Kosmik Kaktus ?


When ever I go to a home warehouse store I wander through the plant section. Sometimes I get lucky. These caught my eye. How could you miss those colors?

I tried to find information on the company but all I could find were blog and forum entries. If you look closely at the turquoise blue one front and center it appears the newer part of the leaves are growing out green. I’m guessing the plants are just painted? idk?

Kosmic Kaktus has been trademarked by Altman Plants in Calif

If you like these, why not? I’ve certainly done worse things to plants over the years. Might be a fun way to horrify your neighbors?

Orchid Cactus ( Epiphyllum oxypetallum ) aka Night blooming cactus

And a spineless cactus she is! This cactus will grow to as tall as 3′ and have 2′ long branches that produce stems and flowers. Although the flat stems look like leaves they are not leaves.

This is the most popular of the houseplants I put outside each summer, I’ve given away cuttings to probably all 100+ houses in the neighborhood.

This can grow as a hanging plant, lots of sun, little water, treat it like a cactus. Or if you prefer upright, tall stalks form with flowers. To get it to grow more upright give it less sun and more water. I’m working on getting it to grow upright along my front walk. ( at least until the next freeze )

Keep the temperature above 40’F

If you are having trouble getting yours to bloom try to place it some where a bit chilly for a couple of weeks. Perhaps in a garage or basement near a window or door so it still receives light. Do not let it freeze! Chilly – not cold is what you want.

You can cut off some of the stem, let it dry for about a day or two then replant it and you’ll get a new plant from it.

These plants can be mounted and grown with just a small amount of moss around the roots. They also make great hanging plants.

The flower is heavily scented, opens at night and lasts only one evening.

I’m told they are addictive and looking at the pictures at the link above and below I can see why.

String of Pearls ( Asteraceae Senecio rowleyanus)

This is the first String of Pearls I’ve owned in a very long time. The flowers caught my eye, it’s the first one I’d seen in flower. Flowering takes place in the winter. The flowers have a sweet cinnamon scent.

This makes a great house plant despite liking lots of light. The brighter the window the better, mine is in direct afternoon sun and very happy. When the light is right the plant will flower in the winter and the pearls will be close together on the strand, too little light and you’ll see larger gaps between the pearls (leaves).

They are a succulent so be careful not to over water them, especially in the winter months. Treat it as you would a cactus only watering it when the top of the soil is very dry.

It is fairly hardy temperature wise and can handle temperatures occasionally down to 10’F, far lower than any indoor location is likely to get.

Every part of this plant is toxic.

It is a vine, so it is easy to make plants to share, just snip off a bit of a strand, remove pearls so that three or more nodes can be placed in soil and keep moist until it roots. Because it is a succulent let the cuttings dry over night before planting.

The strings will grow 2′-3′ easily and if happy 6′-8′, a bit of trimming will keep the plant lush and prevent it from getting too stringy.

This plant does well in a cactus potting mix.

Native to South Africa

Asteraceae is the sunflower/aster family of plants

Hens and chicks (Sempervivum)

Sempervivum originated in Europe and western Asia. In Rome they were planted on the roofs of homes. It was believed they would prevent witches from landing on your roof. Today they are gaining popularity in water wise gardens.

Leaves are small to conserve water, flowers can be quite showy to attract pollinators.

Plant in full sun.

Plant in well drained sandy soil.

In time these will have pink, yellow or white star shaped flowers. After flowering the rosette will die but babies will come up from the ground where the rosette was located.

There are over 40 different varieties.

Note: Did not survive the 3 months of 100’F and no rain of the summer of 2011

Stonecrop ( Sedum stonecrop )

There are over 400 species of sedum. These are succulent perennials and annuals and I purchased them as filler in the water wise bee and butterfly garden. They work best as borders or between stones. They do not do so well as a ground cover for a large area.

Rapid growers 3″-8″ tall, prune after flowering to keep them from getting leggy.

Full sun to light shade.

Good soil, well drained, they will rot if left sitting in water.

Propagate from seed or cuttings.

Stem and root root – leaves and stems darken and shrivel, leaves drop, lower stems may be covered in white strands which develop brown pellets. Cause is wet soil, improve drainage.

Did not survive the extreme heat and drought of the summer of 2011

Bric brac vine aka zigzag cactus (Cryptocereus anthonyanus )

I picked this up a year ago May at Smith and Hawkins. It is a fast grower and sold often as a hanging plant. It grew, and it grew and was too large to bring inside come winter so I left it to fend for itself. It survived the winter.

Then on the garden club garden tour I saw one potted up and growing up a trellis. How cool thought I. So I cut a branch off the monstrosity and planted it near the front door. As you can see it’s already growing strong a couple of months later. It also found the garage wall and has started its climb. I’m hoping it’ll cover a good portion of the wall before long.

I’ve had this in full sun and just afternoon sun. It’s thrived in both locations. I’ve totally ignored it in the winter and forgot to water it, still it grew.

It will survive a mild Houston winter, it did not survive the several hard frosts we had last winter. 40’F is the lowest suggested temperatures.

It is rumored to flower, I’ve yet to see one. Flowers will open only at night, for one night, and are very fragrant.

It is an epiphytic plant, you can grow it in soil or in orchid bark, use which ever pleases you. In its natural habitat it grows on trees with aerial roots. I haven’t tried that yet.

It can be trained up something or allowed to hang down something, which ever pleases you.

Propagation is easy, cut off about 4″ of a branch and stick in in some dirt.

So far I’ve not had a single problem with this plant. It’s a great climber for a cactus garden.


It is a fast grower and should fill this basket in no time. One branch broke off and we have it rooting in another pot. To propagate, take a small piece of stem, place it in soil, keep moist until you see new growth.

This plant loves light, put it in your brightest window. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.

Stapelia Hirsuta

I saw my first stapelia at the San Antonio botanical gardens and it was love at first sight, but it was in a green house so I only thought of it as an indoor plant. Later I ran into some in hanging baskets at the Conroe Extension office, again in a green house. I found some online at Logees, potted them up and left them out all winter. While they were not thrilled they made it through and they are going in the ground shortly.

They are very easy to grow. Stapelia does best planted in sand so the water can rapidly drain and the soil dry.

They may be grown in pots, the ground here or in hanging pots. Mine bloomed frequently over the summer. The flowers are about 6″ across. Protect from frost if outdoors, give it lots of extra light durning the winter if grown indoots

These are carrion flowers giving off the scent of rotting meat to attract flies for pollination. So it’s probably not something you want planted by the front door.

This plant is native to parts of Africa and there are several sub-species with different sized, colored and shaped flowers.

Snap off a stalk and plant it. It’s that easy.

See also:
Plants of Africa: Stapelia
Floridata: Stapelia