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xerophyte NYC
September 11, 2011

I am doing my best to avoid matters related to 9-11. I don't need reminding. I remember it every single day. I am lucky to not have lost anyone close to me, but I was pretty much right there at the time. It is still very much fresh in my mind, and the emotions are very strong. I have read and heard first hand the heart wrenching stories. A horrific chapter in our country's history. My only immediate wish is peace to all those touched.

Life goes on.

And with that, on a football Sunday, and as a follow up to a recent post about winter growers and how in my neck of the woods many have seen 40+ inches of rain since May, I present to you a bunch of photos, in no particular order, of how some things are doing here after a summer of virtual neglect (too busy with work and family!). Enjoy.

Pelecyphora asseliformis, gotta love the spines{{gwi:635551}}

tray of mostly pokeys outside


another group of mainly cactus


Here is a featured mixed planting at the front of my home. This Aeonium, and others, do very well in my summers. This pot is in sun all afternoon. There is also sedum, a senecio and pachyveria in there.


Here is a hanging sedum, doesn't look like much on its own, but does add a nice design element when putting together a mixed planting.


This "flapjack" got burned down to the roots last fall after an unexpected hard freeze. It is making a nice comeback.


A hardy low growing sedum, outdoors all year, fresh green and yellow colors and thrives on neglect.


Cyphostemma juttae planted out. The leaves always look lopsided. No red berries left.


One of my biggies, planted out in a submerged pot, Echinocactus. I doubt more than a handful of people have one this big in this part of the country!


One of my first succulents, grown from seed. Not particularly attractive - more like a keepsake. Will it ever bloom?


Cold hardy Yucca thompsoniana


I didn't have a chance to plant out this Cyphostemma currori in the ground so it didn't make much progress in a pot.


Nice little Crassula, looks fine to me after loads of rain


A newer acquisition, Ariocarpus retusus


Pseudolithos, loves all the heat and rain it can get


You don't see this one often - Pachypodium ambongense. Also loves heat and rain.


I don't dare leave this one out in the rain - Copiapoa cinerea. After a few years now, it still seems to have maintained its waxy epidermis. I situate it right next to a greenhouse fan. Maximum dessication is the goal if I have any chance of keeping its character.


Small Aloe melanacantha - I'm still a little hesitant to leave this one out in the rain.


This Cotyledon does fine out in all the rain, but when there is an extended period of cloudiness following rain, an unattractive black mold forms where the leaves meet the stem.


Another little gem, Haworthia limifolia striata. I have a bunch of these, tissue cultured from Europe. They may be destined for eBay someday.


I am a fan of the small spined Rebutia heliosa


Common echeveria, enjoying the outdoors


This one has a nice growth pattern and fresh green color, a form of Euphorbia suzannae


Close up of a nice little Crassula (nudicaulis maybe? I forget). Prefers cool season growth but does well for me.


I put all my Lithops outside last weekend to take advantage of good soaking rains (remnants of Tropical Storm Lee). They are uber bloated now! More Lithops pics later.


Othonna coming into growth. This one is protected from summer rains.


I am still pretty amazed I can maintain the coloration despite all the moisture. Cotyledon.


My smaller Aloe pillansii. You can see what all the rain does - it causes blotchy coloration, but mainly the older leaves are affected - I presume because the wax loses its integrity after a year.


The other Aloe pillansii. Potting mix is about 70-80% perlite. Even after a heavy rain, the pot doesn't hold much moisture.


Tray of mostly Lithops


Tray of mostly mixed mesembs


Adromischus are great for macro shots.


Adromischus marianae herrei going strong, not exposed to summer rains.


Fenestraria, also protected from summer rain.


Lithops close-ups:












Albuca spiralis coming into growth


Close up, leaves aren't long enough yet to see the curlies


Pleiospilos ready to mate


Avonia quinaria group, from seed


I also lost a decent sized Crassula undulatifolia last fall to a freeze, but I managed to salvage a bunch of stem tips that I used as cuttings.


Euphorbia decaryi, looks like mini Palm trees


Nice little Haworthia truncata


Seedlings of Aztekium hintonii


Monilaria just starting new growth


A still have a few Muiria seedlings left! They are a couple seasons old now. Holy grail of mesembs, they say.


