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I Come Out as a Cactus Lover

GD Cover & DLB annotated_resized

When profiled by Garden Design magazine, I took the opportunity to come out as a cactus lover.

Well, I had to. They asked about trends in the world of succulents. I believe my progression is fairly typical. Most of us start out loving succulents that look like fleshy roses—echeverias, graptoverias and the like. As people gain appreciation for the lines, textures and shapes of all succulents, they inevitably arrive at those that exhibit elegant simplicity at its best—never mind that they have spines (in fact, sometimes because they do).

Note I’m not talking about common prickly pear—the plant most of us have bad childhood memories of. (Ow!) There are SO many other kinds of cacti.

The article’s portrait shot (above right) shows me surrounded by columnar cacti with spines that glow yellow-orange in the late-afternoon sun. Yep, I wore turquoise on purpose.

Herewith, I offer a dozen reasons why cacti are the coming thing…in waterwise gardens and in Garden Design.

Cacti in square pot

In a word: symmetry. Mammillarias in particular have it nailed.

Poodle opuntia

They offer astonishing textures. I mean, c’mon, fur? Opuntia sp.

Echinocactus rubrispinus

Endearingly, cacti don’t take themselves too seriously. Echinocactus pectinatus rubrispinus.

Cactus snowflakes

Some think they’re snowflakes.

Cactus flower looks like waterlily

Others, waterlilies (Trichocereus hybrids at left)

Mammillaria elongata crest

And brains (Mammillaria elongata crest)….

Succulent looks like bird

Or birds. (Cleistocactus strausii)

Cactus flowers look like roses

A few are in touch with their feminine side (roses at left, opuntia at right).

Lophocereus

Others, not so much.

Mammillaria fragilis

More than a few are darn cute. Each of these thimble cacti is less than an inch in diameter.

GD Cover & DLB annotated_resized

But here’s what I like best about cacti: How they’re haloed by the sun. The spinier the better.

Are you a formerly closeted cactus fancier too? If there’s enough of us, I may organize a pride march.

Mini Succulent High Desert Garden video

View how I assembled the container garden shown in the article. 

 

Related info on this site:

Why Cactus is PopularCactus designBizarre succulents

Books by Debra Lee Baldwin

 

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Debra’s DIY Quick, Easy, Colorful Succulent Container Garden

To make my my quick, easy and colorful succulent container garden, you’ll need a 12-inch container, “cactus mix” potting soil, a piece of window screen to cover the hole (optional), one large echeveria (like ‘Afterglow’) to go in the center, several nursery pots of Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ (or similar), and a fine-leaved sedum for tucking into gaps (I used ‘Cape Blanco’).

DIY Quick, Easy, Colorful Succulent Container Garden

DIY Quick, Easy, Colorful Succulent Container Garden DIY Quick, Easy, Colorful Succulent Container Garden 

Learn more and find additional options for lovely potted succulent combos in my bestselling book, Succulent Container Gardens.  Also visit my YouTube channel for dozens of how-to videos of creative, eye-catching design ideas featuring succulents.

More info on this site:

DIY Succulent Centerpiece, Step-by-Step
A raised pedestal container garden with a lush collection of succulents looks complicated, but it’s simple once you… [Continue reading]

Where and How to Order Succulents Online

The succulents in my YouTube videos and design projects mostly come from the largest grower of cacti and succulents in the US: Altman Plants—specifically [Continue reading]

Succulent Desk Buddies DIY

“Desk buddies” are succulents that look good on your desk and require almost no care. They’re cute and classy, and visitors invariably ask… [Continue reading]

Succulent Basics, Must-Do’s and FAQs

Here are the essentials for growing succulents successfully. If all this is new to you, you’ll want to refer to this page often. And even if you’re experienced…[Continue reading]