Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

It’s been a gorgeous weekend in Victoria and the weather has been outstanding. Sunny days & blue skies, I had a very nice Saturday spent in the garden, beach, and you guessed it, a CACTUS SALE! Every year the Victoria Cactus & Succulent Society hosts two sales, and so far I’ve haven’t managed to make it to one until yesterday. I might have died and gone to cactus heaven, what a selection they had, and at obtainable prices too. Victoria doesn’t exactly specialize in succulents (WE LIVE IN THE NORTH DUH) so having a sale dedicated to weird and unusual cacti was a real treat. I must have walked around the booth 10 times, I had to make sure I saw everything. Showing up right when they opened, I was surprised there wasn’t a bigger crowd. Bargain cacti unfound anywhere else in Victoria and/or Vancouver Island, shouldn’t I be fighting through the mobs? P.S I hate mobs, so a quiet sale is fine by me. Still I wish more people were interested as to keep the excitement going, a successful sale means more cacti next year.

As time goes on sometimes I think I live in the wrong climate. Not that there is anything wrong with the west coast of Canada, I LOVE IT, but I sure wish growing succulents and tropicals wasn’t such a battle with the weather. I digress.

I found so many cacti treasures, I was glowing all day. It’s strange how good I feel after a good plant hoarding adventure, I don’t even have to go to Madagascar or South Africa, they were brought all the way here via passion on the cheap. I love plant geeks.

I will admit I got a bit carried away, god help me I have no discretion in these moments. If I didn’t come home with as many as I did I would kick myself later, any self respecting plant hoarder would do the same. Right!? While I’d love to go into great detail on each plant, these specimens are all somewhat new to me and we’ll keep this post as a simple introduction.

I found a couple interesting conophytums. Another branch of strange stone like button succulents from South Africa.

Another conophytum

Mitrophyllum grande, another South African Oddity. Fall and Winter growing. Extremely delicate and easy to bruise, I’ll have to place this one somewhere safe.

Astrophytum asteria otherwise known as a Sand Dollar Cactus. This is a North American genus and is actually endangered in the wild. Most cacti found in cultivation are thus seed grown. This one came in a beautiful little pot for an added bonus. Bingo!

Although this photo does this very plant very little justice, this is an offset of a Haemanthus albiflos. Believe it or not I’ve been seeking plants in this genus for some time now and this was a real score. This South African Bulb is easy to grow and reportedly easy to get to flower. Often referred to as a paint brush lily due to it’s strange fuzzy flowers. I can’t wait to see this in action.

Frailea asteroides (What a cool name) is a miniature cactus from South America (Brazil). They stay small, and do well in indirect light. Flowers are only obtained at high temperatures so it’s unlikely I’ll ever see it in bloom. One can dream.

New agave varieties are practically nonexistant in Victoria. Welcome Agave stricta ‘Nana’ to the collection.

More cacti photos to come, the garden is certainly enjoying the autumn heat.

9 Responses to Plant Hoarding: Victoria Cactus & Succulent Society Autumn Sale

  • jarday says:

    When is the other sale occur in Victoria? (1st would appear Sept. and 2nd is …… ?)

    Thank you.

  • Mark says:

    From the east (ON) and will be in the Nanaimo area this week and was looking for tropical plant places or persons that would be of interest. Private grower of many types of Hoya and Orchid Cactus but open to most things tropical. Like to sit and chat about growing tips and learn more about plants. If you could point me in a direction that would be great!!

    Thanks for your time

    Fellow Crazy Plant person

  • The Victoria Gardener says:

    I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the spot, next time you drive by take a snapshot and I’ll do my best. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    Would you happen to know the name of the tree/shrub, that is at Memorial Parkway, and Goldstream in Langford, beside the railway track. It bends over and kinda looks like a big animal. It is about 25 – 30′ tall. Thanks Karen

  • bob archer says:

    anyone interested in cactus should come to the club meetings, great source of info, many experts, e mail me if interested, cheers.

  • So awesome! I know exactly what you mean about that happy feeling resulting from a successful plant shopping trip. Also, I really want to have a Haemanthus albiflos again. I had one as a kid that I got as a little off-set from my great aunt and they are really great plants.

  • Somewhere in my dads things is the original charter for the Vancouver Cactus and Succulent Society. If memory serves me, his grandfather started the society. When this treasure is unearthed, I will scan it and post it!!!

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.