Saving Rotting Euphorbia obesa


Around 2 weeks ago I noticed that the big and old Baseball plant (Euphorbia obesa) was leaning to one side of the pot and I use a rock to give it support to stand straight. At that time I thought the plant was still hard to touch. But today I noticed that it had unusual colour and when I touched the bottom part it was very soft.

It makes me sad as we have had it for many years. When we bought it around 20 years ago, More

Rare Succulents


Both of these plants are succulents, they are not cacti. A succulent plant is named a cactus if only it is prickly and spiny. Both Euphorbia obesa and Senecio globosa are spineless and smooth. The two plants are quite rare here in Melbourne as they are a bit hard to find.

Euphorbia obesa:

Euphorbia obesa - Baseball plant

Euphorbia obesa – Baseball plant


Easter Plants


Blood Moon April 4, 2015:

Blood Moon April 4, 2015 as seen from Melbourne. Picture source: The Age Newspaper.

Blood Moon April 4, 2015 as seen from Melbourne. Picture source: The Age Newspaper

The third Tetrad blood moon (of the four blood moons 2014 – 2015) could be seen perfectly from Melbourne area last night April 4, 2015. When the moon was rising there were many clouds, but it was clear during the eclipse process which took around 5 hours. During the short full coverage about  11 o’clock pm, the moon looked mysteriously dark and distant, the colour was kind of copper red. So it was not blood colour at all.

People in Australia will not see another full moon eclipse again until January 31/February 1, 2018….. as we will miss the fourth Tetrad Moon completely on September 28 this year. I did not take any photos as my camera is not good for taking pictures of the stars and the moon. The picture above was from the Age Newspaper.


Two plants in our garden are associated with Easter. Both are now blooming to remind us that Easter is approaching.

Crucifix Orchid:

Red Crucifix Orchid

Red Crucifix Orchid


Euphorbia Spurge – Strangely Pretty


Euphorbia martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’

According to Wikipedia, Euphorbia is the fourth largest genus of flowering plants which consists of around 2000 species. What really amazing are the different looks of those large species. Some look like cactus with no leaves at all, but others look like succulents, small bushes with pretty colourful leaves and unusual flowers. Others are twiggy , spiky and thorny, while the rest are trees. Even the Christmas Poinsettia is included in the Euphorbia family (Euphorbia pulcherrima). The only similarity of them all is that they are all sappy and poisonous. When handling the plants, great care must be taken by avoiding sap to have contact with skin or eyes. Read more

Garden Early Autumn 2014


A dead beetle in the garden

A dead beetle in the garden

Yes, the weather here around Melbourne has definitely changed. Temperature that soars above 40 deg. C is nothing new, but if it comes 4 or 5 days in a row? Only one day of 40 deg + can still be tolerated by all plants, but in more than two days, some plants will start to suffer.

We completely lost the Hemizygia ‘Candy Kisses’ and I am going to replace it with Lavender, an aromatic plant that is more resistance to high temperature and draught. The Jacobinia, Fuschia and Justicia are recovering and they have started to grow new leaves. I haven’t trimmed the dried leaves as they can protect the new growth underneath from hot sun. We will never know how the weather will be this Autumn, though so far in the last 2 weeks it was reasonably mild. Another reason is that trimming the dead leaves while the new growths are still small can easily damage them by cutting them off by mistake. Once the new foliage has grown bigger in another month or so, I will cut the dead parts off. I just have to stand the ugly look for a little longer 🙂

Read more

Kaktus yang Gampang Susah


Baseball Plant - Euphorbia obesa

Baseball Plant – Euphorbia obesa

Catatan: Tulisan ini untuk jenis Kaktus yang berasal dari padang pasir dan tanah gersang. Bukan untuk jenis Kaktus hutan tropis yang tumbuhnya menumpang dipepohonan (Epiphytic Cactus).

Tanaman kaktus maunya tidak sering disiram. Sudah berapa jumlah kaktus yang kutanam akhirnya mati karena aku terlalu menyayanginya. Kalau dengan banyak tanaman lainnya, semakin dirawat dan dimanjakan akan semakin subur. Namun kalau kita terlalu sering menyiram kaktus, apalagi kalau tinggal didaerah dingin, tanaman yang berasal dari daerah panas dan gersang itu akan membusuk. Didaerah empat musim, penyiraman harus dihentikan sama sekali selama musim dingin….. ini yang aku tak bisa dengan mudah melakukannya.

