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Coromandel Cacti’s Newsletter for Enthusiasts
No. E05 September 2006. | Eplants | Garden News | Herb Farm | Diacks | What to do this week

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Coromandel Cacti’s Newsletter for Enthusiasts No. E06 November 2nd,  2006.



Another month and oh so fast it was!

Here, in Auckland this coming weekend it’s the biennial show of our Auckland Branch of the Cactus and Succulent Society. If you’re within driving distance I really recommend you get along there. It should be a great show with about 1000 plants entered in the competitions plus a big Sales Area, supplied by all of the Branch’s diverse range of growers.

You will see beautiful and rare plants that have never been offered for sale in New Zealand, including many of our own. (Coromandel Cacti has about 100 entries in the Competition!)


Venue: Mt Albert War Memorial Hall

When: Friday 3rd Nov    12 – 6 pm

            Saturday 4th Nov  9 – 5 pm

            Sunday 5th Nov    9 – 3 pm

Admission: Adults $4  Senior Citizens & Children $2


Spring is a great time to repot, and our bagged Potting Mix has been flying out the door so it’s clear many of you are doing just that. If a plant is yellowing a bit, or getting brown “stress spots” then it certainly won’t handle another summer without a repot. If you deal with it now you will get a whole season of uninterrupted good-quality growth. If you don’t do it, your plant may degenerate over summer beyond redemption.


Newsletter Special: Ferocactus alamosanus platygonus. Mention this newsletter and for November you can have a beautiful rotund specimen of this choice species (in 20cm grade) for $30, saving you $10.


New Releases

Euphorbia ‘Toxic Milkshake’    At last we have released this fine new hybrid, at the nursery now, and available by mailorder. These plants are just getting better and better, whiter and more columns, it’s a cracker.

Monvillea spegazzini Crest    This is one of the best because it has a smallish format and regularly throws surprising new shapes: fans, looptheloops, cockscombs, and curlescues. It comes in an odd pastel bluegreen colour. No other colours available, it’s not a car.

Monadenium guentheri    For the collector who has (nearly) everything.

Sulcorebutia breviflora.     A prolific flowerer.

Eriosyce occulta    A black, very slowgrowing miniature from the harsh Copiapo Desert of Chile. Turnip-like root anchors it, covered in sand. Apparently it sees the light through the transparency of the sand grains above it. Indoors only, water sparingly.

Agave utahensis eborispina    An extreme form of utahensis, with stiff leaves to 250mm with a startling white awn (i.e. end spine) theoretically to as long as 20cm. Teeth larger and crooked in this form.

Haworthia nigra 'nana'  Tiniest form of the glistening, slow-growing H. nigra. Really suits a bonsai-style pot, planted with rocks, but should be OK outdoors, in fact should become even blacker in strong light. Probably not very frost-tolerant.

Zygosicyos pubescens    Endangered Madagascan lump plant with globular caudex to 2 metres diameter. Wow! Produces vines which stay leafy in at least mild areas. Keep dryish in winter. Untried outdoors.


Mailorder Report

Charlotte tells me that in the 10 months of our Mailorder service we have yet to take an order that we couldn’t supply! In other words, if the website has it available then it IS available. And further, did you know that it’s our policy NEVER to send an unrequested substitute. We consider this the lowest trick of all, in the mailorder book of crimes. It has happened to us and we weren’t impressed, and we certainly won’t do it to you.


Web Specimen Report

Lots of new specimens went up last week, some of them shippable too, prices from $30-$3000. We put in some lower-priced items this time. There are some wonderful old Lump Plants for the collector of caudiciforms, plus Agaves, Cacti etc. The big blue Pilosocereus pachycladus has thrown a new branch so we had to re-photograph it for you. Caution: x-rated!!! See it here:


There’s a most unusual windswept-looking Aloe plicatilis for against a wall somewhere. Not only windswept out to one end but some funky branches that have droopdelooped etc. See the pics, here’s the windswept side:

and the funky side:


By the way, on the Web Specimens page the captions to the pics are not visible until you open the bigger version of the pic. This is a shame as they are just as surprising as the captions to the pics in the Plant List. So click on the pics!

This link will take you to the top of the Specimens page, scroll to the bottom for the latest 15 or so Specimens:


Nursery News

We are all just flat tack getting ready for the November Show right now, so it’s like a military operation here!

But we must make time to tell you that Maribel now has a Work Permit and has officially joined the team. Welcome Maribel! Maribel is from the Philippines just 10 months now, and finds the greenhouses in winter probably the best place in Auckland! Even with a coat and two thermals!


And don’t forget to use the Quick View List, being an A - Z listing of species for fast searching. It includes an indication of mail-order availability, and all names are clickable links. ALL species now have descriptive comments, our Indoor/Outdoor Capability rating, and at least one picture. Over 180 items are available online at our website, including potting mix and gift vouchers.

Here’s the link:

NOW for some Plant Chat:

A fierce hail storm struck Mt Wellington 3 weeks ago (and a much wider area too, I believe), certainly the heaviest hail storm I have ever seen, watching out the window as hailstones passed right through Agave attenuata leaves! As always, the Agaves suffered more damage than the Aloes.


Today’s Advice: Repotting spiny plants: “Bag of Bags” – this is a cushion made of 20 standard shopping bags stuffed inside1 standard shopping bag, then tied at the top. Use two Bags of Bags to ‘squeeze’ a spiny plant while lifting it, and save damage to both you and the plant. This method is far better than the rolled-up newspaper your uncle uses. Bigger plants require your mate to do the repotting bizzo while the strong one simply holds and then lowers the plant as instructed. Plants that are bigger still can have a noose tied tightly around an encircling cushion of Bags of Bags, then raise the whole caboodle above the work bench and fasten the cord to the rafter, then you can depot, examine etc at your leisure, then tilt and bring the new pot underneath, settle it in, then lower it down and untie. Did that make sense? This method can be used if you don’t have a (willing) mate.

Coro Cacti Tip: Agaves don’t like their roots messed with too much. Try not to damage them, and repot straight away, without drying out, and use a slightly damp mix, neither wet nor dry. They are not as tough as Aloes in the repotting department. 


Open 7 days. Mon - Fri, 9 - 5 p.m., Sat 9 - 4 p.m., Sun 10 - 4 p.m.

Closed only on significant public holidays, so ring first on those days.

nursery & postal address: 170 Mt Wellington Highway, Mt Wellington, Auckland 1060.


phone 09 5274052

fax 09 5274098



See you here soon or behind a "Shopping Cart",

Martin and the Team at Coromandel Cacti