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Cactus Log: 2009

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Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009

From: frank

My package arrived today with the san pedro plants. Your packing was amazing. Also the plants look great. I had ordered from another company before you and am sorry that I did. I was sent some tiny specimens and paid too much. Thanks again.


Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 / Subject: Re: google cactus

Hello I recived my cactus today in great condition. And thank so much for that bonus cacti made me feel like a kid during Christmas. =) well diffenitly shop some more with you.

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 / Subject: Great article on Trout!!

I read your article on Trout and it made me laugh so hard i shot water through my nose!! Great stuff! You educated me on the dubious nature of seeds and clones on the internet. I never considered cross pollination as a possible issue.

I purchased a 12" T Pachanoi from a guy in houston called the Cactus King. You should see his operation. Its amazing. He builds his own scrap art and has some amazing cactus and succulents. He got hitreally hard in the Hurricane last year and is back on his feet finally. He's a bit eccentric and i dont know him well and at the time of my purchase, I didnt know to ask about the origins of his mother plant. Thanks to you, I know to ask and be concerned about these sort of things.

October 21
Just wanted to thank you for your top quality business. The cacti are beautiful and your site knowlege and passion are much appreciated. You have a new customer for life sir! Plan on buying more as soon as possible.
It is rewarding to do all this when a person such as yourself appreciates it. Thank you!

October 20
I remember you looking up at orian when you were leaving texas. Thought you might like this.



That is the best presentation of the Hubble Deep Field photo ever! Thank you.

October 19
Dear Verne,

Thanks for the beautiful cacti. I had a good feeling about you and I can see I was right. One question, if I want to store a few cuttings for later repotting, what would be the best way? Could I just leave them in a dark closet? If so for how long would they last? Thanks and blessings,

Do not store cuttings in the dark. They react (its alive) by growing a skinny white tip (no chlorophyl) searching for light. Store in cool, dry place with indirect light. No direct sunlight (will cause sunburn).
If horizontal it may grow upward from the tip (phototrophism).

They can be stored for months. In fact, I put them in potting soil vertically to let them wait for spring -- see this page:

Where do you get your seed?
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009
From: chris gossman <risuirezumi@yahoo.com>
Subject: San pedro cacti question

Hi iam a big fan of cacti. I have alot of cacti and have many assorted seedlings some of which have been growing for 8 years now. I have been going to your website for a couple of months now ( really great website by the way) lots of good info. I have many purchases iam planning on making from your store ( once i get some extra money) because you seem to be the only place i trust has authentic San Pedro cactus. I find most places are just trying to make money on people who are just trying to get high by selling them any old column cactus.

To get to the point i was wondering if you are selling any san pedro or peruvian torch seeds. If not I was wondering if you can give me a reputable source ( I have searched many hours on the net and it brings me back to the point that i trust your cacti are authentic )

Any info is greatly appreciated
thanks in advance

September 12, 2009
I just unwrapped the "supposed" 18" peruvian torch grafted onto a san pedro and I just wanted to let you know that I am very very very pleased with this specimen. The tip of the peruvian torch is nearly 28" and the san pedro base bud is almost 12". The thickness of the peruvian torch is far greater than the previous cacti that i have bought from you through your ebay store. I just thought that you would like to know that the cactus made it here in excellent condition and that your customer is very pleased :) Thank you,
That was a nice KK242 graft that grew quite a bit since it was photographed. Glad you enjoy it.

September 4, 2009 / Happy!

Verne --that is a nice cactus you sent. it's huge did all that growth come from 1 rooted cutting? i've got a container that is almost 14" in diameter and 11" tall i'm going to transplant it into. it looks like the 2 tallest tips could be cut and rooted soon. i want it to get established in a bigger container before i try and make any cuttings. i was at the store looking a potting soil is miracle grow cactus and succulent soil any good. i was going to mix the soil with perlite. just how fast does this type of cactus grow? i've had other cactus and they grow real slow.
thanks, Sammy

You can make good potting soil from stuff at Home Depot. Try this: http://www.sanpedrocactus1com/pottingsoil.htm

September 4, 2009 / Where to cut?

Hello, I purchased an offset peruvianus fastest cutting from you a few months ago, and it is doing great by the way! I just repotted it! I am thinking of cutting off the top offset part of the peruvianus. the top part alone is about 1 ft, 4 inches, and the log underneath is about 8 inches. My question is, should I cut the top peruvian growth all the way down at the base where it connects to the peruvian log underneath, or should i only cut the top offset growth like half way down, so that way I have a 7 inch peruvian torch that i can reroot in another pot, and another torch log with a 7 inch offset growth on top of it? Where is the best spot to cut in order to get multiple baby buds to grow, or is there a best spot? srry for the lengthy email, and thanks for your time!

I would do NOTHING at this time of year. Let the repotting "take" -- allow the root system develop for the rest of this year. The time to take a cutting is next spring; depending on your climate. Here, in California, cuttings taken in March - April sprout fastest, and offset grow faster. But I never take cuttings for rooting this late in the year.
Send a photo next spring if you want advice where/how much to cut.

