The Cactus and Succulent Society of Southern Nevada and Moon-Sun Gardens are hosting the “Cactus Show and Art Fair” Saturday and April 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Moon-Sun Cactus and Koi Gardens located at 6430 McGill Ave.
This show and sale features multiple vendors of fine cactuses and succulents along, with local artists and crafters. Experts will provide educational demonstrations throughout the sale.
If you want your cactus specimens judged, you are invited to enter them. For more information visit www.casssn.org or call 645-2032.
To get to the gardens, go east on Boulder Highway, turn left on East Tropicana, right on Steptoe Street and left to 6430 McGill Ave.
The event offers thousands of cactuses and succulents, native species and exotic and rare species for collectors or homeowners.
Here are two beauties you’ll want when you see them. Trichocereus really attracts attention when blooming. The flowers are as wide as a small dinner plate. It’s often called the flying saucer plant because of the size of the blooms, which are red, yellow or white.
Claret also has flowers that are an iridescent orange but not as big. You’ll see many others blooming before this cactus, but when claret blooms it is truly spring.
While at the sale, visit the koi and goldfish ponds along with many water plants that will be available. Patrick Helfrich of Moon-Sun Gardens finds fishponds fit well in desert landscapes.
“If people put in a desert landscape to conserve water, the addition of a small water oasis with koi makes a welcome addition to any oasis,” he said.
Cactuses had to grow on Helfrich.
“I thought they were ugly when growing up, but learned to appreciate them and it was because of their awesome blooms.”
He finds the blooms absolutely gorgeous, awesome, breathtaking and a surprise to people, when they really look into each blossom. And we haven’t even mentioned their water-conserving attributes.
Here are some observations I’ve made while wandering in deserts. Notice how cactuses, trees and shrubs live in harmony with each other. You’ll find small ones clustered with older plants for shelter. A case in point is a mesquite nursing a saguaro, only to have the saguaro tower over the tree years later.
The saguaro has become the desert’s exclamation point. It doesn’t say much until masses of white flowers crown the top, only to have fruit follow. When the fruit ripens, a war erupts as birds fight over the seeds.
Critics growl at the ugliness of ocotillos until brilliant red flowers crown the tops of those gnarly whips.
An agave remains almost motionless for years, until one spring a flower stalk rises 30 feet or more in less than a month. This triggers dozens of phone calls wanting to report this unusual event. The sad part comes when people realize the flowering stalk signals the demise of the plant. Look carefully around the plant. You’ll find baby agaves ready to plant elsewhere.
Prickly pear, cholla and barrel cactuses differ from agaves. They produce a rainbow of gorgeous blooms. This sale is a chance to get these diverse plants for your yard.
Cactuses have a unique way of telling you when to water them. Take a close look at their pads. If the skin is stretched, it’s overwatered. If it is wrinkled, it’s underwatered. With a barrel cactus, if the ribs are thin and deep, it’s stressed for water. If the ribs are wide apart, it’s full of water.
Many people are of the mind-set that cactuses don’t need water. That’s not true. Any plant that photosynthesizes needs water to carry on its vital functions. It is crucial that when new cactus roots send out root hairs, they must find the needed water to keep them alive. Once established, plants will adjust to whatever water frequency you give them.
Cactuses need fertilizer in the spring and early fall. If plants are yellowing or not growing, sprinkle nitrogen around the plant and water it in. If yellowing persists, add iron.
PLANT NUTRITION CLASS OFFERED
“Plant Nutrition and Malnutrition” is a topic I will be discussing at noon Tuesday at the Sunset Garden Club at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, in Henderson. The club has opened their doors to the public to learn more about coping with the desert heat, so you’ll have a beautiful landscape.
Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at linn.mills@ springspreserve.org or call him at 822-7754.