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Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society of Washington State

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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Opuntia, Native plants--Washington, Cactaceae (Cactus family), Cactus and Succulents

Does the Opuntia fragilis in the Puget Sound carry a vernacular name of dune or shore prickly pear?


The most common vernacular name of the cactus Opuntia fragilis in Washington is brittle prickly pear. When I searched for dune or shore prickly pear, I found these common names connected with other species of Opuntia.

For more information about Opuntia fragilis, see the Washington Flora Checklist and the USDA Plant Profile.

Date 2019-09-19
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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: photoperiodism, Kalanchoe, Failure to flower, Cactus and Succulents, House plants

Why do my house plants stop flowering after I bring them home? They are by a bright, sunny window. I bought Kalanchoe in 4 colors, and none flower any more.


Can you tell me if you feed the houseplants anything? Sometimes plants (indoors or outdoors) which are given a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen will produce a lot of leafy growth at the expense of flowers.

Make certain that you are providing ideal conditions for growing Kalanchoe. According to Barbara Pleasant's The Complete Houseplant Survival Guide (Storey, 2005), Kalanchoe grown indoors needs bright direct sunlight, and warm temperatures (70-90 degrees) from late spring to early fall. In fall and winter, it requires 50-70 degrees. It should not receive any fertilizer from late winter to early spring, and in winter, let soil dry out between light waterings. More importantly, Kalanchoe responds to changes in its exposure to light, which is referred to as photoperiodism. Pleasant says that "before a kalanchoe will make buds, it must be exposed to a series of long, sunny days followed by at least 2 weeks of short days, less than 12 hours long. This is easy enough to accomplish by placing plants outside in summer and then bringing them indoors in late fall, just before nighttime temperatures drop below about 40 degrees. After you bring the plant in, keep it in a room where no lights used at night. When brought into bloom naturally, kalanchoes flower in January and February. To speed up the schedule, cover the plants with a box for 14 hours each night for 14 consecutive days. Blooms will appear about 6 weeks later. Snip off bloom-bearing branches after the flowers fade."

Date 2019-09-11
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Agavaceae (Agave family), Yucca, Reference books, Lewisia, Cactaceae (Cactus family), Xeriscaping, Cactus and Succulents, Sempervivum, Sedum

Ready for a truly drought tolerant garden? Plant hardy cactus and succulents. The only requirement for these plants is perfect drainage. Hardy succulents can die of rot in our winter wet. Overcome that challenge by building raised beds and mixing plenty of gravel and sand into the planting hole. The book Cacti and Other Succulents by Keith Grantham and Paul Klaassen (Timber press, $34.95) reports the following plants are good candidates for growing outside in the Pacific Northwest:

  • Cacti
    • Echinocereus triglochidiatus (hedgehog cactus)
    • Opuntia humifusa (prickly pear cactus)
    • Coryphantha vivipara (pincushion cactus)
  • Succulents
    • Delosperma cooperi (ice plant)
    • Calyptridium umbellatum (pussypaws)
    • Yucca
    • Agave paryi
    • Lewisia cotyledon
    • Sedum
    • Sempervivum.

Date: 2007-04-03
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Plant and garden societies, Cactus and Succulents

With foliage plants all the rage these days and drought tolerance a must, consider adding a few succulents to your garden. A new book by Yvonne Cave called Succulents for the Contemporary Garden (Timber Press, 2003) highlights many beautiful succulents that can grow outside in well draining soil. If you want to learn more about the wonderful world of cacti and succulents join a society: The Cascade Cactus and Succulent Society of Washington state meets once a month, usually at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Contact president Karen Summers, (206)365-0315 for details on joining, or go to their website. Also consider joining the Cactus and Succulent Society of America, which publishes an excellent bimonthly glossy magazine. Contact Mindy Fusaro, CSSA Treasurer, PO Box 2615, Pahrump, NV 89041-2615, (775)751-1320.

Date: 2003-04-01
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