September 2, 2009 / Happy customer

Hello; I recently purchased a cutting from you.  Overall the purchase experience I had with you was far above average. The  cutting you sent me is OUTSTANDING! No mold, no brown sections, no evidence of rot or infection, and it has ALL ITS SPINES! I was shocked it had all its spines, but it was fun getting it into the pot; I used thick rubber gloves. It really is a visually stunning specimen. I potted it in a small terracotta to root; the only flaw in this cutting is a tiny
puncture near the top where a single spine bent a U-turn and stuck back into its own flesh. I really appreciate the detail you used in your sale posting, the mass, size, and length were exactly what I expected. I have purchased cuttings of many plants from many people including other column cacti; most declare the length and cut all the spines off. I've had several column cacti arrive with mold and what appears to be bite marks!

I pack carefully ---because you care. Other sellers don't want to spend the money for packing materials so just cut off spines, wrap in used newspapers, toss it in a used box, etc. After being a victim myself of such disrespectful service I swore never to do that to my customers. But it is costly to use professional, new materials.

Your appreciation makes the effort worth while. Thank you.

Mouse ate my San Pedro

I hope you dont think this is stupid but i bought a san pedro cactus from you a couple years ago. I went away for a few days and some time when i was gone a mouse had got in and ate right through it and broke it off. I now
have a piece that is about 2 inches tall that was left in the pot and i have the section that broke off and it is about 24 inches tall. I would like to root the 24 inch section but i cant remember how you told me to root the piece that i bought from you. I would like to know again how to root it again if you wouldnt mind.

The section left in the pot is no problem. It will just offset grow more tips. Leave it alone.

The fallen section -- cut the end cleanly and allow to dry up in an airy, shady place for a couple of weeks. You can place an electric fan by it to speed drying. Then set in potting soil (out of direct sunlight) and wait till spring when it will root with the season.

August 29, 2009

Dear zircon6,

Hi, I recently purchased a rooted T. Peruvianus cactus and a cutting. I have ordered several cacti from you before and have never seen T. Peruvianus as beautifully blue and healthy. I am wondering if you will have any cuttings of the fastest growing T. Peruvianus that you have on your website for sale this season or anytime in the near future. You do an AMAZING job of packing the cacti also! Please let me know if you can discount combined shipping. Thank you so much! Your cacti and service are the best on Ebay, and likely also the whole internet. I wouldn't know
haven't looked anywhere else!!! Thanks again!

Some rooted cuttings will be available later this year when fully rooted.

August 27, 2009

I was researching vendors who advertise Trichocereus cactus but actually sell something different and it appears you unfortunately have a lot of experience with this. I bought a possible T. bridgesii from an Ebay vendor last year and have since noticed a strangely similar cactus available for sale at a local big-box retailer. In fact, when comparing my specimine to the ones picture in Trout's Notes I am ashamed to say i may have been duped. Is there just a huge variety in the species or is it more likely the vendor ripped me off? Is there a source to compare these, like an expert who would be able to look over a digital image to identify it once and for all?
Thank you so much for your attention.

Check out this site for identification:

August 24, 2009

Hi Bob,

Please KEEP me on your mailing list. I am pleased with my purchase last year, she is growing and has a pup.
I intend to purchase some more from you, so keep sending me info.
Peace, Health  -Dave

Uh, thank you. Actually my cat is named Bobcat.

18 Aug 2009 / From: nnnn@checkout.l.google.com

Hi Verne!
I recieved the cuttings and they look absolutely great! Huge thanks to you--this order is awesome. ;)
Very best regards and blessings,
Charles Waugh
You're welcome.

August 12, 2009
First I want to say that I am writing to commend you and not to ask you about a sick plant :)

I purchased 6 cactus from you this year and wanted to thank you for the quality of product and INFO on your website. All of the plants are doing well and have grown from 10 inches to 17 inches except one which I over watered and it began to soften, lean and rot at the bottom. Your website was EXTREMELY helpful in giving me the information i needed to cut and dry the healthy tip. The cut end is now drying and the cutting shows no signs of mold.

I was wondering if you had any mailing list. I would love to learn more and get informed when you have any good website updates, articles or Special Sales.

Dear Russell,

Some will rot for no easy to understand reason. A table full of same size cuttings, a year rooted -- suddenly one base rots. It happens to the best of us; maybe 1 in 200. The hot summer seems to be the peak time for this as heat may stimulate whatever fungus it is...

I keep in mind advice from a grower -- more cactus are killed from over watering than under watering.

Surprisingly San Pedro seem to shut down in hot weather - growth slows - and water is less critical. That is how cactus survive deserts. In fall, with cooler temps my plants pick up growth and can use more water. They look better, seem more vigorous in cooled temps; not the 100+ summer days here in the Central Valley.

The advice I got from professional cactus & succulent growers was to water thoroughly -- really saturate the pot with water in case it is running through the pot down a space without getting to all the roots. Then don't water again until the soil is all dried out. I actually pick up pots and look for dry soil in the drainage holes along the bottom. Then water that batch again.

I added your email address to my SPAM list. It is a small, occasional use list with low calorie SPAM. Thank you.

August 2, 2009
To whom ever this may concern.

I am interested in purchasing a Trichocereus Peruvianus cactus. I have one question. Are the spine lengths on all your real provian tourches then same length or do different cuttings have different spine lengths?

Thanks, Emil

Dear Emil,

Peruvianus and torch are general names -- sort of like "dog". There are many variations: http://sanpedrocactus1.com/comparisons.htm

I used the term "real" years ago when ebay customers were snapping up cereus and cuzcoensis sold as "Peruvian Torch". Those two varieties were commercial landscaping standards -- simply what nurseries had plenty of to sell.

I no longer follow what other sellers on ebay do...just focus on selling authentic, quality specimens.

Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2009 / From: Brendan
Subject: Re: Massive San Pedro Cactus cuttings!

Hey Verne! Beautiful specimen! I just moved into my first home and I'd love to start a garden of love! I've had four of your beauties with me before and they were... beautiful! I've been planning on getting more for a personal garden as soon as I found a home.
;) thanks

From: annie B / Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009
Subject: thanks for the great cactus

2 years ago or so I bought 7 differant ones from you and the are all so healthy and happy and growing like weeds .. I just wanted to give you a high five for such great product.. Thanks Sooooo Much and I have referred many of my friends to you when you were on ebay but everytime I have an outdoor party, I am asked where did I get such nice ones and now I know where to refer them again. thanks
;) thanks

Monday, July 13, 2009

:) Hey Verne, Great job, keep it up. I was just wondering what kind of fertilizer could be used on a san pedro? thanks, Jason

Raccoony fertilizes the ones in the field.
She's real organic about it. I guess if you live in a city you could buy plant food at a plant store. Otherwise have your local dairy deliver a dump truck load of cow poop like we get here. Mind the flies.
(left) Raccoony delivers a load of fertilizer to a row of trichocereus.
PS: Notice the mound of brown? That is cow manure from the
dairy up the road. They donated an entire dump truck load.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I just recieved my cactus and now I REALLY GET IT. you work your butt off, but I have to say having a garden of my own is that I appreciate your service and your love for your plants all I can say is AMAZING quality, you have a meaning on this planet you help all of the others to come to peace with themselves keep the light close.

Glad you get it.
(left) Raccoony puts the lid down after she does her business because she's a girl
PS: Notice the mound of brown? That is cow manure from the
dairy up the road. They donated an entire dump truck load.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I recently bought some san pedros from another website and i wont give the name bc i dont want to steal your business--that's only where i started my succulent obsession and i am looking to continue it. anyways you seem to have the "best" trichocereus peruvianus cacti i have researched thus far. i was wondering if you could send me some pictures of the specimens u have. and do u only have 18" cuttings of the peruvianus? i wouldnt mind a few smaller 6 inch tips if u happened to have them =)
I did not know there were other web sites out there. Guess I spend too much time with my plants.
(left) Raccoony checks the amount of fertilizer delivered to a particular plant to ensure it was the right dosage.
PS: Notice the mound of brown? That is cow manure from the
dairy up the road. They donated an entire dump truck load.

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009

The cactus arrived today. Honestly it is one of the nicest (if not the nicest) I have purchased from you. I guess you always send extremely nice cactii to me. I may be ordering a couple more soon. Thanks. James K.

;) thanks

June 15 / Note to seller

Thank you. It's good to see you are still there doing it, keeping it going. From a cutting I bought from you a while back, I had left it in my window for some time, and 4 sprouts came from it. Now they are out in the yard (got to get 'em bigger pots yet.) about 2 ft tall each, with one sporting 2 branches. :)
Thanks in advance, and we wish you a nice summer solstice, and happy 4th July.
Gosh that is so nice to get up on Monday morning to a happy customer.
Had to shower last night before bed after sifting a cubic yard of aged cow poop to mix with worm compost...
Your note makes all the hard work worth the effort!
;) Verne

"...web like area over the top with 2 moths actually caught in it! (yuck)!"
From: Danielle Sweigart <daniswag@yahoo.com>

Thanks so so so much Verne for your beautiful, trustworthy cactus (and shipping of them), and also for your time!! I can't wait to see the beautiful bridgesii you chose for me and my new peruvianus with her baby!!!! Thanks again!-
I recieved my two beautiful babies last evening!! They were packaged wonderfully and no cold weather damage noted at all! The san pedro with pup is beautiful, and a large wonderful speciman. I plan to uppot it into a 5 or 10 gallon plastic container, with my own compost that I also make throughout the year.

My only concern was that the san pedro pup had a large web, or web like area over the top with 2 moths actually caught in it! (yuck)!

A spider web is proof that my plants are organically raised. Pesticide would have killed the spider that made the web- but I'd never use the term "yuck" to describe a beneficial insect. It is nature.

When you wrote that you couldn't afford a purchase "...times are tough" I refunded 100% of your money. For this you wrote a malicious "Review" at Google where you exaggerated the spider web as being a viral infection. None of my plants want to go live with you, so there isn't any choice but to refund your purchase.

Spider webs are part of nature, like we are. Nothing to me is "yukky" except using pesticides. Since you believe otherwise I will not sell to you. I will NEVER harm my spiders! More at: may_2009_insects.htm

May, 2009

Dear Verne,

I�ve been meaning to email you for a while, hadn�t gotten around to it yet. Now I have. I bought my first San Pedro about three years ago, where it stood in a tiny pot in a display case in the back of the store with no natural light. It was about foot high but severely tapered at the top because of its poor condition. Back then I wasn�t too familiar with these plants, so I didn�t recognize my plant was in poor condition when I bought it.

I found your site while searching for how to care for these cacti and found it had the most useful information by far on the web. Soon after I bought my cactus I gave it a more comfortable pot with fresh soil and 50% porous pebbles for drainage, as you suggested. Within weeks after repotting, the cactus started to get a healthier color and sprouted a new tip at the tapered top and three new tips at the bottom. Now, three years later, these tips have grown into thick, healthy and proud cacti, some reaching higher than 3 feet. I have an entire window full of healthy cuttings, most tips growing over a foot each season. All this is in no small part thanks to your helpful information, with some minor tweaks to adjust for the northern European climate I�m in. I�d love to grow them outside and allow them to grow huge roots, but I�m afraid the winters are too cold over here for them to survive.

