the “E’s” on the next post.

Until next time, be safe and stay positive. Stay well and always be thankful…