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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Although I have mixed feelings about arid landscapes such as the southwestern region of the US, I do really like cacti and succulents. There is just something about the uniqueness of their forms, their ways of adapting to their environment, and their prickly way of saying “don’t mess with me!” IDK, maybe it’s also because I have such a prickly personality!

 

Anyway, I used to have quite a few cacti when I was in college, but I lost many of them to an outbreak of black rot, and I haven’t messed with them since.

 

I’ve recently been working on putting some landscaping info together for my condo HOA, and that has reignited my interest in growing cacti and succulents.

 

I’ve recently bought four (these are not my photos, just examples I found online):

 

A Clothed Opuntia – Opuntia vestita

 

A Kalanchoe Panda Plant – Kalanchoe tomentosa

 

A Zanzibar Aloe – Aloe zanzibarica

 

A Split Rock – Pleiospilos neii

 

 

Is there anyone here who loves cacti and succulents, too?

 

 

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DG, If you need any help with this, I do horticultural consulting and succulents, xeriscaping, and such plants are one of my specialities.  Also Mediterranean plants like herbs and palms, excellent plants for near poolsides.  I'm just up in Plano.

With our property, considering existing plants and architecture, the palms and succulents will not be suitable. I think we look we need to lean toward is the woodlands garden look. We also have two microclimates. The front is shady and the back gets blasted by the setting sun.

 

I'm really stuck on what to do with my area. I have a 130 sq ft area outside my door that is nothing but dirt and a 2-story Yaupon Holly. It faces northwest, so I get shade all day and then intense sun from 5 till 9. It also gets the full force of winter storms.

 

Plants that like shade won't handle the hot sun in the evening, and plants that like sun won't like having shade all day. I'm really stuck on what to decide, though I think I am leaning towards echinacea angustifolia, black-foot daisies, silver mound, and possibly wood fern in the one corner that does remain kind of shaded throughout. But ultimately I have not decided.

 

DG, If you only have a small amount of area, you will probably like yourself for planting some perennial evergreen herbs, something you can use to kick-up your meals a notch or two.   Two excellent herbs that would probably do well in your area are Rosemary and something called Mexican oregano.  Both make sprawling mounds about 2 or 3 feet tall, taller if you don't trim them somewhat.  Mexican Oregano has pinkish flowers from May to October and really has a nice bright true oregano taste, Rosemary blooms off and on year round with light blue flowers.  There are dozens of different varieties of rosemary, but you probably have to go somewhere like North Haven Gardens to find most of them.  Some are more upright, and some sprawl more.  Some are more dwarf.  Both are extremely drought tolerant once established for a couple years and should adapt to that light.
Yes, I have considered some herbs. I did see that Mexican Oregano in some books, but was also thinking of Mediterranean Organo, too. Remember, this will be shaded all day long. The rosemary won't mind?
Mediterranean oregano, aka Greek oregano, is more of a ground cover, mostly creeping along about 3 inches high, and when it blooms, which is just in late spring, and not showy, it raises its little heads about 6-10 inches.  Mexican oregano blooms most of the time, and actually out "oreganoes" the true oregano in terms of flavor, and grows like a small shrub.  Both are evergreen in Dallas.  Rosemary and those oreganos actually do pretty well in partial shade.  It won't grow as big or as rapidly, but they are something you don't need a real lot of, because they have a very intense flavor.  What you have there is bright shade and then full sun for 4 hours in the late afternoon.  Those tough plants should do fine.  The biggest issue they might have is not good enough soil drainage, but planting them on raised mounds of improved soil should take care of that.  The best thing to improve drainage for herbs and other drought tolerant plants is expanded shale. which is basically "popcorn" rock, or aerated gravel.  It holds air near the plants roots during times when there is too much water.
Of course I do.  I especially like that when I forget to water them, they're just fine : )

I bought some more today (against my better judgment).

 

Espostoa lantana

 

 

Mammillaria zeilmanniana

 

 

Aptenia cordifolia variegata

 

 

And one other one that wasn't identified, and I haven't been able to find it yet in the books, but looks very similar to this one, except that the areoles are red and not white. This one is a Caringiea gigantea.

This is also know as the saguaro.

 

Yes, the one in the picture is, but mine is not. It's just that it was the only one they had, and it didn't have any kind of label on it. So it only resembles the saguaro, but I don't know it's real name. It is only about 5" tall at the moment, and about the diameter of a banana, I suppose.

Well, I lost my Split Rock – Pleiospilos neii, and my Aptenia cordifolia variegata. But I bought some more:

 

Mamillaria Mystax

 

Tiger Jaws – Faucaria tigrina

 

Baby Toes – Fenestraria aurantiaca (Though it's not looking good like this one. It may be too hot.)

 

Thimble Cactus – Mammillaria Fragilis

 

Elephant bush – Portulacaria afra

 

And this one is not a succulent, but I liked it anyhow. Kind of looks like a pot of thyme.

 

Pilea Glauca

Okay, I've been buying more cacti and succulents. I'm outta control. Here's my entire current collection. Some are from last year. These are not my photos.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata

Coral Reef Chinese sedum

Espostoa lantana

Euphoribia cereformis

Gator aloe

Green wheel sempervivium

Mammillaria fragilis

Mammillaria hahniana

Mammillaria mystax

Mammillaria pilcayensis

Notocactus magnificans

Opuntia microdasys

Opuntia subulata vestita (Clothed Opuntia)

Oreocereus trollii

Senecio medley woodii

Beautiful. My living stone bloomed, and my chinese coral sedum has itsy bitsy yellow (ugly) flowers. But that's it for me. But this is only my second year to be messing with cacti. I lost quite a bit, actually. Mostly the succulents. The cylindrical and round cacti seem to do pretty well.

 

I actually don't think I water them enough. I face northwest, and it gets blazing hot out here during summer, esp with all the concrete around me.

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