But in short, on behalf of my plants, thank you very much for providing the information I needed to grow these lovely cacti. Thanks!

Rik van der Sanden [The Netherlands] / Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hey, just wanted to thank you for the Glaucus and Super Peruvianus, they are all very beautiful specimen and I will be sure to take good care of them. I look forward to what you have to offer later this fall. / Monday, June 01, 2009

can san pedro have only 5 points?
5 to 9 is what I have observed�
http://www.trichocereus.com/san_pedro_cactus_section.htm / Sunday, May 31, 2009

110% pure customer statisfaction right here! My 2nd experience buying from you, and its been another beyond great experience. 1 minimum 16" grade B specimen that is absolutly beautiful (Let alone the fact it's 23"!) Again, 5 stars for service and a well cared for healthy & beautiful cacti. / Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So I'm sitting here in Jersey looking at the beautiful plant you sent me, and I say to myself, "Gee, He sure looks lonely, let's order him a lil buddy from Verne" :-D

Wed, 20 May 2009 / From: "J.Szak"

Wow! All I can say is- WOW! Just the packaging alone is worth $10. Nice job! Not a spine out of place either...I'm sure you know this already, but, that is the nicest specimen that I've seen --ever. The color is exquisite and it's size,, impeccable.

Very cool. I'm more than pleased with my purchase. Thank-you so much for the amount of care you put into these cactus. They truly are a feast for the eyes and senses.....I will be keeping in touch.

Thank-you again; Jeremy.....
Thank you for the appreciation, the thoughtfulness of your comments.

May 17 Bridgesii
Just a quick question for you, I bought a bridgesii from you about 2 months ago and it is doing wonderful, I cut it and its putting out two pups, and I made a log out of the middle section which has rooted, and rooted the top section which is only 5-6 inches long...its so cute.

But anyways it has been raining here in the southeast for the past week and my cactus (the part with pups) has been outside in it, i have no place inside for it that would provide proper light.

Will this much water harm the cactus? Ive been checking for rot since a few of my other cacti species have developed it, ive lost 3 cacti so far and love the specimen you sent me and really dont wanna lose it, ive read some trichocereus species can tolerate more water than others but the place i read that at did not say which species can handle water better.

Im not a cacti murderer as so many online buyers are, meaning I grow them for the pleasure of growing them, not to eat them for the obvious reasons, my cacti mean the world to me and I would hate to lose this very special cacti.

Sorry to bother you but thank you for your time.


Cuttings and rootings are meant to be protected for months while they fully root. California is bone dry during the spring to fall rooting period. That is all I know. I never propagate or cut during wet whether.

If you bought one from me 2 months ago I'd (if I were you) have only re-potted it for this season. I'd take cuttings next year. I would never take cuttings during damp, rainy weather as the cut end can mold up. You'd need to dry it indoors in front of an electric fan for air circulation. Also, I paint cut ends with Clonex.



hi i bought a san pedro from you. i really like it, but it has some black spots at the top and i am having trouble getting rid of it. i am using an organic fungicide/miticide. do you have any advice? thank you for your time.
Spots are blemishes to ignore. It is your mind that magnifies them out of proportion. The top, as you call it, is the growing tip. Soon those "spots" will be little tan colored flecks along the side of the column as the tip grows and grows...taller and taller.

In 2008 a customer emailed because he bumped the tips while repotting. The resulting black bruises upset him. He did not understand that plants bruise just like we do. Instead he freaked out. I sent FedEx to return the shipment. When the plants arrived back here I cuddled them in my arms and let them cry their little San Pedro hearts out. They had been so scared, and they missed me, the farm, and the cats.

He incorrectly attempted to re-pot them; evidenced by the missing pots. The root balls were still tightly wound in the formation of the 1-gallon pot they'd been in when sold. No attempt had been made to break up the bound roots! He had not followed my Repotting tutorial instructions, or common plant know how, to break up the root ball. He simply set them, still root bound, in larger pots - but that is bad because the roots cannot grow out into the new soil. Several small, highly polished, pebbles fell out -indicating a decorative mulch of artificially polished stones had been used. That is sad because the roots were still tightly wrapped around but the person had "prettied everything up" with shiny pebbles on top. Ask the plant what it wants: shiny pebble mulch or the tight root ball broken up to allow the roots to thrive into the new soil?

The returned plants soon healed as their bruises morphed into small tan scars that moved down the columns (actually the column grows up) in the same illusion that the moon appears to rise when in fact the earth is rotating. Today both plants are in large tubs, twice their size. This year they are tip donors to be rooted into new plants. In another year I will have new plants from them to sell worth twice the refund.

Read: Repotting tutorial instructions
Love all living beings. The entire planet in a conscious organism, every aspect of it connected to your soul. What we see "out there" is the reflection of what we are inside.
"I know�its all wrong. By rights we shouldn�t be here. But we are. It�s like in all the great stories�the ones that really matter, full of darkness and danger. Sometimes you don�t want them to end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was after all the bad things happened?"

"But even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will be clear. They kept going because there is some good in this world and it�s worth fighting for."

