National Capital Cactus
              & Succulent Society Logo
National Capital Cactus
              and Succulent Society

The next Event of the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society of Washington, D.C. will be our Regular Monthly meeting on
   Sunday February 18, 2018

 Artificial Light Set Up for Growing Succulent Plants
  Light Unit
For More Photo's Visit Our 
Plant  Gallery

     A three shelf fluorescent light plant growing unit set up by NCCSS member Bob Stewart.  Relatively small growing cacti and other succulents can be grown quite nicely under fluorescent lights.   Plants have to be kept close (within 6-8 inches) to the fluorescent tubes which excludes tall plants, but this still allows a wide variety of succulents to be grown. 
    Cool white fluorescent, or daylight fluorescent tubes work well for most succulents.  The lights are kept on for 16 hours and off for 8 hours.  It is recommended that the tubes be replaced each year.  In the past few years the new T5 fluorescent lights have begun to replace the older T12 and T8 fluorescent units.  Although the T5 units and tubes cost more, they provide more light and don't have to be replaced as often.  Artificial lights are also a great method for propagation, including both seed starting and rooting cuttings.  

Lithops dorotheae

Autumn is the time of year when most lithops flower.  They are in essence, short-day plants, much like chrysanthemums.  Some species flower as early as late August and one species, Lithops optica and its much sought after form, L. optica f. rubra, don't flower until mid December.   Each flower last about 4 to 5 days and there is no detectible fragrance.  The most common reasons for a lithops plant not to flower is that they are not mature (too young) or they have not received enough sun during the preceding spring and summer.

For more information on growing Lithops, see Nick Rowlette's web site A guide to the cultivation of Lithops
It has a great guide to growing these great little plants.

February 2018 Regular NCCSS Meeting
Program - Growing Cacti and other Succulents from Seed

One of the most exciting aspects of growing cacti and other succulents is to grow them from seed.  Yes, it can be a slow process for some succulents, but there is a great sense of accomplishment to produce a show quality plant from a small seed.  In addition, a wider variety of species and varieties are available from seed than from nursery grown plants, and a sizable collection can be established at a much lower cost compared with buying larger, older plants.   NCCSS member David Greenspan has been growing many different types of cacti and other succulents from seed and he will share his methods and his trials and tribulations of seed growing with us at our February meeting.  

The National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society (Washington, D.C. Cactus Club meets on the third Sunday of each month from September through June.  There are no regular meetings in July and August.   Meeting are held at Saint Anselm's Abbey School at 14th & South Dakota Ave. N.E. Washington, D.C.
Meeting begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at Noon.  Doors to the school are open at 9:30 a.m.  Meetings include a plant sale, an educational program, and refreshments.

If you would like to attend any of our meetings or have questions about our society, please contact Bob Stewart or Ric Tursan                                                                      

Delosperma cooperi  'Table Mountain'

There are a number of succulents that can withstand winter weather in a large part of the country, and one of the best is Delosperma cooperi.  Over the past decade a number of hybrids of D. cooperi have appeared, including "Table Mountain' shown below growing in Northern Virginia.  Many of these delosperma hybrids are now available at local garden centers and plant nurseries.  They are evergreen and grow in a spreading, low profile, making them excellent as hardy succulent planting ground covers.  In addition, given plenty of sun, they produce large numbers of colorful flowers. 
Delosperma cooperi Table Mountain

The National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society

The NCCSS is a group of individuals sharing an interest in the collecting and growing of cacti and other types of succulent plants.  We meet  once a month from September through June.  In August we hold an annual plant show and sale at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland. Our Regular Monthly Meetings are held at St. Anselm’s Abbey School at 14th & South Dakota Ave. N.E. Washington, DC.  Our meeting begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at Noon.   If you live in the Washington, D.C. area and are interested in succulent plants, why not visit one of our meetings and share your interest with others who also love these weird and fascinating plants. 