Gasteria also make for good macro subjects




Aztekium ritteri, probably big enough to bloom soon


Blossfeldia from seed, looking plump after rain


This aberrant Pachypodium lamerei seedling is developing nicely.


One of my faves, Euphorbia 'Snowflake'


Mix of succulents growing outdoors


Dioscorea (from seed) stem and new growth



Aloe dichotoma, definitely in active growth during the summer with rain


I placed the boulders as support prior to Hurricane Irene. How many Aloe dichotomas in the world have been through a Hurricane?


Aloe Hercules, outdoors


Aloe ferox, from seed. This Aloe is getting difficult to transport. The leaves are heavy.


Aloe polyphylla, loving the rains


Aloe plicatilis, also kept outdoors all summer



Pachypodium namaquanum. If there are leaves, it stays outdoors unprotected. No leaves means no water. It started leafing out in late July.



That's it for succulents. Here are some random, non succulent photos.

Bottle Palm, Hyophorbe lagenicaulis in a pot. Stays compact and manageable.


Encephalartos horridus, putting forth a new flush of leaves. I hope I can find enough strong light this month. Yes, the leaves really are that blue.


I like the lime green color of new Dioon mejiae growth. This one is recovering from last fall's hard freeze that knocked down (but not out) many of my plants.


Bromeliad island. They share quarters with my succulents in the garage during winter.


Tillandsia dyeriana


Last, but not least, Macrozamia moorei looking great in a pot.


Comments (31)

  • marthavila

    I am new to this forum. I am also a Brooklynite, with my mouth agape over this stunning collection! Are you really in NYC? Where? At the NYBG? BBG? LOL Thanks for sharing!

  • caudex1

    Great plants!

    Did the tip of the ambongense get damaged? how tall is it?

  • Beachplants

    Pretty sweet collection - I am also working on some Muiria seedlings. The succulent you grew from seed is Aloe crytopoda, leaves has a rough feel to it and actually one of my favourite stemless aloes. Looks like some aloe rust on the leaves...they have a great "cup-like" shape which looks nice in a pot or centre of garden.

    Adromischus is also great, one I am looking for. Really nice collection!

  • meyermike_1micha

    Most beautiful and a reason to smile at this moment!

    Thank you


  • xerophyte NYC

    Martha - I grew up in Queens, lived in midtown during grad school and residency, then moved to LI in 2005. I kept my moniker.

    Caudex1 - Yes, the tip was damaged last fall after a light frost - my fault, blame it on neglect. I snipped it before rot ensued. I was planning on pruning intentionally to encourage branching, so no harm done! Now there are about 5-7 growth points. I will prune them down to probably the 3 best after they grow out some more. The plant is about 2-ft tall.

    Beachplants - yes, cryptopoda it is, I just forgot the name while making the post. That is not rust - that is weather related damage that affected growth last fall - water collected between the leaves and then froze and scarred the foliage. The aloe is growing out of it.


  • brodyjames_gw


    Your collection looks like a nursery! If I ever get to NYC, I'll be sure to stop by your place for some "shopping"! ;) Thanks for the excellent pictures....I love the lithops, the E. polygona "snowflake" and the Rebutia heliosa. I have the first two, but have yet to collect that last little guy.


  • xerophyte NYC

    Nancy - just give me a heads up, no problem!

    Funny, I had a visitor 2 winters ago from Arizona, who wanted to see my collection. My wife freaked out that I had a stranger coming over to see succulents. It was bizarre, truth be told, but I wasn't worried. If he tried anything funny, I'd just chuck my golden barrel at him.

    Mainly my garage was full at the time, but he was in shock with what I had going on there. With a little effort and know-how, I can grow a wide variety of plants here - tropicals, succulents, etc.

    I am not really jealous of growers in California or Florida. Let's see them grow a Japanese maple, Cyrtostachys and Aloe pillansii side-by-side! I enjoy the challenge, and the rewards in nice growth - even if it is only for part of the year.


  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

    What a great tour, X! Thanks for taking the time!

    That first one, Pelecyphora asseliformis, reminds me of an ancient ocean creature....
    I love plants that seem to be both plant and animal!