Tanaman cactus kalau ditanam didalam pot harus dijaga supaya tidak sering kehujanan, dan selama musim panas/kering hanya disiram kalau tanah sudah mulai mengering. Kaktus didalam pot harus diletakkan ditempat yang terkena sinar matahari dan terbuka tapi terlindung dari curah hujan yang tinggi. Beranda rumah adalah tempat yang ideal untuk menaruh kaktus didalam pot. Didaerah yang curah hujannya rendah, kaktus bisa ditanam ditanah dikebun yang berpasir dan segera menyerap air, terutama jenis kaktus yang tumbuh tinggi dan besar. Kalau ditanam ditanah tak memerlukan pupuk dan tak perlu disiram.

The Penis Plant

Penis Plant – Trichocereus bridgesii sp

Untuk menanam kaktus didalam pot diperlukan media tanam yang mengandung 40 % pasir dan kerikil. Kerikil bisa diganti dengan bata yang dihancurkan. Disini kami bisa beli tanah siap pakai khusus untuk kaktus. Tapi bisa juga dibuat sendiri dengan mencampur 60 % potting mix biasa dan 20% pasir kasar dan 20 % kerikil. Kalau ditanam ditanah, kaktus tak perlu diberi pupuk. Kalau ditanam dipot hanya memerlukan sedikit (separoh ukuran) pupuk sekali setahun. Kalau tanaman kaktus keluar bunganya bisa dipakai pupuk yang rendah kadar nitrogen-nya. Kalau kaktus tak berkembang, bisa pakai sedikit NPK balanced fertilizer.

Kemarin aku luangkan waktu untuk satu persatu meneliti koleksi tanaman kaktus kami yang masih mampu hidup. Kuperhatikan apakah ada serangga yang bersarang terutama yang mengisap sari makanan dari kaktus tersebut. Kubersihakan sarang laba-laba dan juga potnya yang berdebu. Bekas daun yang mengering pada tanaman Senecio globosa harus dipotong supaya kelihatan rapi. Dari semua kaktus yang kami punya, ada satu yang tidak sehat.

Kaktus ‘Penis Plant’ ( Trichocereus sp. Montrose) kelihatan tidak mulus karena banyak bercak-bercak putih. Memang jenis tanaman ini sering mengalami problema ini, walau biasanya tidak mematikan tapi tidak sedap dipandang. Bercak yang seperti kerak putih itu bisa disebabkan oleh tanah dan udara yang terlalu lembab dan kurangnya sinar matahari dimana bakteri atau jamur menyerang. Namun sebaliknya terlalu banyak sinar matahari yang panas sekali bisa membakar permukaan kaktus yang mulus ini hingga menjadi keriput dan akhirnya juga berubah menjadi kerak putih. Karena yang punya kami letaknya dinaungan beranda, akan kucoba untuk memindahkannya diluar untuk mendapatkan sinar matahari langsung jika temperatur tidak panas sekali. Semoga upaya ini akan bisa mengurangi tumbuhnya kerak-kerak putih tsb.

Senecio globosa and Euphorbia trigona

Senecio globosa and Euphorbia trigona

Euphorbia anoplia and Euphorbia melbraformis

Euphorbia anoplia and Euphorbia melbraformis

Ferocactus latipinus (Fishhook Barrel) and other Ferocactus sp.

Ferocactus latipinus (Fishhook Barrel) and other Ferocactus sp.

Euphorbia obesa – Our New Babies


Our search was finally over. Now we have not only one but two more Baseball Plants which is the other name for Euphorbia obesa. They are still small, and it will take a while for them to grow, but I am very excited.

I used to have two of them that I bought long long time ago, but one of them died last year. The other one that is still alive has grown quite big for this kind of cactus. It is about 20 cm high. We bought one of the new little ones last March in Victoria Market, and the other one which is better in shape was purchased two days ago in Garden World. In Victoria market at that time only one Euphorbesa obesa available there and the shape was not perfect but we bought it anyway. It is a surprise to me that they are finally available in Garden World. There were only three of them. One was quite large and beautiful but it was much too expensive and the other two were small. I decided to buy one of the small ones. A little bit pricey still, but it was worth it for such a rare cactus plant.

Euphorbia obesa do not multiply, so the only way to grow it is by seeds. This is one of the reasons why this cactus is dear beside the fact that it grows very slowly. We will never know the young baseball cacti is male or female until they flower. They say that the male E. obesa usually grow taller than the female.

To go to my last post on Euphorbia obesa:


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