The National Cactus and Succulent Society is now on Facebook!
Membership & Dues:

To join the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society contact Lee Miller or Bob Stewart    If you would like a sample of our most recent newsletter, The Eastern Spine, contact newsletter editor Bob Stewart. Annual membership dues are $10.00     

Would You Like To Know More About Aeoniums?Aeonium

Society member Donna Kuroda presented a program on Aeoniums at our October 2011 meeting and she has agreed to allow you access to that program through a PDF presentation.  Just click here on the word AEONIUM  to call up the program.  This is a large file and make take a minute or two to load, depending on the speed of your computer.

Monthly Newsletter:

The Eastern Spine is the official newsletter of the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society.  It is  published monthly, September through June and is included with your society membership. Join our club and get your own copy delivered to your mailbox.
Click Newsletter to view the April 2013 newsletter in PDF format.  When you are finished reading the newsletter, hit the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.  If you would like a complementary copy of our upcoming May 2013 newsletter just drop me a note.

Purpose of the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society:
  • the study, culture, and propagation of cactus and other succulent plants;
  • to exchange information among interested persons and organizations, and to further the education about and understanding of succulent plants and their habitats;
  • to encourage conservation of plants and preservation of natural habitats;
  • to affiliate or associate with other organizations of similar purpose;

Benefits of the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society:
  • Share ideas and techniques with other cactus and succulent growers.
  • Interesting and informative programs.
  • Good fellowship and refreshments.
  • Use of an extensive club library.
  • A monthly newsletter, The Eastern Spine.
  • Sales table with members plants and related items.
  • Monthly raffle of donated plants and related items.
  • Annual Show & Sale at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland


Our program committee arranges for us to have a unique event each and every month. These consist of lectures, slide shows, informal discussions and presentations; they are always interesting and informative.

Plant of the Month:

Each month a succulent genus, or special selection of succulent plants are featured as our plant of the month.  Our plant of the month for November 2017 was Yucca rostrataYucca rostrata is a single-trunk plant with a single head of long, stiff, strap-like leaves.   The leaves form a nearly globe-like head giving the plant a particularly attractive form.   It grows naturally in northern Mexico and in the U.S. in Brewster County in S.W. Texas.  The plant shown at right is growing in Washington, D.C. where it has come through the winter in excellent condition for the past dozen years.  If you live in USDA hardiness Zone 7 or higher, Yucca rostrata can make an outstanding landscape plant.  When small it could be grown as a container plant but as you can see, eventually it will out grow most containers.        

Information on Growing Succulent Plants:

One of the important aspects of growing healthy succulent plants is using the proper potting soil mix.  You can read the NCCSS Potting Soils for Succulent Plants handout by clicking right HERE.

Plant Sales:                                                                                                             

If you have any surplus plants, seeds, pots, books or any other plant related items you want to sell, you can bring them to the meeting. Set your own price. 25% goes to the club to buy new books and cover other club related expenses.


First meeting was held July 21, 1974 at the Samson House at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD. The club newsletter, The Eastern Spine, became official for the November 1974 meeting. The club began its affiliation with the Cactus & Succulent Society of America with the adoption of the By-Laws at the September 15, 1974 meeting.

Extra-Curricular Activities:

  • Annual Cactus & Succulent Show & Sale.
  • Summer field trips.
  • Summer picnic.
  • Holiday Buffet at St. Anselm's Abbey School in December.
NCCSS Officers for 2016/2017

President: Ric Tursan
Vice-President: Bob Petza
Recording Secretary: Ric Tursan
Membership Secretary: Lisa Faustlin
Treasurer: Donna Kuroda
Directors at large: Ben Burkhardt
Bob Stewart      
Newsletter Editor
Bob Stewart
Donna Kuroda

Links to Gardens and Other Societies in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area: Cactus and Succulent Society of America  (CSSA)CSSA Logo

The National Capital Cactus & Succulent Society is an affiliate society of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America.  For more information about the CSSA see their web site at:


The NCCSS  web site is maintained by Bob Stewart

The NCCSS Web Site is part of the Cactus Mall Web System
Use the Link Below to Visit the Cactus Mall Site

The Cactus
          and Succulent Plant Mall