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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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rattail cactus (aporocactus flagelliformis)

Every Spring my Rattail cactus (aporocactus flagelliformis) rewards me with a mass of beautiful flowers. We’re heading for winter now here in South Africa, so I have a while to wait for these beauties again!

The lovely flowers can be up to 7 or 8cm long!

The bright pink flowers 1.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide (4 by 6 cm), are produced along the long hanging stems, up to 4 feet long (120 cm) or more, in spring and summer and are sometimes followed by small red fruits. In the wild, they are pollinated by hummingbirds, but in cultivation, they generally need to be hand pollinated. They originate from the Highland plateaus of Mexico (Oaxaca, Hidalgo), but are cilutivated throughout the world.

Although all the info I’ve read says they don’t tolerate frost, they have survived many frosty winters outside in my garden, but I must say, since I’ve decided to bring them inside during winter, I do get a much longer and better flowering period. But they do need some cold to produce their flowers, so I keep them in a cool place in the house.

They need to be kept moist all the time so water abundantly in summer. Needs good drainage.

One of my Rattail Cacti over-wintering it in my flower room

I had two of these beauties but this one has gone to a good home, so I will now be lavishing all my attention on the one I have left (below)

The Rattail cactus is another succulent that actually prefers a hanging basket, as the trailing stems can get several feet long. Just prepare a hanging basket with some good succulent soil and lots of drainage. Cut of one of the long tails and plant in the centre of the basket. It will soon send out lots of shoots and before long they will be trailing over the edge.

Happy succulenting!


  1. Hi Maree

    They're beautiful. Where is Johannesburg can I buy this variety?


    1. Hi Anonymous, unfortunately I don't have a clue as to where you can buy a Rattail cactus in Johannesburg (don't know Jhb at all), but maybe you could try Lifestyle Nursery in Randburg, they have quite a selection of succulents and cacti. Thanks a lot for stopping by!

  2. Helene Booysen from the Fairest Cape [where all rejoice because it is currently raining and the dams are filling up nicely!].
    I have been searching the Peninsula as well as well-known Pretoria nurseries for Rattail Cacti but to no avail! Most people do not know what the plant looks like and when I show them a picture, they are amazed how beautiful it is. [I personally think it would be a great seller since it is such a cute and unusual plant!] However, nobody has shown the slightest interest in making enquiries about obtaining it. DO YOU KNOW WHERE I CAN GET A PLANT???? Or even a tiny bit of one? They grow like weed. I had one many years ago.
    Helene Booysen [foster parent of four Italian Greyhounds]


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