Inter-City Cactus Show & Sale

I went to the show, had my mind blown, took some pictures. In other words, a typical succulent show…except that I introduced myself to a best-selling author on succulents in the landscape and containers and then gushed and fawned and stammered and…oh, the shame!

But the plants loved being fawned over. What utter showboats.

I’m always surprised to see lush leaves and delicate flowers springing from a bloated, contorted, caudiciform base, as in Stephania venosa.


Evem common sempervivums and aeoniums strut and preen like show dogs. That glow is all in the grooming and staging.



Aloe ‘Coral Fire,’ a Kelly Griffin hybrid.


Agave stricta. Brown pot, brown leaf tips. Sometimes it’s best not to overanalyze and go with uncomplicated.


Or there’s always the baroque approach. Succulents on a clamshell.


Euphorbia poissonii. Really makes you wonder what defenses a plant could possibly have to merit this name in a genus well-known for its caustic, milky sap.
From Wikipedia: “The most active toxin…binds to pain receptors…It stimulates the neurons to fire repeatedly, causing pain.” I note the Wiki photo looks like an entirely different plant, but image searches also show the euphorbia depicted in this photo:


The dyckias were ravishing.


Sometimes it’s hard to imagine living with these show plants on a day-to-day basis. Having a quiet breakfast on the sun porch among your treasures — wait a second. Wasn’t the abromeitiella on that table last night? And who took the sports page? C’mon ‘bro, give it back.

Abromeitiella brevifolia.


I think I’ve seen this enormous Moringa ovalifolia in the several shows I’ve attended this summer. Just wheel him in and hand the ribbon over.


Succulent shows are where horticulture definitely veers off into the fetishistic, obsessive, hobbyist realm, which might make garden designers uncomfortable, but there’s an incredible amount of cultivation knowledge to be gained, and each plant arrives pre-Photoshopped for your contemplation of its ideal state. A succulent show is an unapologetic plant zoo.

The show will also be held today, August 14, 2011, at the LA Arboretum, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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12 Responses to Inter-City Cactus Show & Sale

  1. nikkipolani says:

    Yes, it was like a zoo! So many unusual and interesting and bizarre things to see. And I half expected to run into you at the show 😉 I’m a novice when it comes to succulents, but I couldn’t help buying a few plants to play with.

  2. Denise says:

    NP, that’s it! Next time I go to a plant show/sale, I’m wearing a name badge. And I really hate to wear name badges, but I’d hate even more to miss another opportunity to meet you.

  3. hb says:

    Awwwwww heck, I missed it! I thought it was next weekend!

    Getting up several times in the middle of the night every night for an elderly dog is taking its toll.

  4. Thank you for the mini tour!

  5. Grace says:

    That Abro whatever is a riot. It does look like it sort of swipes things and hides them under its skirt. The first place to check with the car keys go missing. LOL Great post as always, Denise.

  6. Denise says:

    Hoov, you poor thing. Please take care of yourself too.
    Loree, you’re welcome! You’ve given so many great tours this summer.
    Grace, isn’t that guy a little terrifying in an exquisite kind of way?

  7. Matti says:

    That Abromeitiella brevifolia is amazing. We have one that isn’t doing so well…but making a come back. Great show you were at, love the pics. Matti

  8. Jenn says:

    Love your commentary. And those plants! Fun!

  9. Pam/Digging says:

    It’s good to have one’s mind blown from time to time. I quite like the baroque approach and will be looking for a large clamshell on my next beach trip.

  10. Denise says:

    Matti, it’d be cool to grow it in flat dishes. Think of the kitsch possibilities! Mini croquet lawns, etc.
    Jenn, it was a fun time for people and plant watching.
    Pam, the interaction between people and the plants they love that’s evident at these shows, always mind-blowing. And congrats again on your upcoming book!

  11. Ha, looks like we took pictures of some of the same plants. I loved the dyckias too but most of the ones available at the sale were a little expensive for me. I ended up stuffing my box full of $5 agaves.

  12. Hervé says:

    Beautiful plant, the last one is not Moringa but Adenia (glauca or spinosa?).

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