Sam to Frodo

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hey Verne, I know that you're a busy man and all therefore there is no need for a response to this. Wanted to tell you that the 23" beauty you sent me arrived on time and in style here in Jersey. It speaks volumes about how well you care about your cacti and customers when I compare the one from you with the others purchased at local "Nurseries".

I have to say that if I or anyone I know is considering purchasing a cactus, your online store is the ONLY place to get it. Honestly truthfully seriously your service is nothing short of 5 stars!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Got my Wizard's Arms.. and they are maaaaaaaaaaaagical! Thanks again Zircon6 (or is it just Verne now?), the cuttings are beautiful and the packaging was, as always, superb. You are the best : )

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 / Subject: Re: Order / From: Dylan

It arrive in PERFECT condition & I am SOOOO happy!
Thanks so much Verne, Jaime
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 2009 / Subject: Thank you

Thank you for the cacti, the literature, and the excellent customer service!

Fri, 17 Apr 2009 / palo verde beetle

Thank you for the care you took in packaging the T. bridgesii I just received. I was so impressed that I just ordered another and a T. pachanoi. I can tell you have a real love for these cacti as do I. I own a 4 acre parcel in Tucson and have have about 30 T. bridgesii, 10 T. peruvianus and 150 T. pachanoi. Now is the season for planting so I am ordering more of these cacti.

Appreciated the notes on cactus care. I use native soil mixed with gravel and sprinkled with a little ironite and a 16-16-16 mix of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. You are so right to avoid the Home Depot composts. The wood chips in these cause molds to grow on the roots.

A particular problem here is the palo verde beetle which lays its eggs on the roots of dying trees and perfectly healthy Trichocereus cacti. Not being native to North America these cacti have not created defenses against this beetle's larvae. The grub eats into the base of the cacti and once into the core, the cactus is doomed. I now have put aluminum flashing around each cactus to prevent the beetle access to the roots. Also I made the mistake of using the ironwood and palo verde trees as shade for the cacti which is where the beetle lays its eggs. I now put the cati in full sun and away from all trees.

One more thing; the darkling beetle also known as the head standing beetle has a real appetite for T. peruvianus. They eat the flesh and leave a denuded cactus. I am hoping the aluminum flashing will also stop these pests.

Sincerely Yours, Bill Scott, M.D.
Palo verde beetle
That is a huge beetle. It reminds me of the giant flying tree cockroaches in Texas that I used to shoot at with a spring cocked rubber suction tipped dart gun.

Here in the Central Valley the problem is gophers. Because of them I grow mostly in containers. My cats eat some gophers but not enough. My dairy farmer neighbor told me he noticed gophers avoid his piles of cow poop. So I heavily mulched my outdoor rows and sure enough- no more gophers. Apparently they hate the cow poop water runoff trickles through the ground as I water the plants. Cow poop worked - they stay in areas where the grass is sweet.

During certain times of the summer grasshoppers emerge to nibble on the new tips of San Pedro but my cats like to eat them so its a standoff. Also, I walk all around my plants every day to keep up on what is going on. There is a tremendously rich ecosystem of many spider varieties, gopher snakes, preying mantis, green lacewings, wasps, lady bugs, etc. If a grasshopper showed up he'd sticks out like a red flag and I'd grab him or her before them eat more than a bite. You have to stay vigilant.

Most insects are good, they are beneficial.
(Link to vendor I have no relationship with) My farm is surrounded by a 20 acre pasture that has huge numbers of different varieties of good insects. In July the dragonflies are prolific. My cats leap in the air, spinning like dancers, to catch them. Then they study aeronautical engineering by taking apart dragon flies to investigate what makes one fly through the air. Like a child taking apart toys. My cats also study flight science with song birds, but that is more Darwinian - to keep the bird population on its toes. Without cats eating birds the species would become fat, lazy, and just crap all over people, etc. In fact, studies have suggested that cats kill off the birds that sing out of key - thus preserving the finer qualities of the bird songs. (Oh, I made that up).

Some insect problems are due to plant stress - insects are natures way of recycling unhealthy plants. For example: Here in the western USA global warming has stressed pine trees to allow the bark beetle populations to explode. There is vast damage to forests. I've seen it first hand on my cousin's property in the Sierra mountains - dying ponderosa pines because of the bark beetle.

These unnatural insect populations (bark beetle) are because the trees don't get enough water (California has had several recent drought cycles), and it is too warm from global climate change. Maybe your plants need a lot more water than they get now? San Pedro drink it up like fruit trees. I water a lot in the summer. Really a lot. I hand water mine all summer to hose off surface stuff like mites and thrips - but the spiders nibble on those anyway. The California Dept. of Ag recommends watering the area (paths) around orchards to keep down mites since mites like dry dusty conditions.

When plants are healthy the indigenous insect population of beneficials is the best defense against bad insects taking over. After all, if you visit a forest or any natural landscape it isn't all dying from insect attack - because nature has all these checks and balances. Well, that is until global climate change along with introduced species (see fire ants below) screwed things up - but again that is human overpopulation. Too many billions of tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere every year. Plus pollution, habitat destruction, fertilizer run off, etc. - all human causes.
But why would insects attack a cactus? I believe it is because the plant is not 100% healthy - ones getting too much nitrogen fertilizer, not enough light, or too much heat, or not enough water, etc. Insects mostly attack sick plants. That can be something as overlooked as too much nitrogen fertilizer which results in high tissue carbohydrates that attracts sucking insects such as aphids. But aphids and white flies don't really like bitter cactus so I see them on grass near my plants; which requires cutting down that grass.