  • crassula

    Beautiful plants, very nice! Love your Encephalartos Horridus.

  • TT, zone 5b MA


    I can't believe your E. horridus is flushing now! Is that a second flush?

    How tall is your namaquanum?

    BTW, does anything every gnaw on your plicatilis? Something has been tasting mine recently (the trunk)...along with all my jades and portulacarias (chewing off branches!). I am guessing squirrels...they have been at everything lately.

    Great stuff, X.


  • ssk22 Ohio 5b

    This is the third Time I looked at your plants. I have alot of common plants,jades,epi's, etc.I never knew plants like these were out there.not until garden web.now I feel I need to look into finding these great looking specimens . Thanks for sharing
    Go Bucks
    Go Browns

  • squidy

    They're all beautiful!
    The Aloe polyphylla is tripping me out, it looks like there's a Photoshop filter on it but from the background it's clear that there isn't.

    And the second picture.. I love the fuzzy tail-looking one that's hanging over the side! What is that thing?

    The hanging sedum is lovely too. I am obsessed with those things ever since I saw a really long, glorious one hanging in someone's window.

  • Fleur

    I'm in awe and jealous as all get out. Very, very nice.

  • pennyhal

    Thank you for sharing your photos! Don't know how you'd be able to describe them with out a photo. It was good to have something to be joyous about today. Your plants look carefully attended to and you can be proud of what you have achieved!

  • chaparralgirl

    Your collection is AMAZING!

  • xerophyte NYC

    Thank you all for the nice comments!

    Tom - the horridus is flushing now for the first time. I wanted to try and purposely skip a year of growth, so I did not fertilize and I watered minimally. So much for that. Now I have to hope for some good sunshine otherwise the leaves may not develop the wax properly. The namaquanum has a solid 30+ inches of clear stem. I got it from a cycad collector in SoCal, very fair price given it's age and size.

    I've never noticed anything eating plicatilis. I wouldn't think they are too tasty.

    squidy - the hanging hairy thing is actually a dead Cleistocactus stem that bent over. I just haven't removed it. It adds some "character". Well, not really, I'm just being lazy.


  • squidy

    lol. How terrible, I was going to put that floppy tail-cactus on my wishlist.

  • kathi_mdgd

    What a nice collection,and glad to see you named them all.TFS

  • meyermike_1micha


    Do you bury some of your pots then just dig them up? How do you treat the soil for pests? Do you cut the roots off that escape through the bottom of the pots?

    I think you are so amazing at growing these plants. I will be working at the Cactus show this weekend and will look for some beauties that look like some of yours. I love them all though.


  • xerophyte NYC


    Yes some of the pots are submerged and the roots escape through holes along the sides. Pruning back the roots is easy. I let the cuts air dry a few days. Its much easier to unearth a pot that has roots out the sides vs roots coming out the bottom, so when I have the ability, I drill holes along the sides only.

    The "soil" is not really soil. It is an inert substrate (perlite + turface) for the most part. As far as I can tell it is devoid of macro-fauna. No worms, ants, centipedes, isopods, etc. They have no food. There is no detritus other than some leaves and what not that collect on the surface. Microscopic life is probably minimal for the same reasons. I don't worry about soil-borne pests.

  • hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

    Lovely plants--I enjoyed seeing them. Thanks for posting!

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5


    Yes, I too have looked at them several times. Thanks for sharing these wonderful plants.

  • deep___roots

    The lithops are a trip.
    And thanks for naming the Euphorbia decaryi. I have one of those and now I know what it is.

  • paul_

    A truly magnificent array of succulents! I tip my metaphorical hat to you!

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

  • crassula

    Do you put your E. Decaryi in the garage for the winter as well? Or does this come inside? Be interested in your thoughts.

  • CorpsmanCooper

    You have an amazing collection! I only wish I had a quarter of that! Thanks for sharing!

  • Marie Tran

    Beautiful, collection.

  • chicagardens

    O-M-G! this is amazing! Thank you for sharing...I will visit when I am in NYC again :D

  • meyermike_1micha

    Thank you X

    You certainly have a gift and much to share:-)


  • puglvr1

    Wow...what an AMAZING collection you have. I can't get over how many different ones you have. Thanks for sharing your beautiful collection!

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