June Cactus Patch

The Cactus Patch

June 2020

PLANT OF THE MONTH - Pedilanthus macrocarpus
Jack G. Reynolds

Before we leave the family Euphorbiaceae we should sample a species that while in the family belongs to a separate genus, Pedilanthus macrocarpus.  This plant is native to Baja California and Sonora, Mexico.  It is sometimes referred to as “lady-slipper” because of the shape of the orange-red and yellow flowers that grow at the tips of its reed-like stems.  The flowers bloom in spring and fall and are attractive to hummingbirds.
The plant is a clump of erect dull grey-green stems about one half inch in diameter up to four feet tall.  Stems are irregularly jointed and as they grow will form small short-lived leaves at their tips.  Clumps may be as much as three feet in diameter. Stems contain  copious amounts of the white irritating latex that all members of this family seem to form.  
Pedilanthus is a good container plant but in Bakersfield probably would do well in the ground.  It prefers a sandy well drained soil and will tolerate temperatures down to about 25 F.  As a container plant it will make an interesting accent in a rock garden.  It will take full sun or partial shade requiring some supplemental water in summer.  They propagate easily from cuttings and can also be grown from seed.  There are several members of this genus found further south into Mexico and Central America some with bright red flowers but less cold tolerant and requiring more water.

President’s Message - June

 I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying our last month of spring 2020.  The hot weather is on the rise and for this reason I would like to advise you to wait until the fall season before you decide to replant anything in your garden.  Unless of course you have a clear plan and provide plenty of shade and, in some cases, water to allow your plants to reestablish a healthy root system.

A few weeks ago, I decided I would uproot a few plants and relocate them to a better location.  I had the misfortune of moving a couple of Thelocactus rinconensis and Echinocactus horizonthalonius, days before the first unexpected heat wave of the season.  These plants quickly started showing signs of stress and sunburn.  Fortunately, I try and monitor my plants as often as possible, so the next morning I made a quick dash to the store for a roll of window screen to protect these dire plants from the blazing sun.

I must say I  got lucky; they are doing a whole lot better after I provided the shade they so desperately needed.  Phew, thank goodness I acted quick!
I want to keep my message short as we have some great contributions for our June newsletter, and I want to give others the opportunity to share with you some great pictures and information.  If you didn’t have a chance to share a picture of your plants in bloom for this month’s newsletter remember you can still contribute to our newsletter in July. 
One last note, I’d like to inform everyone that our club’s bylaws have been finalized and stamped with the approval of our attorney, John B. Linford.  Thank you, John, for helping us through that first step in the process.  Our board members will be meeting soon to discuss your club’s future and how we will continue to operate during these unstable times.  For now, our monthly membership meetings will remain canceled until further notice.  I’m confident that with your support we will get through these unprecedented times together and we will reopen when the time is right. Until then be well, stay safe, and stay connected!

Luis De La Torre

From all of us, stay healthy and stay safe. While facing these uncertain times while alone together, don't forget to reach out to your friends and family via phone and email. Don't miss out on time to connect and love one another!