Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

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.

8 Responses to Unidentified Cacti – Still Plant Hoarding, even in the winter.

  • The Victoria Gardener says:

    Thanks for the info and I.D Andy, I think I agree with you. Ferocactus are a hard one to id, they all look so similar. Looking forward to a summer’s worth of new growth, it will probably become a lot more apparent.

  • Andy Jones says:

    Nice plants! …and almost certainly seed-grown, btw. Sticking my neck out a bit, here, but the top one looks like the plant that’s been going under the name of Ferocactus acanthodes for years, but which ought apparently to be called F. cylindraceus ssp. cylindraceus.

    Your Mammillaria looks a bit like Mamm. sempervivi to me. Once spring comes round and it gets a bit more sunshine, it should lose that lush green tinge, and look even nicer!

  • I can’t believe you’re reading A Cactus Odyssey. I just bought the book for myself for Christmas! Quite a coincidence :-).

    I agree with Tom on the 2nd one; looks like a Mammillaria to me but I’m no good at IDing the species. There are just too many.

    I will admit that I occasionally check the big box stores for good bargains, too.


  • Good job! I had my own little big box “how can they sell this so cheap” plant moment the other day when I bought an unusual form of Sansevieria for $2.98…granted most Sansevieria are as common as dirt but $2.98 is even cheaper than dirt!

    Good luck on the identification, I suck at cactus knowledge.

  • Tom says:

    The bottom one is a Mammilaria of some sort…I’m not the best with Mamm ID’s though…
    The top one is killing me because I know what it is but I can’t think of it!!! I’m sure I’ll figure it out by the end of the day…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.