My Growing Love for Cacti and Succulents


by Caty Coffee, Operations Manager, Tulsa Garden Center

I have never been a patient person; my own enthusiasm has gotten the best of me in more situations than I can count. Patience is a difficult virtue when one has a general excitement for most tasks and aspects of life. That being said, I’ve always enjoyed being challenged as well. Challenges always provide an opportunity for learning and growth, but this was not on my mind 3 years ago when I was gifted my very first cactus, a “goodbye” gift from a dear friend who was moving to Arizona.

This tiny, two-inch little green pokey thing had a much bigger impact on me than I could have realized at the time. I expected this little potted thing to sit in my apartment and I would just own a cactus, end of story. It was dead within a month. Sad, black, and completely deflated, this poor plant was a sad sight to behold, and I was flabbergasted that I had killed what should have been an unkillable plant. After tossing the plant and feeling like I should have been charged with some sort of neglect, it became my mission to keep a cactus alive. I began to avidly research cacti and succulent care, species, origins, and what I had done wrong with my adventure in plant ownership. Turns out, I had done everything wrong! From placement, the lighting and over-watering because I felt that if I “loved” the cactus enough, it would survive. Turns out, the best love you can give a cactus is the patient kind.

After finally purchasing a few varieties that I had read up on and felt that I could adequately care for, I was amazed when they stayed alive. I was astounded again when after months and months of rotating, readjusting the lighting, and careful inspection every day, my opuntia grew two almost microscopic bumps, which would eventually grow into paddles. I was ecstatic, sent photos of the bumps to my parents, and ran to the store to pick up more plants. Having learned that patience was the virtue my sad little cactus had needed from me, I proceeded to slowly collect different varieties, and continue to research each new plant I brought home. Thus, began my love of all things plant related, along with a new appreciation for the art of waiting, watching, and enjoying every small step along the way.

With my own enthusiasm for all things cacti and succulents, I was pretty shocked to learn that the Tulsa Cacti and Succulent Society was having some trouble maintaining membership. When the opportunity came up to create a social media presence for the group came up, I jumped at the opportunity. Thankfully, that skill of patience has, once again, come in handy!

After making the first post and checking repeatedly to see if there were any new followers, I knew with a little time and some work, that some traction could be gained. A few months later, I’m so glad to see the page collecting more followers every day, and I’m just thrilled to be able to share my knowledge of succulent plants, and the opportunity to learn more! It’s truly inspiring to see the amount of people who have an interest in such a strange collection of plants, from beginners to advanced succulent lovers. Just like the plants in question, this may be slower growth than my enthusiasm would prefer, but every little change, every new follower, every question asked is noticed, appreciated, and adds a whole new facet to my love of cacti and succulents.

If you’d like to learn more about cacti and succulents, please join us at the next Cacti and Succulent Society Meeting at 7:00 pm, Thursday, August 1 and like us on Facebook at I guarantee your presence will be appreciated.

click here To read the full summer 2019 issue of in the garden

Dylan AxsomComment