Cactus are great plants, for both pot and landscape cultivation. Sometimes we forget (at least I do) that they also can be great flowering plants. The following article is mostly a pictorial of some of the more impressive cactus flowers.
Usually when someone thinks of cactus, they visualize a typical segmented Opuntia, stout barrel cactus, or some tall, spiny columnar plant. Cactus come in all shapes and varieties though some do not look like typical cacti, or even like cacti at all. This article is an introduction to some of the more unusual-looking cacti that some might not at first identify as cacti.
Cats often will eat cat grass, and you can find it for sale just about anywhere today. But is it good for cats? Is it necessary? Why do they eat it? These are the questions that will be discussed in this article.
Can you enjoy growing rare, exotic plants on a small scale and make a little money, too? This article is not about how to start, operate or manage a nursery, or how to make a profit doing so. I honestly know nothing about the business of horticulture. Nor does this article discuss the more common plants most Dave's Garden readers know and grow. I know next to nothing about most of those kinds of plants either, or whether any would be a good investment. This article simply discusses some of the things I have discovered about the potential investment possibilities of collecting, owning and someday reselling a private collection of exotic plants. Some, it turns out, may actually be decent financial investments.
This article is an introduction to the genus Mammillaria, one of the most beautiful genera of cacti for cultivation. It is also a discussion of some of the more common and hardy species I have grown. Though I am far from an expert on the subject, I have been growing these cacti for over 15 years and have learned through trial and error--with an excessive amount of the latter--which Mammillarias are relatively easy, and which really should be grown only by those with more expertise and a greenhouse.
Bromeliads are among the most spectacular house and landscape plants available, but they are also one of the most overlooked. The following is a brief introduction to most of the bromeliad genera available in cultivation.
Cycas include some of the most commonly grown potted as well as landscape cycads in cultivation... but there are many many more! This article serves as an introduction to some of these amazing plants grown all around the world.
Dasylirions are one of the most ornamental of the desert landscape plants commonly available in cultivation. This article serves as an introduction to these beautiful plants along with some cultivational information as well.
The following article includes an introduction to variegated succulents, and then an overview of some of the more commonly grown Agaves and related variegated succulents in cultivation. Future articles will cover some of the other variegated succulents (Aloes, Euphorbias, etc.)
Dyckias and Hechtias are two terrestrial bromeliad species that are excellent potted as well as landscape plants, particularly for warm, arid climates. The following serves as an introduction to some of these plants and suggestions on how to grow them.
Puya is a little known bromeliad from South and Central America that grow as an unassuming but thorny twisted leaf mass, but also some of the most spectacular plants in the plant kingdom. The following article is an introduction to some of the more impressive as well as common species of Puyas grown in cultivation.
Bamboo is one of the most ornamental as well as easy to grow garden and potted plants, but is often overlooked or avoided because of fears it will take over the yard (and the neighbor's yard). This article serves only as an introduction to this wonderful class of plants.
One of the best landscape palms are the Livistonas. These are tall (mostly), solitary fan palms from Australia, Asia (and one from Africa). Most are cold hardy, though not all, and relatively fast growing (again, not all), which makes them useful and practical landscape palms in both the tropics and more marginal zones. The following article is an introduction to some of these palms and my experiences growing those that I can in southern California.
This article is partly to help the reader clear up some of the confusion that is common with identifying and growing spotted aloes.... but as most readers of these articles couldn't really care less about which spotted aloe is which, I have to admit writing this article is mostly a mentally cathartic process to help me clear my own mind up, as much as possible, concerning this quagmire of spotted aloe idenfication.
Trachycarpus are relatively cold hardy and very ornamental fan palms commonly used in landscaping and gardens all over the world. New species are becoming available all the time and most are easy to grow. The following article is an introduction and discussion of most of these palms.
Aloes are one of the best succulent plants for both landscape use and growing in pots. This article will serve as an introduction to a variety of Aloe types, as well as an introduction to aloe parts, so subsequent articles might be more easily understood.
Ever since I have been interested in plants the weird things called Medusoid Euphorbias have fascinated me. The following brief article is an introduction to this wonderfully ornamental category of caudiciform succulents.
There are many species of Oxalis and some are even ones I have acquired on purpose- those are ones I don't consider 'weeds' and of course they are also the ones that die on me. But Oxalis stricta, aka Common Yellow Woodsorrel, Lemon Clover, Yellow Oxalis etc., is difficult to kill and nearly impossible to eradicate. It shows up anywhere and everywhere as if by spontaneous generation. It is one of the most annoying and difficult weeds to control in a cactus and succulent collection (and probably any plant collection for that matter). The article offers few solutions, but at least discusses some of ones options including personal experiences and failures.
Ever visit a nursery and be amazed and tempted by the cool and weird looking succulents being offered for sale, for just a few dollars... but didn't know which ones were easy, and which were gonna die for sure? I have many times. This article is a brief guide to some of the easy and not-so-easy succulents commonly encountered at the average nursery that will carry such plants.
Though Palms are Trees, because their root structure differs from most dicot trees, there may be different strategies to planting palms other than one might use to plant most other trees. This short article is a discussion of some various techniques used by palm specialists, along with some of my own blunders.
The members of the Araucaceae are beautiful and majestic trees and many just happen to grow well where I live in California. The following is an introduction to some of the more common species and a little cultivational information.
Aeoniums are one of the most ornamental of all the succulents. Even those that don't appreciate succulents seem to like these plants. Perhaps it is the fact they look like large, colorful, rubbery flowers that these popular plants have such an appeal. And luckily many are easy plants to grow as well. The following article is an introduction, along with some of my own experiences, to these amazing plants.
When palms are described in terms of their hardiness, almost always it is reference to their cold hardiness. This is how a palm gets a USDA number of let's say 8a, 9b or 11 etc. However there are severe limitations to this hardiness designation that pertain to the cultivation of palms (this is probably the case with many other plant species as well, but I am most familiar with palms). These other forms of hardiness can be completely overlooked if one is reading texts and referring simply to a palm's USDA hardiness rating. And serious miscalculations concerning the likelihood of a certain species ability to survive one's marginal climate can lead to disappointment and loss of potentially costly plants. The following article is a discussion of some of these other important hardiness parameters.
Tired of the same old assortment of pots for your burgeoning collection of succulent plants? We were. Good choices for potting succulents are rarely available and at many standard nurseries or garden centers. The following article is a discussion of some solutions to this problem and a pictorial introduction to some of these 'other' pots.
The following article is a discussion, from a personal experience point of view, of the Echeverias. I have grown dozens of Echeverias in pots and in the ground in Southern California and consider them one of the best and easiest plants to grow in this climate. There are hundreds of Echeveria species of which only a fraction are available in cultivation, but I have tried to grow many of these available species (though I certainly have not tried them all). In addition the the species, there is a seemingly infinite number of Echeveria hybrids available and I will discuss a few of these as well.
Being a veterinarian and a pet owner I sometimes have a different perspective when it comes to battling garden insects as many of the toxins we use to casually use in our garden can be potentially quite hazardous to ours pets. I see a lot of poisoning cases in the veterinary emergeny room, most from toxins meant for rodents or bugs. This article is an attempt to familiarize the reader with some of the more common dangerous and less dangerous insecticides available for use to the general public.