Cactus garden pictures

jimhardySeptember 30, 2009

Here are some pics of my cactus garden in Iowa

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That looks Awesome! But are they ALL Cold Hardy? I see you have a lot of Gravel but how is the drainage? Many of your cactus look very fat! You don't want them like that when it gets cold. What is the small Round cactus in front of the O. ficus-indica? It's behind and to the right of the skull.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 4:41PM
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WOWOWOW!!!!And in your growing zone..Great work Jim!!!!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 4:57PM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

Beautiful!!! How do you protect them in winter seeing that you are zone 5.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Everything is cold hardy to 0F.Some of the(sm) barrels and Agaves are hardy to -20F.Temp went as low as 12F last year in the enclosure-see picture below-
I dug down a foot,put crushed limestone underneath,then"pea"gravel,(definitely bigger than peas)then a layer of sand.It drys out very quickly and drains extremely well.
We had about 4 weeks of dry weather,end of Aug-Sept,(temps on the surface of the bed were 90-100F everyday!)then we got 2-3" of rain ,so they drank up-
I cover them with a shield when it rains starting in Oct,so they have a few months(sometimes more) before the cold hits.
The little barrel behind the skull is-Corypantha vivipara

johnh or-
This is pic of how I protected them and here's a few others

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:30AM
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Very impressive and the flowers are so beautiful! I'm amazed at the effort you put in to have these. They are lucky to have a such a good home!

Thanks for sharing. :)


    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Very beautiful! But what do ya do with the palms and banana?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Very Kool! ;o)

Did you do the digging by shovel?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 6:55PM
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inlovewithhoyas(Boston,MA Z6)

Beautiful cactus collection and what about those blooms! Thank you for sharing the pics.

Nae boston

Le fleur est belle. =)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:32PM
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All the palms in the ground stay in the ground,they are all(cold hardy) covered and heated if temps drop below 10F(same with cactus)I use a small heater in the big enclosure and X-mas lights in the small ones,the cactus saw about 12F last winter,the palms 5F,briefly.
All but one of the bananas are Musa Basjoo.M.basjoo is able to be mulched and comes back from corm in spring,the other one will be dug up and stored in the basement to keep it's current size.Here's some pics of the whole yard and what it looked like last winter/night.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 11:47PM
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mauch1(z6b PA)

Very beautiful!!!!

It appears that your plants are completely covered - you don't have any problems with overheating? I'm in the process of buildling a large outdoor garden, but was leaning toward lean-to type open shelters for the more sensitive plants.

I believe in your original posting the fourth picture down the cactus on the left is O. imbricata (or C. imbricata). What is the smooth appearing prickly pear near the center?

What agaves are in your garden there?


    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:05AM
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Jim, great winter hardy cactus garden....(maybe you should try roses since you are not affriad to cover things). I recognize some of my winter hardy favorites (thanks to your previous posts, I think)..delopserma, agave paryii, and opuntia imbricata.

Most of my plants are planted in a 2-3 foot retaining wall and now I am looking to expand. Also, I added thyme, silene, and some sedums, and semperviums (every time I go to a nursery,I am amazed at the variety of these seemingly common plants). Also, while not a succulent per se, butterfly weed looks right at home in a garden like does red hotpoker!

I do not cover my plants, but I only have a handful planted in the ground, most are in pots awaiting their final destination since the hardy cactus bed isn't ready yet....your pics were an inspiration for me to get started.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 6:03PM
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johnh_or(Portland OR Z8)

Amazing!!!! Got one of your cactus bloom pics on my desktop....Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 6:48PM
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milwdave(Zone5 Milwaukee)

Don't forget to try some species tulips in the cactus garden. They love that gritty soil and baking in the summer sun. And they multiply rapidly there. That O imbricata is a beauty. So are the Escobarias and Echinocereus. But I'll second the request. What is that Naked Opuntia?


    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:15AM
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ilovecacti_grower(8, GA)

i love the golden barrel clump in pic number six of post number 1

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 11:55AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

The opuntia that is naked looks like a O. cacanapa ellisiana. Is that it? Some people also have something called Burbank Spineless but I don't think that is it even though I have seen it called that also. I have seen lots of things calle Burbank Spineless. These pads do get fat and skinny in regards to the differing weather conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 6:11PM
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Now that's impressive. The neighbors must be amazed too! Love the cholla. Very large and healthy looking.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 8:48PM
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txcactus(7b Dallas/Fort Worth)

How beautiful! I have a cholla that I'm struggling with. Yours is a great example of what mine should be. Thanks so much for sharing. Your pictures have made my day! :-)

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:06PM
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Hi....fantastic!!!....I live in minnesota and I don't think that garden would work here I have one pad type cactus outside here and its outside year round.
love your garden...thanks for the pictures...linda

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 9:30PM
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All the little palm huts have flaps I open when it's sunny and forecast to be above freezing,otherwise the temps are usually 30F above outside temps in sun.The desert"house was a little tricky in spring when it was 70F in March and hit 100F inside,I basically had to tear the front off and keep the fan on.The only by-product of this was the cactus flowered a little early,they are pretty tough!

I think the Opuntia is,Engelmanni lindheimeri?If anyone has a better guess?I'm open to it- It was bought off E-bay from a seller in Texas,said to be hardy to 0F.

Agaves, A.Parryi,A.Havardiana,A.Neomexicana,A.Parryi(blue form)

Thanks Bradarmi
I do have Red hot poker and Butterfly,they are kind of hard to see in the second to last picture of house and some Roses,cream color and blue moon.

