Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society 2013 show and sale recap

This weekend (May 4 and 5, 2013) is the Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society’s 53rd annual show and sale. It is being held at Shepard Garden and Arts Center adjacent to McKinley Park. For more information, go to the SCSS web site.

To whet your appetite—or to show you what you missed—here are some photos I took yesterday (Saturday). Be sure to click each photo to see a large version.



The tables where overflowing with succulents of all descriptions. For many visitors, the biggest draw were the blooming cacti on the Planta Seca tables. I don’t know how owner Bill Munkacsy does it, but his cacti are stunning, year after year. (In case you’re wondering, the majority of the flowering cacti were Rebutia or Sulcorebutia species.)












As alluring as the bright colors of these rebutias are, my favorite flowering cactus was the one in the next photo, a Neochilenia odieri. I do have a thing for white or off-white cactus flowers, I must admit!


Neochilenia odieri

I also liked the cacti that were on the verge of blooming. Knowing how short-lived the flowers are, you’re probably better off buying a plant that isn’t in full flower yet.


Gymnocalycium baldianum


Gymnocalycium baldianum

Here are a few non-cactus succulents that caught my eye. (Actually, so many plants caught my eye that I could have posted dozens of additional photos but I didn’t want to go overboard.)


Lewisia cotyledon, a curious succulent native to the West Coast of the U.S. I’ve tried—and failed—several times trying to grow lewisias. They just hate our hot summers, much like dudleyas.


Boophane disticha, a South African bulb that with age forms a stunning fan of leaves. This plant is probably 10+ years old. Unfortunately, at $50 it was too pricey for me.


Agave pumila, a small, rare, and expensive agave—also $50


I had to laugh when I saw this cactus: the lucky buyer got a Johnny Jump Up for free!

Club member J.D. Wikert sold not only beautiful succulents from his own garden but also hypertufa dish gardens. This one, incorporating a large piece of driftwood, was particularly striking:


Another personal highlight were the tables of Fresno succulent collector and potter Mark Muradian. Mark’s designs incorporate many different patterns made using tools as varied as coins, rubber stamps, lace, corn cobs, and his own hands. The shapes are equally innovative. I already had two of his pots and bought a third one.




Here are the plants I bought for myself:


Mammillaria gracilis var. fragilis, aka thimble cactus (shown here in my own pot after repotting)


Dyckia marnier-lapostollei hybrid (shown here in my own pot after repotting)

By far the best deals were the plants propagated by SCSS members specifically for this sale:


Agave nickelsia, formerly known as Agave ferdinandi-regis (just $3.00)


Dyckia sulphurea in an attractive 9-inch rolled-lip terracotta pot (at $4.00 the best deal of the day; the pot alone costs more than that)


Rhipsalis cactus sold at an unbeatable price of $1.50

This post shows some of the interesting plants that were entered in the juried show.


  1. Wow, somebody sure spent a lot of time with the hot glue gun to get all of those blooms ready for the sale! ;)

    Beautiful! I hope they had a first-aid station (a.k.a. "tweezer kit") nearby. :)

    1. No tweezers, but packing tape. Works better on glochids :-).

  2. I hoped by going Sunday all the good stuff would be gone so I wouldn't be tempted to buy anything, but.... I stumbled into Candy Suter, and she saw me looking longingly at a Pachycereus schottii monstrose and with her encouragement, I went home with it, sigh. Well, it WAS a bargain at 17 dollars and almost a foot tall, but do I really need it... well...

    1. As that Totem pole cactus gets bigger and more cool looking you are going to be glad you got it!. Each one is a bumpy individual and prized by many as they are hard to find. We should compare ours as the years go on to show how they each develop.

    2. I had to laugh at my husband's face when he asked if I bought anything (he knows me pretty well), and I showed him my new purchase. He says it looks like a used candle- LOL. The kids at the High School where I volunteer and maintain a cactus and succulent garden will undoubtedly enjoy it's unusual looks.

    3. Too funny. I walked by that totem pole cactus a bunch of times and came THIS close to buying it. It is a beauty in its own unique way.

    4. I want one of those too, but do I really need another plant to overwinter indoors?

      (of course I do)

  3. Wonderful post Gerhard! I love your panorama! It was really cool how many of the cactus were blooming right now. It made them very attractive to buyers!

    1. I agree, the cactus flowers put a smile on people's faces. Everybody seemed to be in high spirits, and I'm glad they did so much buying. Good for the club and the vendors, and good for raising the profile of succulents among gardeners.

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  5. In heaven like this, I would spend all my savings for sure :D

    1. It's hard to hold back when so many beautiful plants are on display.

  6. Is that the hand of god in last 3 pictures?

  7. Great post. You are making me fall in love with Cactus. It sounds like there's a lot more great deals in your area than San Jose. 1.50 for that Rhipsalis is crazy. I love deal like that. Thanks again for the share.

    1. The assumption is that people in San Jose (and the Bay Area) have more money so prices are higher. Why don't you come up for the 2014 show?

  8. Some very nice plants there! Interesting to see that Agave pumila is also expensive there as it tends to be here.


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