Echinopsis wrestling in front yard

Last week, one of my weekend projects had been removing one Echinopsis hybrid to make room for a prettier one. This morning, I installed the replacement plant.

This is what the larger mound in the front yard looked like after removal of the old red-flowering Echinopsis hybrid. It had been to the left of the tree.

September 26, 2021

 The official "before" photo from this morning. Take a look at the two agaves on either side of the tree; I took them out as well. The one on the left is Agave obscura 'Red Skyline', the one on the right is Agave multifilifera 'Starshine'. I removed them because they were starting to take up more room than allotted. I'll have a separate post on these agaves coming up. 

October 3, 2021, just before 'June Noon' was planted

 The new Echinopsis is a hybrid called 'June Noon', which I brought home from Arizona in May 2021. Check out its amazing white and yellow flowers in this photo by Jeff Moore of Tucson-based Arid Adaptations Nursery, the source of my 'June Noon'.

Instead of sliding the top-heavy cactus clump out of the plastic pot and then lifting it into the planting hole by the root ball, I decided to set the pot into the planting spot (much easier to wrangle) and then cut away the plastic can with a sharp knife.

Potted Echinopsis 'June Noon' wrangled into place

For better drainage, I didn't want to plant the cactus too deep. I carefully enlarged the planting hole with my hands while wriggling the root ball to remove as much loose soil as I could. I repeated these steps several times until a) the root ball was smaller (mostly roots, less soil), and b) the hole was deep enough to accommodate the root ball. This allowed me to plant the heavy cactus with as little effort as possible. 

While wrangling the Echinopsis, the cut sections from the plastic nursery pot made effective shields that protected my hands against the sharp spines. In fact, I experienced no painful pokage.

After planting, I placed rocks under two of the stems to support them. Stabilizing the tallest one was critical because I didn't want it to break off and fall over.

Echinopsis 'June Noon' planted and stabilized by rocks

 Here is Echinopsis 'June Noon' in all its glory:

 Since I wasn't able to plant 'June Noon' in its original orientation, I covered it with window screen to prevent sunburn.

 I also planted replacements for the two agaves I'd removed. The first one is an Agave cerulata ssp. dentiens (lower right in the photo below). This Baja California native is uncommon in cultivation, but it's oh so pretty with its sky-blue leaves. It does offset, but since it's a small species, it's easy enough to keep the clump looking neat. Check out this photo of a mature clump of Agave cerulata ssp. dentiens from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Lower right: Agave cerulata ssp. dentiens

 The second replacement agave is Agave schidigera 'Royal Flush' (to the right of the tree in the photo below):

Agave schidigera 'Royal Flush' is a Hans Hansen/Walters Garden introduction that has a wider cream-colored margin than the similar 'Shira Ito No Ohi'. It's solitary and expected to top out at a width of 20" and a height of 12". 

Agave schidigera 'Royal Flush'

There's one small step still left to do: remove the small cushion bush (Leucophyta brownii) you see in various photos. This is a dwarf selection called 'Bed Head'. It's been perfect for this spot while the plants around it were putting on size, but now it's no longer needed. Leucophyta brownii is short-lived in our climate anyway (maybe in general) and declines after a few years. I'll leave it in place until daytime temperatures drop into the the 70s, otherwise the surrounding plants might get sunburned when I remove it.

© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.


  1. "no painful pokage"... good job! And it looks great.

    1. I tell you, pain avoidance is a powerful motivator! Seriously, the plastic pieces really helped.

      Can't wait for the first flush of flowers next spring.

  2. You are very brave but I guess you've had far more experience corralling cactus than I have ;)

  3. Not a single bit got knocked off, you are The Cactus Whisperer!


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