The real problem may be that humans are stressing the entire ecosystem planet wide with abnormal CO2 levels causing global climate change. That is why forest are now dying from bark beetles. Nature has to fight back to get rid of humans because they are killing the planet. It is like a planetary immune system being triggered.

The overpopulation of humans has caused excessive fishing that destroyed the once vast codfish schools. We have polluted the oceans to the level where swordfish, blue fin tuna, and salmon have dangerous mercury levels. Trawlers now drag nets across the bottom to scrape up everything possible - a horribly destructive fish harvesting method. An area the size of the United States is being bottom trawled every year.

Overpopulation of humans has also turned the Amazon basin into vast soybean farms for the Chinese which in turn disrupted climate creating desertification in sub-Saharan Africa. Everyone is aware that the arctic sea ice is melting, increasing the albedo in that area which causes even more warming. The Antarctic sea shelves are breaking off in sheets the size of the state of Rhode Island.

The water supply in California is in crisis because the state's water capture system was designed for a population of 18 million but now it is 33 million. Uh, oh. 2009 is the 3rd year of yet another California drought cycle that is part of a trend towards less and less snowpack in the western mountains that goes back for decades. All traceable to overpopulation, increased atmospheric CO2, etc. Its human caused.

Then there are nasty invaders like the red imported fire ant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_imported_fire_ant

Palo verde beetles feed on dead wood, so maybe your plants are not as healthy as you assume? Perhaps Nature is talking to you?
 Fire ants!
 Another human caused problem.

April 17

I am a recent customer from your online store, beautiful cactus' by the way, and I seemed to have already screwed up my cactus. I accidently overheated it with my plant lamp for indoors. on some parts of the cactus turned a light brown color and now I am hoping i can save it, but how? what should i do? you have any advice. thanks
That is sunburn.
Natures way of telling you "Hey! The light is too intense!" Place in a quiet, stress free, shady spot. It may heal as a localized burn scar --but live. Time will tell. Verne

April 13 / Cat attack in Canada
Hello, I stumbled across your site while looking for some help for my cactus. What a great resource your site is...If you have a minute, I'd like to ask you a question, if you're busy that's okay. I have a san pedro (peruvianus?) that was given to me several years ago. It initially suffered several cat attacks (my cat actually bit the top off of it when it was 4" tall!).

For the past year it seemed to be doing alright, had it outdoors last summer, brought it in and by Christmas I noticed it had started to branch out at the base. At about the same time, the tip of the main branch ceased activity and turned bluish instead of greenish. I watered it a couple times over the winter, and in the past month have watered it sparingly twice (both times the soil was completely dry). It is located in front of a bright, cool window. I should note that I'm located in Ontario, Canada so the winters here get quite cold.  Have you ever seen this and is it cause for worry? I'm afraid that if I wait and it turns out to be rot I won't be able to salvage the cactus.

Thanks for your help, Greg
Your cat ate your cactus?

That is not anything that occurs in my universe so I have no experience with that. You must have some species of Canadian city cat...In fact here is a photo of Raccoony fertilizing the outdoor specimens for me. She's very organic.

Maybe...you could find a cactus store and visit it? Learn how other Canadians grow indoor cacti?
  (above) Raccoony is a good girl. She even puts the lid down after she goes to the bathroom.
(above) For the past couple weeks I've noticed that the flesh between the ridges is puckered and wrinkled at the base (I've attached some pictures) There also seems to be clearly defined yellowish patches around some of the spine pads.


Date: Sat, 18 Apr 2009 / Possible Trichocereus?

Good Afternoon,

I was wondering if you could help me identify this large columnar cactus my neighbor left me. It seemed as a too-good-to-be-true omen as I was just perusing through your website looking to buy a rooted t. peruvianus when they asked me if I wanted this one as they were moving out. It seems to me though the ribs are too thin and two few (ranging from 5-7) and spines were too short. I was thinking maybe cereus peruvianus? Anyway any info you could provide would be great, and I will be  buying one of your fine specimens shortly.

Thanks, Josh
Yes, Cereus Peruvianus. It is the first item on my "comparisons" page: http://www.trichocereus.com/comparisons.htm
It is also frequently sent in to this forum (see 2008 page), and I've seen them sold on ebay as "peruvianus" or San Pedro. Wonderful plants - a good ornamental way to get a large cactus in not too many years. They grow fast and are stronger due to the engineering design of the ribs - so they don't break off like San Pedro. I sell them on ebay in my store under succulents. Cereus are cool. Great for a sun room, office lobby, backyard container, etc.

April 5, 2009 / Dear zircon6,

Zircon6! Will you be selling more San Pedro (and family) cacti in the near future? I have finally been able to get some friends and family as excited about sacred cacti as I am and they are looking for their own specimens to nurture. BTW, I don't know if you remember, but you sold me  a T. Glaucus (sp?) with a phantom crystal embedded in it some time ago. Well, I have just moved it outside ( I live in NC) and it is looking great.
Everyone comments on how beautiful it is. Thanks again!

Why I don't sell much on eBay anymore:

Dear Josh, Thank you! Nice to hear from you.

I prefer to sell on this, my own, website now. eBay got real greedy with seller's fees, and changed the policies to "get rid of bad sellers" - which was ridiculous because ebay has allowed bad sellers to hide behind the phony "PowerSeller" logo for years. Every time eBay offered me "PowerSeller" status I wrote back telling them what I thought of that phony system and how it meant nothing to customers. In fact, some of the worst seller's on ebay were and still are "PowerSellers" -- too many stories I could tell...

