Recap of 2015 Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale (part 2)

In this post I showed you vendor area at the  2015 Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale. For the public, this is typically what they’re interested in the most. For many members, however, the judged show is the main focus. This where they get to exhibit their beloved babies and, with a bit of luck, receive an award.

The SCSS show is open to all members. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many plants as you like. There are two main divisions—“Cacti” and “Other succulents”—and within each division there are 27 classes (either groups of related genera or more general categories such as “Crest, monstrose, variegates” or “Miniatures”). A third division is dedicated to planters, dish gardens, bonsai and the like. Exhibitors fall in three categories: Advanced (anyone with 5+ years of experience showing plants), Open (professional growers) and Novice/Junior (less than 5 years of experience showing plants or 16 or younger).


Photo courtesy of Fiona Ellis

Folks brought in their show plants on Friday, and bright and early on Saturday morning two groups of judges (one group for cacti, one for other succulents) inspected all the entries and judged them on five criteria: condition; staging/presentation; size and degree of maturity; nomenclature; and rarity. Ribbons for first, second, third place, and honorable mentions were given in each class. Rosettes were given for a variety of higher-level categories such as Best Cactus (Advanced, Open, Novice, Junior), Best Succulent (Advanced, Open, Novice, Junior), Best Ferocactus, Best Mammillaria, Best Agave, Best Aloe, etc. etc. Rosette winners were moved to the stage and also received a pot made by SCSS president Keith Taylor, a very accomplished potter.

Now that you know a little more about how the show works, let’s take a look at the plants. I didn’t take as many photos as in years past but you’ll still get a good idea of the caliber of plants in the show.




Agave marmorata f. brachyphylla


Haworthia reinwardtii


Aloe ‘Sparkler’



Agave xylonacantha ‘Frostbite’. Exhibitor: Marylinn Vila


Sansevieria pincuicula. Exhibitor: Alex Rigg


Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata. Exhibitor: Penny Newell


Boophone disticha. Exhibitor: Keith Taylor


Euphorbia obesa. Exhibitor: Nick Wilkinson


Dioscorea elephantipes. Best Succulent Open.d


Sulcorebutia bicolor. Best Rebutia. Exhibitor: Bill Munkacsy


Best Mammillaria


Agave albopilosa. Best Agave. Exhibitor: Nick Wilkinson


Haworthia truncata. Best Haworthia. Exhibitor: Peter Beiersdorfer


Fockea edulis. Best Succulent Advanced. Exhibitor: Keith Taylor


Pachypodium brevicaule. Best of Show. Exhibitor: Mark Muradian

Unfortunately, the lighting was fluorescent, which produces a sickly color cast. I tried to balance it as much as I could in Photoshop but the photos still don’t look as natural as they would outdoors. My apologies.

I must admit I forgot to photograph my own plants. Please check out this post to see what I entered. I won first place ribbons in all classes I entered, plus a second place ribbon in the “Agave” class where I had two entries. My Dyckia marnier-lapostollei narrowly missed getting Best Succulent—Novice; what did me in was the pink nursery label I had failed to remove from the pot. Yes, details matter. Next year I’ll be sure to follow the instructions to the letter. Isn’t that what we always tell our children? Time to listen to our own advice!


  1. I was scrolling through the post thinking how you did on the show and lo and behold you did incredibly well!! Congratulations Gerhard, very well deserved!!

  2. Oh, you kept us in agony for so long! Each day I would look to see if you won anything or not. As each succeeding day passed, I thought maybe you didn't win anything. Finally you tell us you won first place ribbons in all classes entered. I am so pleased for you. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you, Jane. I was sick all week and simply didn't have the energy to post an update. But I'm almost over this nasty bug.

    2. Forgiven. Glad to know you're on the mend.

  3. Beautiful show, the SCSS must be a great group. Love the albopilosa and Sulcorebutia!

    Congrats on your novice wins, I was sure you would do well. Hope you are feeling better soon.

    1. Thanks!

      The Agave albopilosa belongs to Nick Wilkinson of GROW Nursery in Cambria. He thinks it's about 7 years old. My albopilosa hasn't started to form the hairy tufts yet. Maybe I can push it a little by giving it a bit of fertilizer?

  4. Congratulations Gerhard. Those are all amazing.

  5. Congratulations Gerhard. Those are all amazing.

  6. Congratulations Gerhard. Those are all amazing.

  7. Wonderful, wonderful specimens. Congratulations on your wins, all well-deserved!

  8. Congrats -- big high five from SoCal!! A great collection of plants at your show. Our local show is this weekend -- hope it's as nice. Should be some good stuff for sale [rubs hands in anticipation]. Hope you are feeling much better!

  9. Very impressive specimens. Congrats on your wins! Wish I could've been there.


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