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Desert beauty: Cactus and Succulent Society offers plants, tips at annual sale

Some cacti and succulents require special care.

The Cactus and Succulent Society of New Mexico will hold its spring show and sale on April 13 and 14. Shown here is a blooming Neoporteria subgibbosa heterocantha. (Courtesy of Siegfried N. Lodwig)

It is not that they are hard to grow, but there are some misconceptions on how much water and how much sunlight they should receive, as well as whether the plants should be planted outdoors or stay potted in certain areas of your home.

The Cactus and Succulent Society of New Mexico will be available to help during its spring plant show and sale on Saturday, April 13, and Sunday, April 14, at the Albuquerque Garden Center.

“Some people buy cactus and they say, ‘Oh, this would be wonderful in my bathroom, because it will be humid there’ and the poor thing is getting almost no direct sunlight or none at all and the thing goes pencil neck, so to speak,” said Ralph Peters, public relations coordinator for spring show and sale. “You’ll see a big, fat stem, and it will get smaller and smaller and smaller, and you’ll have this little wimpy stem with almost no spines on them, so that’s an example of not the right thing to do.”

Some cacti and succulents also need to be taken inside during cold months so they don’t freeze and gradually introduced back into the sunlight during the spring. Putting them out in direct sunlight immediately could cause them to sunburn, according to Peters.

Cacti and succulents can have some bright blooms.

“Aloinopsis spathulata it has big flap leaves that look kind of spatulas and it has great flowers,” Peters said. “They’re really bright. And the Rabiea species are sort of small brown clumpy things, but they have such bright yellow flowers and they’re great in February, and they’re about done blooming here in mid-March.”

There will be numerous cacti and succulents to choose from during the sale, including some locally grown, hardy species for yards in Albuquerque.

“Most of the people come to the building for the sale, because we have lots and lots and lots of plants and the reason why a person might want to come buy plants from our club as compared to going to Lowe’s or a normal nursery is we’ll have people there that probably grew the plant from seed,” Peters said. “They can talk to you about how to grow it in your yard and if they’re going to survive planted in the ground in your yard or whether it should be a patio plant that you drag in for part of the winter. How big will it get? Will it have pretty flowers? All those sorts of questions we’ll be able to answer.”

As part of the show, there will be several hundred plants on display, including some of the “finest specimens” from private collections in our region, including society members’ plants. You do not need to be a member to exhibit plants. Members of the public can take their best cacti and succulents to be exhibited at this show. Entries will be accepted from 1 to 8 p.m. today at the Albuquerque Garden Center. More information on how to enter plants and download entry tags is available by clicking “press release” on the society’s website at

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