Succulents rooting in H2O

Cuttings rooted on H2O. Took 2 months to develop roots of 2 to 5 cm. These are Eurphorbia resinifera but also other Euphorbia species root well in water. Ideal temperature is around 20 degrees Celcius (=68 F). Just started an experiment with 2 Lophocereus species. Keep you updated.

The reason for this experiment is that there is an overseas demand for this rooted plant material and as it’s a regulation that no soil particle is allowed to leave the country.. (etc. etc.). At this stage we are rooting a few hundred Euphorbia cuttings (diverse species) in water.

We are no scientists (just make use of them) but we like to experiment and prefer to choose for the most unlikable things. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes not but when you never try you will never know.

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This month in the garden

Every now and than we shoot in the garden; not with a shotgun but with a digital camera. Here 5 pics; one shows a part of the garden (totalling 11,000sqm and over 2500 different succulent plants outdoor); one showing an elephants foot (Dioscera elephantipes); one with a fruiting Pilosocereus lanuginosus; the fourth is a Adenium arabicum with flowers AND seedpods and the last is an overview of our retail nursery. It’s not all succulent here in The Green Cathedral of South Africa but that’s for you to find out; preferable on the spot where you can feel, touch, smell, hear and see.

History of cacti in South Africa

On our website you can find a brief history of cacti in South Africa. Last night we received a nice addition from the USA:

The restablishment of the Soekershof garden after many years of
neglect is fantastic — the photos were fantastic.  Here is what I
have in my records for Marthinus Malherbe:

Malherbe, Marthinus [Maarten] (1885-1976); RSA nurseryman & amateur
botanist; creator & owner of Sheilam Cactus Gardens nursery in
Robertson, RSA on and after 1936; designed succ garden at Soekershof
Walkabout 1965; explored & collected in RSA; introduced cacti &
other Amer succ in RSA 1910; spouse Molly [nee Darling] Malherbe
( -1994);

Nananthus (Aloinopsis) malherbei was named after him and he
discovered Haworthia comptoniana, now Haworthia emelyae var
comptoniana
.”

In addition to this: The name SHEILAM is an abbreviation of the names of his children. During the first 15 years the nursery was named SHEILA and the M was added in 1951 when his (second) wife gave birth to their daughter Marsha.

Where to get viable seeds?

The most rewarding way of enjoying your plants is growing them from seeds. But we understand that not everybody has that much patience and growing plants from seeds is also very labour consuming.

But once the decision is made one wonders where to get the seeds. Ordinary nurseries generally only sell cactus seed mix but for people who want to grow something special it can be difficult to find the right adress for the desired seeds. And than there is always the risk that seeds do not germinate. We’ve had our experiences with that.

One of the few specialised succulent growers with good quality seeds can be found in The Netherlands (more than 80 percent of the seeds germinating; via friends of friends we got around 50 packets. In comparison average less than 10 percent of  germination rate of seeds acquired at South African seed suppliers including the National Botanical Society) . In the online cataloque (secure payment method) of CactusPlaza you will find seeds of over 5000 different succulent species including cacti, mesembs, caudiciforms, etc.

The Dutch supplier states that its seeds are not older than 2 yrs at the most and that most probably explains the high germination rate.

Recommendation for US-readers

ken-and-deena-altman.jpgFor the American readers of this blog we can recommend the website of Altman Plants in Vista CA. Ken & Deena Altman visited us today and they are impressed but our ‘operation’ is small in comparison with theirs: 800 acres on 3 locations in Florida and California of which 290 acres with succulents. And their website is the most informative of all US-nursery websites we’ve seen with pop-ups which describes (with pictures) the different plants. Their prices are, within the USA, very competitive.

What started as a small backyard operation in LA in 1975 has grown into a huge well organised nursery.

A real ‘green’ shade-cloth’

Many nurseries but also hobbyists are using shade-cloth to protect their nursery-succulents from sun-burn damage. Shade also has the advantage of less water evaporation.

Whatever colour shade-cloth one uses it always has the disadvantage of ‘horizon-pollution. That’s why Soekershof Walkabout started with a three year program to get rid of all shade-nets and replace this with natural shade. In another blogsite you can read how.

Natural shade by (caudiciform-) climbers has the disadvantage that it takes a few years before the area is covered and that it needs some additional cleaning (falling leaves -advantage: compost-). The most attractive advantage is a lively ‘shade-cloth’ with, in season(s), colourfull flowers.