Cactus Specialties
Jim Boehmke
2668 Crater Road, Livermore, CA 94550
Tel: (925) 447-6670
Cell phone: (925) 918-1523




Cactus Specialties specializes in growing rare, cold hardy (10F to 20F) plants from seeds that have been legally collected in habitat. Seeds are collected from cactus and succulents growing in Mexico, Baja, southwestern states, and South America. Field data is given for our plants when it is available. The seed is germinated in a high humidity, electrically heated germination chamber and eventually, the seedlings are transplanted into individual pots containing a soil mix very similar to desert soil. This special mix and the limited use of fertilizer, enable us to simulate slow growing desert conditions which results in plants having very natural characteristics. The pots remain in an unheated greenhouse for two to five years before being purchased by collectors. Plants from Cactus Specialties are rare and unique and will not be seen at local nurseries. After receiving your seed grown plants, make sure you read "GROWING TIPS", which discusses the care and feeding of these valuable specimens.



All cacti and succulents from Cactus Specialties have been grown from seed and raised in a greenhouse under 40% shade cloth from April to October. It will therefore be necessary to gradually introduce your plants to longer periods of sunlight over a six-week period. Many plants do well in full sun, but we have found that they also do very well under filtered light conditions or in an area that only sees light in the morning or afternoon. Many of our cacti can take temperatures down to about 10F, provided the soil is kept dry. Try to plant cacti so they do not get in contact with the winter rains. Keep under cover or in pots so they can be moved to a sheltered area. Keep the rain off and make sure there is plenty of ventilation. In the hot months, we water pots thoroughly about once a week and allow them to dry out. Water only when the soil is all dried out. HINT: You can make up a test pot that can be dumped out to check moisture. In the winter months, we don't water at all. (Perhaps stop watering November 1 and start again February 1, but this will vary from year to year and vary with location.) Fertilizer is best applied during the summer months. Use a water- soluble, nitrate based, fertilizer like Peters EXCEL, 15-5-15 cal-mag with trace elements that cacti love. We then greatly reduce the concentration recommended by the Peters company and use only 2-3 teaspoons of Peters per 5 gallons of water. This can then be applied to the cactus plants every time you water. When you replant your cactus plants, a mix of 50% washed sand (sandblasting sand works well), 30% natural sandy loam from the desert, and 20% coarse pumice is recommended. The natural soil has beneficial bacteria present that help plants grow better. Some weed seeds will sprout, but they will help you "read" the soil moisture and will quickly wilt when the soil dries out. (An alternate mix that works is 2 parts basic planting mix, 2 parts agricultural pumice, and 1 part clean washed sand.) When you receive your bare-rooted plants, trim the root tips with a scissors and allow to air dry for a few days. Replant in a slightly moist mix and wait at least a week before watering lightly. We hope these suggestions are helpful and that you enjoy your plants for many years.

Jim & Minnie Boehmke


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