Anyway, after 10 years as an eBay seller I am disgusted with eBay's new CEO (John Donahoe). He pretty much ruined things trying to convert eBay into a fixed price system instead of auctions. His policy changes for sellers were intended to transform it from a flea market into Amazon.com. Instead he made eBay a worse flea market of cheap Asian goods, caused massive financial losses for eBay and kicked off a virtual sellers rebellion.

(MORE: my full rant - with excerpts from online outrage - about eBay's
decline & demise under CEO John Donahoe)
eBay killed the goose!

They became like the fable about the goose that laid golden eggs. In this instance CEO John Donahoe killed the goose to get all the gold, but just like in the fable he found no gold. And the goose was dead as a result.

Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2009 / Subject: Re: Google Cactus / From: Sean

I have never thanked you for the wonderful cactus you sent me, so allow me to do so now. They have arrived safely and seem happy in their new home-I am doing my best to care for them as well as you have. They are somewhat puzzled to find themselves in Virginia I think, but are adjusting well to their new circumstances.

The cactus bug has got me I'm afraid- I bought my first specimen from you in the late winter, here we are in early spring and my collection is becoming pretty respectable. I hope to have one batch growing on my porch over the summer and another indoors by a window while I work out the fine points of growing cactus in this climate, so I will probably be buying a few more new friends from you to round out the group in the next few weeks. You are my official Cactus guy now- a while back I decided I wanted a Bridgessi Monstrose, so I went through one of your competitors for that and a few other specimens. Never Again! I got a nearly dead spachianus (I think) that was sold to me as a Macrogonus and a sad looking monstrose bridgessi that fits in the palm of my hand with room to spare. After receiving such healthy and beutiful plants from you, I suppose that I thought everyone would put the same love and care into their cactus- I know better now, and in the future will return to the best in the business instead of wasting my money elsewhere.

Your love for your product is inspiring and shines through in every aspect of your business. I find your website to be extremely helpful in caring for my cactus, the specimens themselves are beutiful and healthy, and they are packed carefully and intelligently to ship safely. In a world of bored looking and dissinterested storeclerks it is a great pleasure to do business with a real professional. Congradulate yourself on a job well done, you have certainly earned it.

If you are ever selling a crested pachanoi let me know, I am in the market. The same goes for anything else special or unusual that you happen to come across- I have a fondness for mutants and for cactus that look like big green caterpillers or organic cubist castles. I would like to have a cactus that is very bright blue, and anything else that is weird or cool looking would interest me. Also, if you have any advice about growing and propogating cactus in the north I could use it. Thank you for everything, and best of luck to you in all of your endevors!
I remain an extremely satisfied customer and your friend in Virginia,
-Sean Fitzgerald

This is the biggest compliment anyone has sent me. Thank you very much. I guess it was the way I was raised - I enjoy providing the best stuff I can to customers. In a one person hobby business you can do that, so I do. Your appreciation is very much appreciated!


Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009
Hi Verne & all the cats!

I live in Southern Cal (Oceanside in north San diego county to be exact) and have been checking out your terrific site for awhile now. I was wondering if you might be so kind as to help identify a column cactus I've picked up near my house?

It was growing out in a big open canyon area near my house but it and a whole bunch more were recently bulldozed down to make way for a cemetery expansion... it's so sad to see them all knocked down and piled up, ready to be gotten rid of. It was a really impressive group, some almost 15 feet high!

I decided to grab a piece to see if I could root it according to your website instructions as I love cacti and succulents! I'd appreciate any help you might be able to offer as to identifying this. Thanks so much and keep the coolness coming on the website!

Jon, Grace and our cats, pahko and baxter

It is a variety of Cereus. Please don't abbreviate California as Cal. California is the most wonderful state in the entire world. Every day I live in California is a day in Heaven. It is, to me, an honor to type every letter of the name California. Our Governator says it "Caly forn-e-ah". I like to sing "California, open your golden gate, don't let Raccoony wait outside your door..."
But that's just me. Your results may vary.
Its a Cereus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereus
Cereus is cool, but not as cool as my cat Raccoony. But that's just my opinion.

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009
Hello Verne!!
I just got your emails, I am so so so excited to recieve my cacti. I am going to trust you, in terms of the weather, as I apparently should; you said yourself that you lived in Conneticut years ago and remember the Eastern weather. It is so cold and windy here, but again I will hope for the best and remember that you are, to me anyway, an "expert" on these beautiful cacti!!

I have been bitten by the cactus bug intensely. I luv luv luv the columnar, branching cacti. My goal is to have a few huge BRANCHING cacti. Thus far I have about 40 different cacti, but only three are branching. ( I know being such a cacti luver goes hand in hand with patience), I realize that most/almost all, are slow growers, and here at my home in Pa., they are only outside in the sun from about May until late Aug/ early Sept, and most cacti only branch when they are more mature.

Do you have any advice for me on any fast growing, branching columnar cacti, or any columnar cacti that branch at a young age, OR how to "make" your cacti branch?? Just wondered!! Thanks so so much for your time and the beautiful babies, and I know I will most likely be making more purchases in the (near) future!

Thanks again, and I look so so so forward to recieving my package!!

Sincerely- Dani
Dear Dani,

Cacti recently shipped to New York, Boston, PA, and Virginia have all been getting through OK. I pack them all snuggly in a lot of cozy stuff so they can keep warm. Don't stress.

