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 Annual Holiday Luncheon on
   December 21, 2014

Tis the Season for the appearance of flowers on the Holiday Cacti.  Shown above is a beautiful specimen of the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), which usually flowers in late November, around Thanksgiving.  The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) flowers 3 to 4 weeks later.  The Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) flowers in early spring, around the time of Easter.   Although these plants don't look like traditional cacti, botanically they are true cacti, and belong to the Cactaceae family.

 Haworthia  bayeri

Haworthia bayeri
For More Photo's Visit Our 
Plant  Gallery

The Plant Gallery features photos from our recent newsletters and photos of our member's plants and plant related activities.  The haworthias might be more popular succulents if they had catchy common names.  They are small and beautiful succulents, many with gem like leaf colors and textures.  Haworthia bayeri is a relatively new haworthia, described in 1997 and honoring Bruce Bayer, perhaps the world's foremost authority on the genus. Haworthias are not difficult succulents to grow, they require a bright location and a well drained potting soil.  You also don't want to allow them to go without water for too long.  A prolonged drought won't kill them, but it will cause their leaf tips to dieback, ruining the overall appearance of the plant.   Haworthias are native to South Africa and they make wonderful window sill plants.  

Lithops aucampiae

Lithops aucampiae

Now (early Spring) is the time of year to enjoy the coming of the new leaves in your lithops.  The old leaves are steadily drying up as they pass their water on to the newly developing leaves. In the photo above you can see the new leaves pushing through the drying old leaves.  This is the annual leaf replacement that lithops go through every year. Once the old leaves are completely dry, it is time to begin watering your lithops.  If you water too early, the old leaves may not completely dry up and you will have a lithops plant with two sets of leaves, an abnormal and undesirable situation.

Program for the December 21, 2014 NCCSS Meeting

No meeting.  No program.   But, Great Food,  Great Friends, and a Wonderful Venue, for our Annual NCCSS Holiday Luncheon.  We will gather in the Great Hall of the gymnasium at Saint Anselm's Abbey and School at 11:00 a. m. and celebrate the 2014 Holidays with a great luncheon.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to spend time with members of the society, discuss our favorite plant successes, and failures, and have a great lunch.  If you would like to attend just 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!

The National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.

In July 1974 a group of succulent plant enthusiasts gathered in the Washington, D.C. area to discuss the possibility of forming a society centered around the growing of succulent plants. In September 1974 the National Capital Cactus and Succulent Society was officially formed.  Our society is proud to celebrate 40 years of spreading the word about these wonderful plants and helping others to enjoy them as much as we do.

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:Titanopsis calcarea

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 April 2013 was Titanopsis calcarea.  This is a small cryptic succulent, meaning where it grows in South Africa, it generally blends in with its surroundings.  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.  Flower occurs in late winter through mid spring.  It is not a difficult plant to grow, but it is rarely offered for sale at local garden centers or nurseries. The plant show at right was grown from seed by one of our society members.  It is fifteen years old.   

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 2012/2013

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