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Submitted by: Jim Tanner

This month, the Cacti and Succulent of the Month are both miniatures. Miniatures are defined differently for different shows. In most cases, the definition is a mature plant in a pot with an inside diameter less than three inches. Some shows define the miniature category as any plant displayed as a miniature. This allows seedlings and young plants to be entered as miniatures. Others require the plant to be the smallest in a genus. We’ll use the broad definition for the Plant of the Month.
The key to success is staging plants. Particular attention must be paid to the relation of the plant to the pot, the top dressing, and any rocks. The importance of color, geometry, and texture are all magnified in the smaller scale of miniatures.
Succulents entered as miniatures include representatives from almost every family, and a list would be far too long to print. Unusual entries often do well.
With care, species that normally grow large can be kept small, stunted by the lack of root room. Even though small, miniatures need a little fertilizer to keep growth looking fresh, and frequent watering, since there is little storage either in the pot or the body of the plant.

Aeonium sedifolium
Aeonium sedifolium
Agave filifera ssp. microceps
Agave filifera ssp. microceps
Aichryson bethencourtianum
Aichryson bethencourtianum
Aloe descoingsii
Aloe descoingsii
Ceraria pygmaea
Ceraria pygmaea
Crassula corymbulosa
Crassula corymbulosa
Crassula susannae
Crassula susannae
Senecio haworthii
Senecio haworthii
Titanopsis calcarea
Titanopsis calcarea

LATIN LOOKUP – Loquerisne Latine (Do you speak Latin)?

The meanings of latin plant names on this page – from

  • Aeonium [ee-OH-nee-um]
    An ancient name used by Dioscorides for one of the species in the genus.
  • Agave [a-GAH-vee]
    Noble, handsome.
  • Aichryson [eye-KRIS-on]
    From the Greek ai (always) and chrysos (gold) and referring to the flower color.
  • Aloe [AL-oh]
    From the Arabic Alloeh.
  • bethencourtianum [bet-en-cort-ee-AH-num]
    Named for Jean de Bethencourt, 15th century Norman/French explorer of the Canary Islands.
  • calcarea [kal-KAR-ee-uh]
    Of chalky land.
  • Ceraria [ker-AR-ee-a, ser-AR-ee-a]
    Of wax; pertaining to wax candles.
  • corymbulosa [kor-im-bew-LOH-sa]
    Having corymbs (flower clusters in a particular arrangement).
  • Crassula [KRASS-oo-la, KRASS-uh-la]
    Somewhat thickened foliage; diminutive of the Latin crassus (thick, fleshy).
  • descoingsii [des-KOYN-see-eye]
    For 20th century French botanist Dr. Bernard Descoings.
  • filifera [fil-LIF-er-uh]
  • haworthii [hay-WOR-thee-eye]
    Named for Adrian Hardy Haworth, 19th century British botanist.
  • pygmaea [pig-MAY-uh]
  • sedifolium [sed-ih-FOH-lee-um]
    With fleshy foliage.
  • Senecio [sen-ek-ee-o , sen-NEESH-shee-oh]
    Latin form of old man refers to hairy parts of flowers.
  • susannae [soo-SAN-ay-ee]
    Named for Susanna (or Suzanna) Muir, wife of John Muir, 19th century Scottish born American naturalist and explorer; also spelled suzannae.
  • Titanopsis [ty-tan-OP-sis]
    Resembles Titan, the sun god; referring to the flower’s resemblance to the sun.
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