As I have mentioned on my blog before, I’m fond of plants–and completely unable to keep them alive. How many plants, exactly, have passed into my hands and then passed on, I’m not sure.

But it’s a tragically large number, including plants that are supposed to be able to survive all kinds of neglect.

I went to a Cactus and Xerophyte Show and Sale on Thursday, and purchased a little Astro (short for Astrophytum) cactus. They come in a variety of shapes, but tend to be short, round, and noticeably less spiky than the usual kind of cacti.

There are a lot of cacti in my area of Texas, many of them covered with spines.

Alamo cactus

Though the spineless prickly pear is a popular landscaping choice.

Some Astros resemble pin cushions with rounded segments like slices of pie, others have four rounded-edge quarters, and others a sort of five-pointed star.

Image from WikiMedia by Petar43.

Image from WikiMedia by Petar43.

Image from WikiMedia by GaleoC.

Image from WikiMedia by GaleoC.

Mine. :)

Mine. 🙂

I went with the star shaped kind, in a variety that has orange and yellows swirled in with the more standard greens, because that’s pretty nifty looking, even before it flowers.

It turns out that cacti are easier to kill than you’d think–they need pots that are just the right size, and it’s easy to over-water. Also, they can die from too little sun, but get burned if they move from a too shady area to a bright area too quickly–and of course, many are not cold tolerant.

For now, I’m willing my little star to live, and hoping it isn’t doomed.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

4 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    Good luck, Caitlin. My grandmother had the world’s greenest thumb. Things she tore out of the ground and threw on the trash heap grew there! 🙂 I love gardening, but I will never be as good as she was, so I can understand your desire to find a plant you can succeed with. Hope your cactus is it. BTW, the second one down…are you sure you didn’t just pin a flower on top of a sea urchin? Cuz it sure LOOKS like a sea urchin! I’m just sayin’…

  2. Amy Sachs says:

    These are so cool! I just bought some cactus/succulent type plants this weekend and I hope they stay alive!

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