Being a plant collector is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever embarked on. In a world where most things have been discovered, plant collecting brings that much needed astonishment to life. As the collection grows, so does my intrigue, nature never fails to amaze me. It started off honest enough, a few potted plants in the living room, “wow those look great”. Nearly 4 years later and hundreds of plants added to the equation and I’m one one busy boy. While many collectors specialize in one specific genera of plant life, I can’t help but to dabble in most. The more plants in the collection, the more amazement that is added to my life, the dream is to create one never ending fireworks display.
One group of plants that I find particularly interesting is cacti and succulents. It’s easy to fall in love with succulents. They’re often easy to grow, require little maintenance and are by far the strangest and most mysterious of all plant life. A couple weeks ago I brought some of my collection outdoors to photograph and inventory. I had hoped that in time I would write in depth plant profiles on these amazing plants, but the more I think about it, the more I think that’s a bit far fetched. With a large collection such as mine, a busy work schedule and a meager social life it’s hard enough keeping regular blog posts going, let alone getting overly academic with my writing. Smart writing is for the winter, fun photographic tours are the best I can do for now. So rather then hoarding the photos until a later date I thought today was as good a day as any to take a peak at some of the gems in my collection. Another plant tour, “Yes Please!”
2012 Cacti and Succulent tour:
A staple in any succulent collection, Euphorbia obesa are easy to grow and are ranked high in my books. Some have warned me to give them a winter dormant period but mine still gets a regular drink. It’s pot seems to go dry every 3-4 days and it gets a small drink shortly after. It’s rewarded my care with lots of fresh growth and some new flower buds. Looks like an alien egg to me, perhaps we don’t have to look up to the stars any longer.
Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Thx for the id Gerhard) This small potted specimen has a funny story attached to it. About a year and a half ago I purchased an established 4″ pot of this plant, and attempted to do some cuttings. Shortly after taking the cuttings, the mother plant got an infection and deflated and died a few weeks later. 2 years from the date of this catastrophe, the few remaining cuttings are still only 1/3 the size.. Plant collecting does involve some trial and error.
Who couldn’t love Graptoveria amethorum. Miniature echeveria-esk rossettes that don’t elongate or get strange with indoor culture. This plant has remained tidy and compact throughout overwintering on the front window sill. Some say they rot easily, but underpotted in terracotta, mine seem tolerant enough of the wet stuff. A personal favorite.
My oldgrowth Sinningia leucotricha has started to wake up from it’s winter sleep. It flowers with the emergance of new leaves, and at this time of year it seems a thirsty plant indeed. Known for their ability to survive neglect, I’m not particularily worried about this plant. Which is good, I need a couple easy oddities in the collection. Thank you Linda Macewko for sharing this plant with me.
I love plectranthus and plectranthus ernestii is no exception. Unlike other plectranthus in my collection, this one will eventually grow an interesting caudex. The leaves have a light aroma when crushed, these plants make excellent bonsai specimens.
As many true succulent growers are probably shaking their heads right now, I’ve taken a different approach with this specimen. While normally I break my echeverias down and re-root them when the elongate like this, I’ve encouraged this one to grow strange. A little copper wire and a stake and my graptoveria gets to reach for the stars. So far I’m pleased with the results.
Thanks for joining me for the tour.
I know I shouldn’t be buying myself early Christmas gifts, but cacti on bargain is always a no brainer. While I do my best to avoid megastores, on occasion I have a sick fascination with florecent lights and haphazard bargains. On a mission to get cheap cat food, I graced through the garden section and found some incredible cactus at ridiculously cheap prices. The funny thing about Victoria is that cacti and succulents are a bit of a speciality item, and to see them in such health and vigor for record low prices, how can a plant hoarder resist. Apparently they had just come in, and thus were still in good shape. After staring at them with a glazed look of excitement I ended up leaving with two for myself, and two for Christmas gifts. (Much like my blogger friend Lorree @ Danger Garden I also force plants upon my friend’s in times of gift giving and celebration.)
I’ve been reading A Cactus Odyssey by James D Mauseth / Robert Kiesling / Carlos Ostolaza (ordered from Sacred Succulents on discount) and in turn have been super pumped about cacti this week. While everything else is pretty miserable looking, the cacti stand proud active or dormant. These new cacti were worthy of a full photoshoot, and at the moment remain unidentified. I’m new to identifying globular cacti so any help would be much appreciated. I’ll thank Wally World for marking it with a tag “cactus”, how useful, a three year old could have told me that.
Look at it’s incredible ribs.
Food for thought.
For the size of these cacti they’ve got to be at least 2-5 years old, be it seed or cutting. Wally World sells them for $4.00ea, which tells me the grower is selling them for at least $1.50/$2.00. I would imagine the grower would have to sell at least 250,000 – 500,000 of them to even begin to make a profit. Is one grower supplying the whole of Canada? This doesn’t exactly look local, I’m pretty sure no one on the island is growing these. Mega-marts have a huge buying power so maybe it’s worth shipping them for the other side of the country. I’m perplexed by the discounts as much as I’m pleased with my purchase.