That one is Echinocereus tubiflora.It puts out massive flowers,one of theses should be big enough to flower next year.

It looks like that one too! Maybe if it flowers I will know for sure.

I will post a pic of what the cactus garden looked like in March/April-It's amazing how fast they can grow!

Thanks txcactus
That cholla is from Texas!

Thanks Linda

Here's a some pics of spring/THEN and fall/NOW

The 2 "larger" Agaves(2007 pic) were replaced Dec 2008,they were sold to me as Parryi,NOT!and not hardy as they turned out to be A.americana,which is maybe hardy to low 20s-I also added a few small barrels and the Neomexicana and (sm)Parryi(blue form)I also lost a few barrels this spring-TO WET! 2 much 411?



Cactus are such rewarding plants to grow! Who says they grow slow?!!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 11:44PM
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OMG! THat's INcreadible Growth in just Six Months! Can't wait to see next Falls Pictures!!!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 3:23PM
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Yea,everything really grew-barrels,Yuccas,Imbricata went crazy,Opuntia too! The Agaves really surprised me too,the"big" Havardiana and Parryi both put out 8-9 leaves.I did not know they grew that fast,almost as fast as A.americana's 13 leaves.Not to mention the var yucca in front.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 9:40PM
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ilovecacti_grower(8, GA)

oh wow sry
didnt realize well i really like it

pretty awesome im very envious lool
whats the white "clump" of cacti thats in front of the opuntia the white looking one

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 1:28AM
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ilovecacti grower

That'un is-

Echinocereus reichenbachii baileyii(Baileys lace cactus)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 9:41PM
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ilovecacti_grower(8, GA)

sweet do you know where i could get one online or something?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 12:03PM
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txcactus(7b Dallas/Fort Worth)

I keep coming back and looking at your cholla. It looks fabulous. Mine are in pots and I'm going to try to leave them out a little longer this fall. Can anyone tell me at what point it is too cold for cholla in a pot?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 8:37AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Opuntia Engelmannii var lindheimeri ( however you spell it) has rounder pads and yellow translucent needles. There is not a spineless form. I have lots of them in my front field. It looks like what we call Tiger Toungue, or the Opuntia cacanapa var ellisisana like I said before. That's my story and I am sticking to it.. Opuntias are famous for being mislabeled and sold eroniously WRONG by people everywhere, especially on Ebay. I have a hard time identifying things but this is an easy one. Now telling the difference between a O. lindheimeri and a O sanguinicola (sp?) is another matter entirely. The difference in the native species that I have naturally on my land make me pull my hair out, since they change as to what soil they are growing in and how much sun they get changes the color green that they are, and even how the needles form on the pads.I am not a Opuntia specialist and only know enough to be wrong most of the time. I know enough to drive nursery men up a wall when they sell me something I know is misidentified but I don't know what it should be labeled as. I also have a white needled O. englemani and a red flowering O. lindheimerii. so one can not always use the color flower as a identifier. I have heard that there is a pink flowered O. lindheimeri. Some people think that the O lindheimerii and O. englemanii should be seperate species. It sure makes it easier to write down. The Englemanii are mostly west of the Pecos river and the O. lindheimerii are east of it, or so that is what I have I have read.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:52PM
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Amazing! Lots of work, but it looks and sounds like it pays of for you. So when it comes time for me to build all this and provide that amount of care, you will be able to fly out and do it for me...correct?!? haha

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:58PM
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WOW!! You make me ashamed of my overgrown weed riddled beds so you have inspired me to get control. There are some Opuntias that are going to be banned because they grow too fast.

The past few years I have been concentrating more on my Echinocereus plants because they grow painstakingly slow.

It looks like you have kept an Echinopsis of some kind alive through your winter. We have dryer winters and I'm at 4,750 feet so my climate is vastly different, but I'm willing to risk a smaller one.

I usually don't do anything to the soil, but I guess I will put more gravel around the Echinopsis and Trichocereus I'm planning to plant. I don't heat my beds either so I probably won't have your success, but it is fun to experiment as long as I don't risk too much.

Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 4:31PM
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txcactus(7b Dallas/Fort Worth)

I keep coming back to this post. I want one of these succulent gardens. This is just amazing!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 10:12AM
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Your garden is Amazing,somehow when i think of Iowa,i never think of cacti and succulents,what with the winters you have and all that.But i see you found a way to make it work,and very well i might add.TFS

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:25PM
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Heres an updated picture from a few days ago (-: 6-20-11

The Imbricata was killed back to the ground year before last
but has come back over the past 2 years.....also,the Gloriosa
flowered last year and is regrowing it's head!

Thanks for looking!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 1:48PM
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Don't recall seeing the cholla in your other pics, but it looks really great. Can't wait till mine grows to that size. Your agaves are getting big. Is that a siam ruby, and where's the ensete?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 10:46PM
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I love these pics! They are the reason I signed up on this site. I have a native cactus bed started but not planted yet. Hopefully mine will be half as impressive as yours are.

About the cholla, it depends on the species but imbricata simply can't be killed. Mine is in a small raised bed and survived both ice storms last year will no visible damage. I suspect your potted plant could stay outside all year. They are listed as hardy to at least -10 F.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:08PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Many chollos grow in Colorado and Utah naturally, so it is not the cold that gets them, it is how moisture tolerant they are. It is all about variety. There is one chollo in Z8 Dripping springs that is 8' tall and as wide. It was not phased by anything of the last few winters. It has also lived through 60" of rain along with 6' of rain per annum. True the 60 inches came in 10' per storm incriments. Yes it is an C. imbricata, Texas form.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 4:25PM
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