The Coastal Gardener: Succulents shows will knock your socks off

July 29, 2011|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • Mammillaria canelensis is a slow growing cactus native to the mountains around Sonora, Mexico.
Mammillaria canelensis is a slow growing cactus native… (Ron Vanderhoff,…)

No question, the popularity of cactus and succulents has grown immensely over the past few years. It seems there is almost nobody who is not fascinated by the countless shapes, textures and colors of the nearly 10,000 species throughout the world.

If you're one of those who love succulents, you're in the right place. Southern California is likely the epicenter of the world for succulent plant collectors, hobbyists and enthusiasts.

If you're fascinated by these amazing plants you're probably craving more, but where should you go? You're already making regular migrations to local nurseries and garden centers. You know the succulent inventory at these places from memory. Perhaps you want more; what's next?

Over the next couple of weeks two famous cactus and succulent shows return to Southern California, one in Orange County, the other in Los Angeles County. Each is excellent; the Orange County show is nearby and convenient; the L.A. show is huge, but a farther drive. At both shows the Sedum searchers, Haworthia hunters, Pachypodium pursuers and Stapelia seekers will be out in full force.


Saturday is the final day of the two-day Orange County Cactus and Succulent Society Summer Show and Sale at 1000 S. State College Blvd., in Anaheim. The free show is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Then from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 13 and 14, the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden,301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, hosts the Inter-City Cactus and Succulent Show. Arboretum admission fees apply.

Both shows have a variety of attractions. Each conducts a competition and display of amazing and rare plants; plants that you may never otherwise see. Bring your camera!

The show area, with each plant carefully cataloged, labeled and grouped, is where the judging takes place. In the competition area, entries compete for a maximum of 100 points: 60 for the condition of the plant, 20 for presentation, 15 for size and maturity, and 5 for the accuracy in labeling.

Blue, red and white ribbons sit proudly next to the best plants in each category. The best of the best are then carefully separated from the hundreds of entries and brought to a head table. There, throngs of curious onlookers cavort over the stunning plants.

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