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
   October 18, 2015

Desert in a Bowl

You can challenge convention.  You can do something different.  You can grow succulents in a terrarium.  Yes, for succulents you will have to use an open top terrarium.  The terrarium will have to be placed where it will receive plenty of light.  Succulents aren't shade lovers.  The open top allows excess heat to escape, but still keeps thing toasty warm, which most succulents prefer.  A few nice plants, a few pretty stones, and other ornaments to fit your taste and you have a beautiful desert arrangement.  It's different from typical succulent plant growing, but sometimes different is a good thing.

 Sedum nussbaumerianum

For More Photo's Visit Our 
Plant  Gallery

 Sedum nussbaumerianum (Coppertone Stonecrop) is an outstanding succulent both for containers and bedding out in the landscape. In the Washington, D.C. area it is not winter hardy and cannot be left outside over the winter.  However, it is easily rooted from stem and leaf cuttings. 

The color of the leaves of Sedum nussbaumerianum can vary  from light green to orange and copper.  The leaf color depends upon the plant's genetic background and the amount of light it receives.     

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. 

Next Regular Meeting
  Sunday October 18, 2015
  Program:  "Growing Cacti and Other Succulents from Seed"

Not every succulent plant enthusiast gets caught up in the excitement of starting plants from seed, but for those that do, the excitement can be so much fun that they really want to share it with others.  We are very fortunate here at the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society in that we currently have a member that has offered to share his knowledge and excitement in raising succulents from seed.  David Greenspan will present our October 2015 program on growing cacti and other succulents from seed.  While seed propagation requires some expertise and time for plants to reach flowering sizes, it give you a wider availability of plant species, and less expensive than buying plant.  Despite what many new growers believe, growing succulents from seed is possible, even when you do not have a greenhouse.   They often can be grown quite successfully under artificial lighting, as shown below. 

If you would like to attend any of our meetings or have questions about our society, please contact Lee Miller or Bob Stewart for details.      

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!

Yes, you can grow cacti in your Washington, D.C. area landscape.

The photo below was taken during the winter of 2009-10  in the backyard of a home in Charles County Maryland, just southeast of Washington, D.C.  The cacti shown in the photo have been growing outside for the past 12 years.  They are not brought inside or protected in any way during the winter.  The most serious winter damage occurs from stem breakage due to the weight of heavy wet snow or ice.  There are a large number of cacti and other succulent plants that can withstand winter conditions, and they can be used to develop a very interesting and enjoyable part of any landscape. 

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 $15.00 per individual and for a family.  There's a five dollar deduction for those receiving their monthly newsletter via email.  

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:Lapidarpia

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 March  2015 is Lapidaria margaretae.  It is native to the Warmbad area of southern Namibia and in adjacent parts of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.  It is found in fields of quartz, where it is difficult to find because of its stone-like appearance.   The exception is when it is covered with its bright yellow flowers, then it is very noticeable in order to attract the insects that pollinate the flowers.  Flowering takes place during the fall into early winter.  It requires a very well drained, coarse potting soil and careful water during the winter through the end of summer.  Too much water at the wrong time and you'll be looking for a new plant.  The Lapidaria margaretae plant show at right was purchased by one of our members from a mail order nursery in the spring of 2013.  It resides on a sunny windowsill in winter and goes outside after the danger of frost has passed in the late spring.     

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 2014/2015

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

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