About me

About me
🌿 I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Sunday, 18 May 2014

Echinopsis cactus

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Trichocereeae
Genus: Echinopsis

Echinopsis grows pretty much anywhere. Here in South Africa they can tolerate summer temperatures of 30°C or greater, which is hot enough to spur growth of both Echinopsis pups and their amazing flowers. They also tolerate cold temperatures well during winter months. However, I bring my potted ones inside during hard freezes or their water-filled bodies will freeze as well.

Compared to most cacti, Echinopsis bloom fast and furious. They typically begin blooming in spring. Most blooms only last one or two days and they frequently open at night. But it’s common to have several buds on one plant developing at different rates; so a single plant can be in bloom for several weeks.

As a general rule, the smaller the diameter of the blooms a Echinopsis species produces, the more blooms the plant produces. Species that produce monster blooms (some over 6” in diameter) tend to have fewer blooms as so much plant energy goes into producing each one.

Echinopsis generally begin to produce flowers when they are two or three years old.

Echinopsis is a large genus of cacti native to South America, sometimes known as hedgehog cactus, sea-urchin cactus or Easter lily cactus. One small species, E. chamaecereus, is known as the peanut cactus. The 128 species range from large and treelike types to small globose cacti.

Echinopsis are greatly hybridised, but the species I have in my garden do well throughout summer and winter, always bearing huge, beautiful pink blooms in spring.

 Echinopsis flowering next to my Golden Barrel cactus


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Pachypodium lamerei

Camera : Fuji FinePix 2800Zoom
Taken in my garden (Tarlton,Gauteng, South Africa)

Pachypodium lamerei has a tall, silvery-gray trunk covered with sharp 6.25 cm spines. Long, narrow leaves grow only at the top of the trunk, like a palm tree and is often marketed as the “Madagascar Palm”, despite it not being a palm at all. It is a stem succulent and comes from the island Madagascar.

It rarely branches, except here in Tarlton! With every consecutive frost it got a new branch in Spring. Sadly to say, after being in my garden for several years at a height of 3 meters, a particularly severe frost killed it a couple of winters ago. Plants grown outdoors will reach up to 6 metres. When grown indoors it will slowly reach 1.2-1.8 m tall.

Plants grown outdoors will develop large, white, fragrant flowers at the top of the plant. It rarely flowers indoors.

I don't usually replace plants that die or are not suitable for our area, but shortly after my Pachy died, I came upon one at a succulent show in 2008 and guess what? I couldn't resist buying it!

New Pachypodium in 2009 

It has now grown from a 6" baby into almost a meter tall. I've been bringing it into the house every winter, but after it's first transplant into a bigger pot, it has grown so big that it is a problem carrying it in. Will have to drag the old garden trolley out of the store room...

Pachypodium lamerei in 2010 

Pachypodium lamerei, having out-grown his pot and just before being transplanted late 2012

My Pachy after being transplanted in Oct 2013 

Pachypodium lamerei in March 2014 (see how the Echeverias have grown also!)

If you have a frost-free climate, these are one of the most stunning succulents to have in your garden and makes a beautiful feature plant.

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