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There are at least a half dozen Opuntias in bud or bloom now. The flowers are beautiful in shades of red, orange, yellow, salmon, purple and other color variations. The plants are wicked! Some have spines that are tiny and float in the air when the plant is bumped, such as Opuntia microdasys. Cholla cactus which looks like Opuntia, with 1" to 2" spines, was included in the genus Opuntia, but has been reclassified as a separate genus, Cylindropuntia. The spines continue to be barbed and vicious, even though they're not still, technically, "Opuntia."

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Can you tell me the name of this succulent (assume it is NOT a cactus)? 

Should I keep roots in water while I decide where to plant them….or should they just sit out w/o water (some sites I’ve seen on cactus say to put the plants in shade for a few days without water to let the roots heal to prevent bacteria from entering via roots)?  Right now I have the roots of most of them immersed in water and in full shade.

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As a farmer, I am always aware of the weather and the issues we face during the different seasons. In our area on the Monterey Bay there are many different microclimates that present different challenges for the gardeners in each. We seldom freeze, but it seems we have frost annually several times a year. In the past 10 years we have had 2 freezes that went to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Few plant species have evolved with such a narrow altitudinal range (7500 ft to 8700 ft ), live only on sites facing the equator, and must be bathed in a compost tea flowing from the grassland above. A.p. is the most hardy species in the genus.  Most species of cactus and succulents are more tolerant of a wider range of temperatures, soil moisture, and exposure. Many plant lovers have lost their prized specimens because of such misunderstanding.

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The theme of Extravaganza 2013 is PASSION. Everyone speaking, volunteering, attending, and participating has a passion for succulents. While passion is the theme, creativity is the focus. All of the speakers and volunteers are creative, driven individuals with new ideas for incorporating succulents into, not just gardens, but daily life. From accessorizing with succulents to making more succulents to photographing succulents for lasting memories, everyone on the schedule has amazing ideas for ways that all of the attendees can go home and continue to cover the world with succulents.

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An amazing set of speakers lined up for Succulent Extravaganza 2013!!

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Many people ask me, what is the difference between a cactus and a succulent? All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cacti are new world plants, meaning they all originated in the Americas. I know there are some beautiful cactus gardens in North Africa and around the Mediterranean, but the fact is all of the cacti originated in the Americas. To keep this simple, let's just say that most cacti have spines and there are 1,000's of varieties. When working with cacti as opposed to most other succulents, know that cacti use less water than other succulents and require better drainage and aeration in the soil they are grown in. to accomplish this, double the amount of amendment added to the soil compared to what you would do with other succulents. If you're landscaping in the ground, in areas where there is 20 or more inches of rain per year, you will be more successful by creating a raised bed in which to plant the cacti.

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Deanna Foster Design 2

This project was a response to some very specific needs.  My clients had lost their house and most of their landscaping in the Jesusitas Fire in Santa Barbara in May 2009. They were able to rebuild using many new fire resistant features in their replacement house.  I was called in to design the landscaping around the house which also required fire resistant features.  I decided to use succulents even though I was just learning about them.  I thought they were beautiful and could make a spectacular, fire-resistant design.  Succulents also go very well with the gravel mulch required in the high fire zones in Santa Barbara and with the boulders on the property.  My clients fell in love with succulents and once we discovered a good source for cactus they kept asking for more!  The most exciting part of this project for me was the growing interest my clients took in the project.  When I started they were exhausted from the rebuild of their house and told me to just do whatever I thought would look nice, but as the project progressed they became more and more interested and involved.  Who could resist those succulents and Cacti?! 

www.deannafostergardendesign.com

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The Succulent Globe My production crew spent a week planting the globe. The cuttings were prepared the previous week. I used the small blow up globe, shown in the background, to mark which varieties I wanted used to represent the different oceans and land masses.  There were about 30,000 cuttings. We used Echeveria secunda, Echeveria pulidonis-derenbergii hybrid, Echeveria subsessilis, Echeveria secunda 'Blue Mist' and Sedum dasyphyllum for the oceans. For the land masses we used Sedum nussbaunianum in the drier regions of the world. For the frozen areas we used Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco' and Echeveria elegans. For other areas of the land masses, I used a combination of Sempervivums, Crassulas, and Sedums.

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Seed Grown Aloe ProphyllaSucculent propagation isn't all about cuttings! We actually grow several varieties of succulents from seed collected from our plants here at the nursery. Here's a peek behind the production at Succulent Gardens for two popular plants.

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