Jim Sudal’s Cactus Pad Holiday Tree

Cactus Christmas tree

Jim Sudal’s cactus pad holiday tree is a great reinterpretation of the traditional fir tree, and perfect for the dry, hot Southwest. Like Jim, many residents of Phoenix (and well beyond) have stands of prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica). The juicy-leaved succulent is iconic to the region. “Last year I built a garland around my gallery…

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Succulent White-Pot Pairings

White pots are a simple, effective way to display your prized succulents and cacti. Here I’ve paired colorful, geometric cacti and sculptural succulent euphorbias with an assortment of white-glazed containers. Solo or in groupings, succulent white-pot pairings would look good on your patio, deck, entryway or sunroom. See the 4-min. video: Succulent White-Pot Pairings. #1…

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The Joys of Cholla (Cylindropuntia)

Cholla backlit (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

In Baja California recently I was showing off my knowledge of native succulents when one “got” me. The friend who was taking a video with my phone gasped when I unsuccessfully tried to set a 3-inch-long chunk of cholla (“choy-ah”) cactus back onto a boulder. It resolutely clung to my fingers.     When I…

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Why Grow Paddle Cacti? DLB’s 16 Reasons

Opuntia fruit (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Of the dozen or so types of cacti in my garden, I have more opuntias than any other. Also known as paddle cactus or prickly pear, Opuntia species have stems shaped like ping-pong paddles. New pads grow from older ones after rains drench the roots and help fuel new growth. Typically these new pads, and flowers that turn…

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How to Create a Cactus Curio Box

Cacti are succulents with simple shapes, and none illustrate the plants’ elegantly elemental geometry as well as spherical varieties. To showcase the beauty of these often-ignored succulents, I went with an open wood box with a dozen partitions, each just right for cacti in 2.5-inch pots. My goal was to elevate textural, glowing orbs to the status of jewelry or artwork.

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A Dozen Reasons I Love Cacti

Cactus backlit (c) Debra Lee Baldwin

Why do I love cacti? It’s a natural progression: As we gain appreciation for the lines, textures and shapes of succulents, we arrive at those that exhibit elegant simplicity—never mind that they have spines (in fact, sometimes because they do). Here are a dozen reasons.

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