Confession: Ryan and I attended the San Diego Succulent & Cactus Show & Sale, but we ended up completely missing the show. Why? Because we were busy buying every succulent in sight.
We were not alone. Up and down the ten or so aisles under a dedicated tent in Balboa Park, there were lots of people reaching for rare plants at honest prices. No one got elbowed, but I felt my sample sale instincts kick in when someone tried to “casually examine” the Copiapoa tenuissma Ryan had put down for a second. In a space full of desert plants, the scene was a jungle. And we loved every minute.
The first plant we grabbed was the last one left in its section, a variegated Senecio ‘Ivy’ that, amazingly, is a succulent that looks and climbs like ivy. We found Astrophytum, a favorite genus after our visit to Terra Sol, in wild colors and textures. We got a gasteria that resembles strips of raw denim.
Two weekends later, we followed our succulent cravings to Los Angeles. We attended the LA Cactus & Succulent Society Drought Tolerant Plant Festival and Sale, held annually at Sepulveda Garden Center in Encino. We bought some beauties there too. And this time, we made it in to see the show plants, and voted for our favorites!
If you’ll let us geek out for a minute, here’s the complete rundown of the plants we saw, the plants we picked up, and why we’re excited about them.
Missed these events? Don’t sweat — there are still three major succulent shows left this summer in Southern California:
July 1–3: CSSA Annual Show & Sale — The Huntington Library Art Collection & Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. (Show opens on July 2.)
July 21–23: Orange County Cactus & Succulent Society Summer Show & Sale — Anaheim United Methodist Church, 1000 S. State College Boulevard, Anaheim.
August 13–14: 31st Annual Intercity Show & Sale LA County Arboretum — 301 N. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia. For information, contact Tom Glavich at 626-798-2430 or Artie Chavez at 818-482-8795.
2016 San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society Annual Plant Show and Sale
Pick a succulent, any succulent. But do it fast! With so many choices at reasonable prices, plants were flying off the table.
This $40 plant wasn’t tagged, but Ryan thought it looked so friendly that he almost
hugged it took it home! We think it’s a type of Mammillaria. Grower: Cal Cactus.
Hoyas are succulents too. The leaves of this Hoya meliflua ssp. fraterna are the biggest we’ve seen in this genus.
Eyes all over the Ferocactus variegata…
Ferocactus variegata. All variegated plants of this species are mutants. Rare, wonderful mutants.
A handsome Gymnocalycium spegazzinii. We love the grey backwards curling spines. We passed on buying this one, and almost immediately regretted it.
Astrophytum “Super Kabuto” resembles a mini-pumpkin. (Hence the name.)
Our eyes are often drawn toward the Astrophytums and Copiapoas.
Pseudolithos migiurtinus from Somalia are very rare succulent milkweeds. Although we have been warned that they tend to rot (and deflate) due to overwatering and underwatering (arg), we decided to give one a try. Grower: www.succulents.us.
Here’s the specimen we took home. Grower: Cactus Data Plants.
Senecio pendulus, native to Yemen and Saudi Arabia. We’re in awe of this purple pattern. Grower: www.succulents.us.
That didn’t take long!
Giant jewel plant (Aloinopsis malherbei) appreciates light shade and looks a bit like a galaxy.
Titanopsis calcarea. Grower: John Matthews Succulents.
Variegated German Ivy, Cape Ivy ‘Variegata’ (Senecio mikanioides). Grows well indoors too! A succulent that looks like ivy: What more could you ask for?
Gasteria batesiana. Grower: CRM Plants. The dark, rich color of the foliage indicates a tolerance for lower-light settings. In sunnier spots, the plant will develop ruby patches.
Echinocactus platyacanthus (native central Mexico). Grower: C/T Parr Plants.
2016 Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society Drought Tolerant Plant Festival
Presentations included Matt Maggio’s “Landscaping with Aloes.”
John Matthews Plants.
Rebutia ‘Sunrise’ and Rebutia heliosa ssp. heliosa.
Rebutia ‘Sunrise.’ We love the blueish color of the plant next to the pale pink flowers.
This breathtaking variegated Echinopsis variety won 2nd place.
Astrophytum variety. Astounding.
Gymnocalycium: 2nd place.
Haworthia truncata variety, also known as horse’s teeth. (No kidding.) This species is native to South Africa, and orange varieties in particular are coveted.
Some day our baby Copiapoa tenuissma could look like this!
Ariocarpus fissuratus cv. GODZILLA. Caps intentional. Submitted by Kal Kaminer. It won 1st place!
The sansevieria display. This genus goes way beyond the mother-in-law’s tongue you see in houseplant guides. We’re partial to the S. cylindrica!
A closer look at the sansevieria.
Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus crested.
Turbinicarpus sauri. The heavy wool-like spination is the plant’s reponse to environmental factors like high light intensity and hot and cold extremes. It also protects new growth areas and hides developing fruit from predators.
The lithops display kind of resembled rows of collectible coins. It was one of our favorite installations!
Two words: CACTUS COUCH.
Ryan continues to build his empire.
Snooping on the community garden at the Sepulveda Garden Center.
Euphorbia susannae or Suzanne’s spurge. Grower: Desert Creations Nursery.
The names for this one are fun: Finger Mound, Peyotillo, Nipple Cactus…
Gymnocalycium spegazzinii. We didn’t let this one slip away! Grower: Desert Creations Nursery.
Aloinopsis rubroliniata from Kyle’s Plants, a textured, low-key stunner.