CactusWorldLIVE! – Online talks for September 2021 - next months talks are published just before the end of the month

Our talks take place twice a month on the first and third Tuesday. Please contact the talks team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any suggestions or ideas for talks or speakers.


Topic: Steven Brack – 'Out of the fire, into the pan' miniature succulents of the grit pans of Namaqualand

Time: Tuesday 7 September 2021 at 7:30pm (BST)

Meeting ID: 899 9849 3750

Passcode: bcss

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Steven became interested in horticulture from a young age while growing up on a small family dairy farm in Wisconsin. Seeing some cacti at a friend’s house resulted in trips to the library to look at books on the subject, then in turn joining societies and sending away for seeds. Having developed the seed-raising bug Steven decided to move to the desert state of New Mexico, to start a nursery to produce seeds. Along with his wife, he started Mesa Garden in 1976, which he sold in late 2016 to retire. Steven found that one of the best parts of his work was taking trips to see plants in habit, which he continues to do.

Southern Africa has a huge amount of exposed rock slabs, in these areas are billions of depressions that fill in with grit, sand, dust. A whole ecosystem develops in these pans with each one becoming its own little world, where succulents, mosses and other plants grow. The surrounding high rocks are very barren compared to the depressed pans, the high rocks are too hot to support the complexity found in the cooler pans. In the western regions of South Africa and Namibia there is a winter rainfall climate with some rain, drizzle, fog, snow, and frost at night. These water sources trickle down into the pans keeping them cool and moist compared to the heat and dryness of the higher up rocks. Some pans fill in with grit that erodes off the higher rocks providing a great spot for slow-growing succulents to grow from seed. The grit provides stability for the tiny seedlings to survive. In the summer, the small succulents, and other bulbs, etc., pull down to hide from the sun. In this exciting talk we will see many kinds of small succulents growing in these pans and get an idea of how they survive in nature.


Topic: Thomas Brand – Eye to eye with mealy bug and spider mite

Time: Tuesday 21 September 2021 at 7:30pm (BST)

Meeting ID: 818 0262 9695

Passcode: bcss

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Since his youth, Thomas Brand has been associated with cacti and other succulents and has turned his hobby into a profession - he is a trained gardener, a qualified horticulturist and phytopathologist, which means that he deals professionally with diseases and pests on plants. Thomas has been a member of the German Cactus Society (DKG) for 35 years. He is a leading editor of the German-language cactus journal ‘Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten’ and has written a book entitled Plant Protection in Cacti and Other Succulents (in German only).

Like all living things, cacti get sick and are attacked by parasites. In nature, these counterparts are regulators of the natural balance but in our collections, we consider them as pests that we try to fight. The most common of these parasites in a cactus and succulent collection are certainly mealy bugs and spider mites. From time to time, we all experience the challenge of these little creatures, and a greater knowledge of them will be of great interest to beginners as well as to experienced growers. The biology of mealy bugs and spider mites and possible countermeasures will be described and discussed in this talk, which is not necessarily for the faint-hearted...

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