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Saturday, Nov 22, 2014

Annual cactus, succulent show coming to USF Botanical Gardens


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TAMPA – Like many amateur plant enthusiasts, for many years Steve Welsh grew what he was familiar with.

In his case it was mostly orchids, a plant he’d collected and nurtured by the thousands.

But years later, he developed an interest in succulent plants, especially the cactus because of its diversity of shapes, sizes and flowers.

Today Welsh has thousands of those to add to his plant collection.

“Many don’t know that cacti flower, and that they have brilliant blooms and are reliable bloomers,” he said. “Another thing is that they and other succulents don’t take a lot of care and watering.”

Welsh’s infatuation with the particular group of plants led him to join the Central Florida Cactus & Succulent Society, which is holding its 19th annual Labor Day Show & Sale from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at the USF Botanical Gardens, 12210 USF Pine Drive.

He will have many of his treasured plants on display as well as for sale. He’ll also be on hand to explain the peculiarities of each one.

In addition, there will be a lecture by an expert on how to grow succulents in Florida and to explain their numerous varieties.

“It will be a learning experience for many and that is one of the reasons people should come by,” Walsh said. “Also, because we are a group of hobbyists and not professional growers, we depend on people to purchase our plants so we can support ourselves.”

Society member Chris Tidwell, who said he became fascinated with succulents because “they thrive on neglect,” noted the area’s best growers will be at the show, many with some very rare plants.

“They come in all kinds of forms and some have some weird shapes,” he said. “A big one now is the desert rose that stores water in its big trunk and has beautiful blooms. It can bloom almost all year long except when it’s cold.”

Purchases can be made only with cash or by check. No credit cards will be accepted.

Admission to the event is free as is parking across the street from the gardens. Call (813) 974-2329 for more information.

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