Thursday March 1, 2018 General Meeting
LACSS Meeting first Thursday of the Month
Doors open 6:15pm
Sepulveda Garden Center 16633 Magnolia Blvd, Encino, CA 91436.
March Program- The Secrets of Growing Quality Cacti and other Succulents
Wendell S. (Woody) Minnich 2013
How do you find out what the secrets are? They are important strategies about how to grow plants
well and they can be accomplished by doing five easy things: visiting habitats, traveling from garden to
garden the world over, participating in shows, accessing numerous cactus and succulents books, and most
importantly, talking with the growers of these wonderful plants. It is your awesome opportunity to learn
from these various experiences!
With these experiences, it doesn’t take long to learn the many different approaches on how to
grow quality cacti and succulents. Like most things, years of experience help, but seeing cacti and
succulents in the field (their natural habitat) gives one incredibly valuable insight. Also, visiting
numerous collections and gardens around the world helps add an even greater dimension to the
understanding of cultivation in various environments. Participating in cactus and succulent shows is
another great way to give one a full perspective on how to present and grow quality plants. Last, but not
least, read the books! Don’t hesitate to use all of these available means to add to your information bank,
and mostly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. “Why” is the biggest word in the world! Many of the
factors for growing quality plants aren’t really secrets, but often, only the stories not shared or observed!
We will refer to both cacti and succulents as “succulents” because all cacti are succulent.
Succulent plants are what they are for a reason! The storage of water is what gives them their succulent
character and this storage is what gives them the ability to survive in often harsh habitats. The great
majority of our succulent plants come from deserts or relatively arid regions. These environments are
often very dry, and usually lack moisture for extended periods of time. These same habitats are usually
very sunny and often reach high summer temperatures when moisture can so quickly be lost. Thus, our
plants are succulent, because they must have water storage to get them through the often extended hot and
or dry times.
Due to the variable environments that our succulent plants come from, there are many
considerations that one must keep in mind. These factors include:
* At what time of the year does water generally become available and how?
* What are the high and low temperatures and air movement from the dry to wet times?
* What is the substrate, soils or rocks or bark, the growing medium?
* Does the substrate contain minerals, acids, alkalinity and or nutrients?
* What is the plant’s method of water storage, leaves, stems or roots – tubers?
* What is the plant’s method of acquiring water - roots or foliar?
* What is the plant’s orientation to the sun, amount of exposure, nurse plants etc.?
* What is the plant’s ability to take or need cold temperatures?
* What are the plant’s root-system needs, confinement or open, drainage, temperatures?
* When does the plant grow or when is it dormant?
* What is the elevation at which the plant naturally grows?
* When does the plant normally flower and fruit?
* Does the plant have any symbiotic relationships?
* What are the plant’s enemies: insects, bacteria, fungi, animals etc.?
In a general way, we will cover all of these aspects and how they relate to you and your overall
growing environment. Each one of us live in a slightly, to extremely different micro niche. It is from all of
the above mentioned factors and how we apply them that will determine how successfully we grow our
plants. Don’t forget, much like life itself, it is often from our mistakes that we gain our greatest learning
March Plants of the Month