houseplant

The other day when I was at the "strange" Home Depot (renting the concrete saw), I took some time to scope out their garden center. For the most part this was entirely depressing, as they didn't even have a dedicated room for the indoor plants like my local HD does -- they just had them off in one corner of the main store. The cactus and other succulents were pretty much growing in darkness. What a shame! 


I did find something interesting though: This succulent in a hanging basket.

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The texture of it caught my eye first, and its wonderful green color didn't hurt either:


One disadvantage of having the plants out in the main store is that I couldn't just investigate in peace -- as soon as I took the basket down and started taking photos a helpful (?) employee asked if I needed any help. Of course I said "no thanks, I'm fine", but what I should have said was: "yes, thank you. What species is this, and what part of the world does it come from?"

Because the plant tag was present, but extremely unhelpful:


Ah, it's a "houseplant". Thanks, that's very helpful! There are a few nuggets of truth on this tag though:

  • This is "living" (not plastic!)
  • It produces oxygen (hey, I like oxygen!) 
  • And it needs light (unlike the other succulents growing on the dark shelves I guess).

So I'm out of luck on getting help with the ID there. I had a feeling that I saw a plant like this in one of Gerhard's posts on Bamboo, Succulents, and More, but I'm not sure how to find it.

I resorted to observation then and photos, hoping I could get an ID later. Looking closely at the interior of the plant, it appears that there may be a second type of plant mixed in:


The majority of the plant was smooth and spineless, but in there, plenty of spines.


I'm pretty sure I determined that the prickly parts were connected to the smooth parts, but now I can't be certain. If they are, does this mean that the entire plant will eventually become prickly? Or is this really two separate plants?

I checked another specimen they had and it too had the prickly interior, so I'm thinking it's how this plant is -- there's not a second type of plant in there. If that's so, then this thing will become quite dangerous in almost no time... and I'm not sure if I can handle that. (I had a cactus that I was allergic to once -- just brushing against its sharp spines would cause much itching and swelling. I got rid of that plant after several years.)


This is such a pretty plant though! Interesting too, and unique. I'm hoping for an ID in the comments below so I can do a bit more research.

Then maybe I'll stop back in the next time I'm in that part of town and pick up a cool new succulent!

.

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Jennifer  – (February 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM)  

Ah, yes. I've had several (un)helpful trips to Home Depot and other big box warehouses when I needed that emergency plant. There comes a time when you realize you have more horticultural knowledge than the entire staff combined. (and 'they' are supposed to help 'you'?) But that's when I start helping other customers who mistake me for an employee! Always fun. And I love your 'nuggets of truth' from that tag - hilarious!

I wish I could offer help ID-ing the plant. Although to me it looks like something that belongs on a coral reef. I'm interested to see what others think.

Gerhard Bock  – (February 8, 2012 at 10:03 AM)  

When I saw the first photo, I thought it was a medusoid euphorbia (like Euphorbia flanaganii) but on closer look this appears to be a cactus, not a euphorbia. I'm not an expert on epiphytic cacti but your plant looks like a rhipsalis species. This site might be helpful: http://cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Rhipsalis.

Sorry I can't give you an exact ID...

danger garden  – (February 8, 2012 at 10:31 AM)  

Gotta love those tags. My favorite are the "cactus gardens" that are completely made up of succulents, not a cactus in sight.

For this one I'm going with "drunkard's dream" or Hatiora salicornioides or Rhipsalis Salicornioides.

Rhipsalis - Drunkard's Dream
Botanical Name: Rhipsalis Salicornioides
Origins: Brazil
Light: Low Light
Watering: Every 8+ Days
Growth Speed: Slow

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (February 8, 2012 at 10:50 AM)  

danger: will the whole plant eventually get prickly? If the growth is truly "slow", then this plant is a bargain -- it was $10!

GrowingHabit –   – (February 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM)  

If its the Rhipsalis, they don't grow anywhere near as slow as claimed. Mine have always grown fairly quickly. I throw leaves in a blender and make a fine mulch, and make potting soil out of it, 50% leaves, 30% crumbled rotted wood, and the rest in sandy loamy dirt. Works great. I went and left mine in the greenhouse through a really hard freeze with no added heat- so I think they're toast. I had 'em for years before that smooth move. They bloom in tiny yellow daisies. No prickles to speak of on mine, either. Really lovely plant.

Christine  – (February 10, 2012 at 12:11 AM)  

Interesting looking plant, I'll be interested to know what it is.

Jessica  – (January 11, 2013 at 6:30 PM)  

I just happened to come across your post when I googled DIY succulent hanging basket. I too have the same plant from HD and do not know what the hell it is, other than a succulent. Mine had no tag. But little good it would have been. I have had mine for almost three years. It lives outside in its pot in the summer and then I bring it in in the winter as a house plant. It grows well, but does loss it's foliage quite a bit.

If you have found out what it is, please pass the info along.

Jessica

Anonymous –   – (June 9, 2013 at 10:14 PM)  

It looks like one I recently purchased also from a "big box" and was incorrectly labeled a hedgehog aloe. I think it's a finger jade or crassula ovata.

Anonymous –   – (July 4, 2013 at 10:07 PM)  

My Roommates mom gave us this plant about a year ago, apparently she's had it for a long time. To our surprise this plant started blooming this past spring small yellow flowers! very cool!

Nate T-W –   – (January 6, 2016 at 3:04 PM)  

This may be too late to do any good, but the plant in question is a Hatiora salicornioides. The spines are frequently present on young growth, but fall off as it matures.

Alan  – (January 7, 2016 at 6:55 AM)  

Nate: Thanks for the ID -- Hatiora salicornioides or Dancing Bones Cactus. :)

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