Cactus show brings blooms to behold

The Cactus and Succulent Society of Southern Nevada and Moon-Sun Cactus & Koi Gardens are hosting the Cactus Show and Art Fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and April 21 at Moon-Sun Cactus & Koi Gardens at 6430 McGill Ave. in Las Vegas.

To get to the gardens, go east on Boulder Highway, turn left on East Tropicana Avenue, right on Steptoe Street and left to 6430 McGill Ave.

This event features a cornucopia of cactuses and succulents along with local artists, crafters and vendors with a garden theme. Experts will provide educational material throughout the show.

The show will feature personal collections of cactuses and succulents. Visit for rules to enter. You can vote for the People’s Choice award.

Whether you like shape, form or color, expect to see a dazzling array of desert-adapted plants with their amazing flowers. Bring your camera to capture the beautiful displays. While there, visit their koi swimming ponds. Cactus and koi provide a nice balance of earth and water elements.

Here are some desert plants I like:

■ “Flying saucer” cactus: It got its name because of its extra-large blooms resembling a flying saucer. They are breathtaking and colorful, displaying in pink, yellow, peach and white. I’ve seen 20 different flowers blooming at the same time on one plant. Have your camera ready to capture these blooms.

■ Desert rose: This dramatic plant comes from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Its beautiful flowers come in various shapes and patterns of red and pink, resembling oleander flowers. The swollen fleshy bulbous plant base stores its water. Desert rose plants are blooming now and will continue through the summer. Every part of this plant — its swollen base, flowers and leaves — commands your attention. You’ll find many new hybrids with new and exciting colors. It’s an excellent container plant.

■ Variegated Spanish dagger: It’s a regal plant with its variegated blue-green striped leaves accenting the golden yellow centers. Like most yuccas, it’s hardy but it comes from the southeastern part of the country. It’s very striking when grouped in a low-water garden or spotted in flowering perennial beds for contrasting color and texture. For a showier container plant consider its cousin the yucca “color guard,” with its dramatic weeping leaves that provide a bold contrast of yellow and green.

■ Silver torch cactus: This columnar cactus appears silvery because of its whitish spines clustering along its towering columns. It’s blooming now with beautiful scarlet trumpet flowers exploding along the entire column. They become a great showpiece especially for hummingbirds. Smaller varieties are excellent for hanging baskets.

■ Queen Victoria agave: This compact, slow-growing agave radiates a rosette of toothless spine-tipped dark green leaves, accented with delicate white markings looking like they’re delicately painted on. It fits well in landscapes, containers or as a focal point in succulent gardens.

■ Bloodspot mangave: This is one of those plants you have to see to believe. Its pale blue leaves have speckle red and purple tones splattered on them. It’s as if an artist had cleaned a paintbrush over a canvas. It’s one of the most attractive of the smaller agaves fitting into containers or in the garden. It will certainly add interest to your yard.

■ Red barrel cactus: When a plant explorer found this red barrel, he was overwhelmed with its deep red spines. Yellow flowers grace this native each spring. There are many varieties of Ferocactus growing into barrel shaped cactuses as they age.

■ Blue elf aloe: Like most aloes, this aloe blooms during winter and spring, making a welcome splash of color through the holidays and into spring. Its narrow upright blue-gray leaves contrast well with its showy spikes of orange flowers, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies for your enjoyment. It handles full sun or shade and makes a great accent plant. You can grow it in containers, rock gardens, borders or mass plantings.


The Sunset Garden Club will present its annual flower show from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, Henderson. The theme will be “A Fascinating Country.” Numerous floral designs and garden plants will be on display. For more information about this free show, visit

Linn Mills writes a garden column each Sunday. You can reach him at or call him at 526-1495.