Cereus and Trichocereus are fast growing but it would be impractical to grow branching ones in containers unless you have a forklift to move the container. You need to look at other species, of which I am not an expert, such as stetsonia that branch readily at smaller sizes.

Look for a local cactus store in your area to get these. They cute. Fast growing and can get tree size. Trichocereus does not have the same branching when young and small as stetsonia.

Trichocereus offset grow like mad, though. This is not branching but can look a lot like it. Below is my pal Bobcat showing this proclivity to grow offsets -

Many people collect euphorbias - a succulent from Africa - some look more like cactus than cactus. I think some of those may branch a lot, but I'm not an expert on them.

Visit a cactus & succulent store? There are some spectacular ones in California but that is no help to you - look for one that supplies plants to interior designers. Not decorators - interior designers. They have restrictions like being in buildings you can't enter unless you are "in the trade". But they would have access to stuff that would make your dreams come true - for a price. I used to own a delivery service for the design trade in my past life, in my misspent youth, so I know. If you were a client (and I was a designer) we could set you up with all the branching cactus you had room and funds to enjoy.

I prune my specimens to harvest tips for rooting. The offsets that grow can be spread apart - I use rocks - and have even grafted branches with 2 methods. One of my dumb customers just bought a nice only to break it by careless unpacking. Kids.

Here is how I did the one he broke. San Pedro pups from the base. Those columns are attached at the soil line to the main column. SO I grafted some up onto the column of another. Just an experiment. In the summer you can cut and stick anything on anything else and it'll grow so I play Dr. Frankenstein.

You cannot graft out of season or stuff will infect like that guy with a face transplant when the immune suppressant drugs failed. I saw that on Discovery Health Channel.

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009
From: todor georgiev <tokidg@abv.bg>
Subject: this is the cactus

hi i wondar is that trichozereus cacty and what is the name af it???it haves long thorns and the tip af the thorns wos braun.

pls indetify it for my.


Subject: Cactus tips
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009

Hello Vern
Thanks for the Nice cactus. Here are some photos of a clump that has some tips growing on the tips .I think one is a tip on a tip on a tip. I thought you might enjoy them.
 -------- Thank you!

PERUVIANUS? / Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009

I really enjoyed your website! My next venture was going to be of the Peruvian variety! I have room for 2...maybe 3 plants and am most interested in the blue and fat variety. Do you have any suggestions? From what I gathered from the website, the Rimac and Matucana varieties seem to fit that description, but I don't know enough about them to understand the difference from the "torch", "Peruvianus", or "fastest" labels I saw as well. Depending on price, size, and quality, I'll likely want to obtain 3 plants, of different varieties (if available) and between 2 and 3 feet in height. I welcome your feedback.
Thanks, Mark Wood
There are several sources of this confusion, and it is unnecessary.

Bob Ressler's website is good: http://www.columnar-cacti.org/trichocereus/page3.html

My named specimens, propagated year after year from cuttings, are on this page: http://trichocereus.com/comparisons.htm. The KK242 is the 1920 era "official" Peruvianus of long dead old farts Britton & Rose. http://trichocereus.com/peruvian_torch_botanical1.htm

The confused people are not growers, they are "armchair experts" living in city apartments who only have flower pot specimens�believe me you can't properly identify unless you grow a large specimen over a period of years. I think many of them smoke too much dope.

I grow many specimens from Peruvian seeds. This is to establish a collection of possible reference specimens for Bridgesii, San Pedro, Terschekii, Glaucus, Macrogonus, etc. They are not yet available for sale, let alone photographing. As I said, one has to grow a large specimen first.

Many Trichocereus member are as easy to identify as a German Shepherd is from a Labrador retriever. Trichocereus Terschekii, Spachianus, Pachanoi, Bridgesii, Macrogonus, KK242, and Glaucus are very distinctive. They are like pure bloods.
"Peruvian Torch" is a general description of ones having variations in spine profusion, spine lengths and spine colors. I lump all of them into that general name. You can see from the KK collection site # pictures the futility in trying to get more precise; they are all from some valley in the Peruvian mountains.
See how the tip looks like a flame? Isn't that cool? That is why I call it a "Peruvian Torch"

At right is a lovely one Ressler lists as T.sp (specimen) of no exact Trichocereus last name. This is is what I call the Peruvian Torch. http://www.columnar-cacti.org/trichocereus/page4.html

TIP� Never give too much credence to color in a photograph; you can't use that to identify from a photo because color correction is all over the place. If you know anything about photography you know that light has color temperature in degrees Kelvin. Shade, shadows, incandescent light, fluorescent lights, full sun, photo flash, etc. all have different "color temperatures." Digital photos are not color standardized.

MY TRICOSS / From Sweden

Is this a peruvianus?

Toothpick cactus. Stetsonia coryne

HAPPY CUSTOMER / January 6, 2009

Hey there, I don't really have a question, I just wanted to touch base with you. I bought a 24" san pedro with pup from you back in 06 and here he is today along side some of his friends He has been cut many times to provide friends with their own pups to start.

It's funny how cacti grow on people when they are around. Just wanted to let you know that we are still happy 3 years later out in atlanta GA. Keep growing those cacti and when I get more space I will probably be back for more but as it stands now I am running over with cacti (I have to bring them in in the winter and live in a apartment) Take it easy.

Sincerely, Happy customer :)

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